Rioters and “protesters” were out in force again in Ferguson, Missouri Tuesday for a second night, rocking at least one police vehicle, hurling rocks and bottles.
They were “demonstrating” against a grand jury decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson after he shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown.
In Seattle, Washington, members of the ‘Palestine Solidarity Committee’ made sure to take advantage of the situation, marching down a main street as well. The demonstrators carried a banner that read, “Occupation is a crime, Ferguson to Palestine, Resist U.S. Racism, Boycott Israel, Stand Up!”
One blogger wrote that he was rendered speechless by the spectacle. “Upset with the verdict in Missouri? Then boycotting Israel makes perfect sense,” The Mike Report said. The blogger added the same group had been associated this summer with protests in downtown Seattle that featured swastikas and comparisons of Israel to Nazi Germany.
Wilson told the grand jury the black teenager attacked him Aug. 9 after the police officer tried to stop him following a robbery he apparently had carried out. He was still clutching the stolen goods — a fistful of cigarillos — in his hand when the officer stopped him, Wilson said.
“Darren Wilson got to tell his story. Michael Brown won’t get to tell his,” black activist Rev. Al Sharpton said grimly to journalists at an afternoon news conference slamming Wilson’s account. Black customers at a local barber shop had similar comments.
The grand jury’s meticulous questioning of 60 witnesses — nearly all of whom were black — over a period of 100 days — was dismissed. The evidence gathered by three separate forensic pathologists — each conducting their own autopsy review — including one retained privately by the Brown family, likewise was ignored. Apparently the account told to a grand jury by Michael Brown’s own body did not rate against the words of Darren Wilson.
As Sharpton, Brown’s parents and their attorney spoke with media, protesters gathered to renew their activities in the evening hours. “Jail Killer Cops” read one poster in garish red and black.
In towns and cities across America, in fact, the “protests” and outright riots continued. A Ferguson police car was overturned and smashed. More stores were looted and destroyed.
In New York City’s Times Square, downtown Brooklyn and in other areas protesters again gathered to demonstrate and block traffic.
“Whose streets? Our streets!” the protesters yelled. Mobs of marchers blocked the Lincoln Tunnel leading from the city to New Jersey, and the West Side Highway.
One of the organizers of the protest told a reporter they intended to “shut down the city.” Marching up the main arteries, hundreds of demonstrators headed for Harlem.
Among those behind the unrest in New York, at least, was Al Sharpton, whose “credentials” in agitation go all the way back to August 19, 1991, when black mobs swelled in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn in a three-day pogrom against the neighborhood’s Jewish residents. Sharpton was among those who egged on the mobs, chanting at the microphone, “No Justice, No Peace.” It became a mantra — one that was resurrected this week in Ferguson, Missouri.
But today Sharpton is an older and wiser man, presenting a more sophisticated appearance and more circumspect in his words. It was his “National Action Network” that held a “Hands Up! Rally for Justice” demonstration in front of the Brooklyn federal courthouse on Tuesday afternoon. It is also unclear how many other demonstrations around the country received assistance with organization or guidance from Sharpton’s staff.
Kirsten Foy was named by media as the Brooklyn representative of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, for instance. He told television cameras in New York the grand jury’s decision meant the lives of “people of color” clearly are not valued as much as those of others. “If you’re a man of color in this country … your life does not have as much value as anyone else,” he said.Rachel Levy