The grand jury decision sparked protests in Ferguson, Missouri, as well as in other major cities across the country. Although specifically triggered by the ruling, the protesters are calling for a broader revision of policing and judicial policies many believe are discriminatory and allow for police brutality, especially towards young, black men.
Protests in Ferguson turned violent Monday night as cars were destroyed, stores looted, and over a dozen buildings set on fire. Police responded with tear gas, pepper spray, and bean bags, and 16 people were arrested, 15 of whom were not from Ferguson. In Nashville, however, police offered protesters coffee and hot chocolate during their march blocking Interstate 24 Tuesday night.
On Black Friday, demonstrators took to malls across the country to urge shoppers to boycott “corporate America” as a form of organized protest. Two days later, five St. Louis Rams players entered the field with their hands up in the characteristic pose of the movement, a gesture declared “remarkably hypocritical” by the St. Louis Police Officers Association.
In an interview with ABC, President Obama defended protesters’ right to free speech and assembly but warned them not to use this tragedy as an excuse for violence.