'Hands up, walk out': Hundreds of people leave work in protest against Michael Brown ruling

Protests were seen in Ferguson, New York, Chicago and San Francisco

Click to follow
The Independent US

Hundreds of people have left work, school and university across the US in “hands up, walk out” protests against the decision not to prosecute the white police officer who killed Michael Brown.

Last week’s verdict sparked violence and unrest in Ferguson, where Darren Wilson shot the unarmed black 18-year-old dead in August.

American football players, celebrities and politicians have shown their disgust at the grand jury ruling by adopting the “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture that has become a symbol of solidarity with protesters against the shooting.

Witnesses offered conflicting accounts of whether Mr Brown had his hands up in surrender when he was killed.

On Monday, people marched out of work and class in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, St Louis and other towns and cities, in “hands up, walk out” protests.

8-student-getty.jpg
A student 'hands up, walk out' protest

At the University of Missouri-St. Louis, near Ferguson, Amber Whitaker was among about 30 students in a demonstration.

She said the symbolism was more important than whether Mr Brown literally had his hands in the air when he was shot.

“There are black men and women who are shot with their hands up,” she added. “There are black men and women who are shot unarmed. It may not apply exactly to Mike Brown, but it still happens.”

Officer Wilson told the grand jury that he shot Mr Brown in self-defence during an altercation when he claimed he felt like “a five-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan” but several witnesses said the teenager was surrendering. 

NFL-rams-ferguson-hands-up-shoot.jpg
Five NFL players from the Rams held their hands up in an act of solidarity with Ferguson protesters

Since being cleared of wrongdoing in the killing, he has left the Ferguson police force.

Mr Brown’s death and the response to subsequent protests has provoked wide-ranging discussions in the US about racial tensions and policing.

The White House concluded its three-month review of the Ferguson situation on Monday with recommendations for officers to promote trust with body-worn cameras, as supported by Mr Brown’s family.

 

President Barack Obama said he wants more cameras to be used but will not try to reduce the use of military-style equipment, including armoured vehicles and tear gas, controversially used in Ferguson. 

New guidelines will soon be released aiming to limit racial profiling by federal law enforcement agencies after years of campaigning by civil rights groups.

The US Attorney General, Eric Holder, said he would announce the guidelines “in the coming days” as part of President Obama's response to the tension between law enforcement and ethnic minority communities that the events in Ferguson exposed.

The Ferguson Commission appointed by Jay Nixon, the Governor of Missouri, has also met for the first time.

The 16-person panel will study the underlying social and economic conditions, including failing schools and high unemployment, that have gained attention since the shooting.

Additional reporting by AP

Comments