Article2 Garner Protest-8 - Demonstrators marching up N. Charles St.

Demonstrators marching up N. Charles St.

(Updated 12/5/2014) Baltimore demonstrators protesting the non-indictment in the    killing of Eric Garner by the NYPD marched from McKeldin Square to the Washington Monument, holding  up  traffic and disrupting a lighting ceremony and outdoor concert taking place near the statue. Police followed the demonstrators and directed traffic around them as they headed up North Charles Street toward the monument, where demonstrators staged a die- in-with-hands-up accompanied by a four-and-a-half minute ‘moment of silence’, representing  the four-and-a-half hours Michael Brown lay dead on a Ferguson, Mo., street in another recent and high profile case in which no criminal charges were brought against a White police officer who killed an unarmed Black man.

A young demonstrator named Chyno at McKeldin Square

“It is mind boggling that people who are put in a position to serve and protect us, that all of the evidence can be compiled against them . . . and they could be let so off the hook so easily,” said a young demonstrator who gave the name Chyno. Chyno said that when police face no repercussions for their actions, it sends a message to both law enforcement and the public that police can do whatever they want.

“They don’t indict cops for killing Black men in America,” said Duane ‘Shorty’ Davis, one of Baltimore’s better known activists and police-watchers who spoke to the AFRO while the demonstrators were still at McKeldin Square, where the rally began. “There’s no cases that you can show me where they’re indicting these . But if you were killing White people the way that you’re killing Black people, you’d see some indictments.”

BPD Commissioner Anthony Batts speaking with demonstrator Noiamekye Ako-Addo

Prior to the start of the demonstration, Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts made an appearance, introducing himself to demonstrators and asking if he could shake their hands.  Demonstrators began singing the “Imperial March” (Darth Vader’s theme song from Star Wars) as Batts made his way through the crowd, but the commissioner continued to speak with individual protesters, communicating that the police were not their enemy nor trying to impede their demonstration.

Some at the rally told the AFRO that their presence at the demonstration was simply about doing what they felt was right

Demonstrator Brandon Miles, holding a sign with images of Michael Brown and Eric Garner

“It’s unfair and it’s not right,” said Brandon Miles, a protestor holding a sign with images of both Eric Garner and Mike Brown. “I really feel as though the police , he should be held accountable for his actions. . . . To me it’s just not right that you have to handle somebody in that kind of manner.”

“We have to face what’s not right, right?” asked demonstrator Noiamekye Ako-Addo. “We have to face it sometime. We can’t just keep looking away, we can’t just go home to the warmth of our homes and think everything’s going to be OK, because the day of reckoning has to come.”

ralejandro@afro.com