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Ferguson protesters bring activity in large mall to a halt

People protesting a grand jury’s decision not to indict the police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. temporarily shut down the Galleria mall in Richmond Heights 10 miles away.
People protesting a grand jury’s decision not to indict the police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. temporarily shut down the Galleria mall in Richmond Heights 10 miles away. Joshua Lott/Getty Images

FERGUSON, Mo. — Demonstrators temporarily shut down a large mall in suburban St. Louis on one of the busiest shopping days of the year Friday during one of several organized rallies to protest a grand jury’s decision not to indict the police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown in nearby Ferguson.

Several stores lowered their security doors or locked entrances as at least 200 protesters sprawled onto the floor while chanting, ‘‘Stop shopping and join the movement’’ at the Galleria mall in Richmond Heights, about 10 miles south of Ferguson.

The protest prompted authorities to close the mall for about an hour Friday afternoon for a security sweep. It didn’t appear that any arrests were made.

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The protest was among the largest on Black Friday, which also saw a large rally in Chicago and smaller ones Northern California and other cities. Demonstrations also continued in Ferguson, where officer Darren Wilson fatally shot the unarmed 18-year-old Brown August.

‘‘We want to really let the world know that it is no longer business as usual,’’ Chenjerai Kumanyika, an assistant professor at Clemson University in South Carolina, said at a rally at a Walmart in Ferguson.

Monday night’s announcement that Wilson, who is white, would not be indicted for fatally shooting Brown, who was black, prompted violent protests that resulted in about a dozen buildings and some cars being burned.

Dozens of people were arrested.

The rallies have been ongoing but have become more peaceful as protesters turn their attention to disrupting commerce.

Mindy Elledge, who runs a watch kiosk at the Galleria, said it is working.

‘‘I think people are afraid to come here,’’ Elledge said. ‘‘With the protests going on, you never know when or where they’re going to happen.’’

‘‘With the protests going on, you never know when or where they’re going to happen,” said Mindy Elledge, who runs a watch kiosk at the Galleria.
‘‘With the protests going on, you never know when or where they’re going to happen,” said Mindy Elledge, who runs a watch kiosk at the Galleria.Adrees Latif/REUTERS

The Black Friday protests extended beyond Missouri.

In Chicago, about 200 people gathered near the city’s popular Magnificent Mile shopping district, where Kristiana Colon, 28, called Friday ‘‘a day of awareness and engagement.’’ She is a member of the Let Us Breathe Collective, which has been taking supplies such as gas masks to protesters in Ferguson.

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‘‘We want them to think twice before spending that dollar today,’’ she said of shoppers. ‘‘As long as black lives are put second to materialism, there will be no peace.’’

Malcolm London, a leader in the Black Youth Project 100, which has been organizing Chicago protests, said the group was also trying to rally support for other issues, such as more transparency from Chicago police.

‘‘We are not indicting a man. We are indicting a system,’’ London told the crowd.

In New York, about 100 people protested in Times Square. The demonstrators chanted ‘‘Hands up, don’t shop’’ and carried signs that read: ‘‘End Racism’’ and ‘‘Black Lives Matter.’’

Other planned events around the country seemed relatively brief and thinly attended in contrast to the large demonstrations earlier this week.

At a shopping center in the St. Louis suburb of Kirkwood, a dozen people gathered and chanted ‘‘Black lives matter.’’ Security was heightened at the Walmart in Ferguson on Friday morning, with military Humvees, police cars, and security guards on patrol. The store was busy, but there were few protesters.

In California, more than two dozen protesters chained themselves to trains running from Oakland to San Francisco.

About 25 protesters started Friday morning by holding train doors open to protest Brown’s death. No one was hurt.

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The office of Missouri’s governor on Friday disclosed a plan to offer no- and low-interest loans, and other programs, for businesses damaged during the protests.

In the neighboring town of Dellwood, the mayor called on state and federal officials Friday to help rebuild the town after an outbreak of violent protests.

Mayor Reggie Jones said that while much attention has focused on Ferguson, most of the businesses that were looted and burned were in his town.

Jones also called on state leaders to explain why the National Guard wasn’t deployed to help protect Dellwood, as was done in Ferguson.