People marched from Copley Square to Boston police headquarters Saturday to protest the fatal shooting in Missouri of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer and local law enforcement’s subsequent military-style response to demonstrators.
Chanting slogans such as, “Hey hey, ho ho, police brutality has got to go,” the diverse crowd marched peacefully down Dartmouth Street and Columbus Avenue, numbering a little more than 100 initially but swelling to twice that.
Boston police monitored marchers and held traffic for them. “The protest was peaceful in nature, and no arrests were made,” said Officer James Kenneally, a spokesman.
The civil interaction contrasted with relations between police and the public in Missouri and in other incidents cited by protesters.
Chelsea resident Leondra Hawkesworth said she was “fed up” with seeing young black men killed by police.
“It’s got to end somewhere,” said Hawkesworth, 24, who wore a T-shirt remembering D.J. Henry, a Pace University student from Easton fatally shot by a Pleasantville, N.Y., police officer in 2010.
Hawkesworth works with Henry’s family to spread awareness and to plan events in his memory, she said.
“It bothers me mentally to see these families without their family members, and they have the potential to be something great,” she said.
Michael Brown Jr., 18, was shot and killed last Saturday by Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson, Police Chief Thomas Jackson told reporters Friday.
In announcing the officer’s name, Jackson also released documents alleging that shortly before his death Brown had stolen a box of cigars from a convenience store, shoving a clerk on his way out the door.
The timing of the allegation reignited anger within the black community of the St. Louis suburb, where protests again turned violent early Saturday.
Later in the day, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew in Ferguson.
During the Boston march, pedestrians stopped to observe, and many along the route stepped out onto sidewalks to see and photograph the throng.
When marchers with raised hands chanted, “Hands up, don’t shoot!” some lifted their open palms in solidarity.
As protesters neared police headquarters in Roxbury, Mission Hill resident Tripp Diaz began the chant, “If we don’t do this every day, these racist pigs won’t go away.”
“I’m just angry because a lot of people feel like this [expletive] doesn’t happen anymore, or they just dismiss it like it doesn’t exist,” Diaz, 24, said in an interview.
Below are social media messages from today’s event:
March is off and headed to BPD HQ. maybe a couple hundred folks? Cops are letting folks take the streets with no permit.— Paul Weiskel (@PWeiskel08) August 16, 2014