NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Hundreds of protesters marched to Times Square Thursday evening, and some confronted police, in a demonstration on behalf Michael Brown, the teenager who was shot and killed by police in suburban St. Louis.
As CBS 2’s Tracee Carrasco reported, a vigil for Brown, 18, was held at around 7 p.m. in Union Square. Protesters then began a march up Broadway and Seventh Avenue to Times Square.
The protesters ran into a police barricade line at 43rd Street and Seventh Avenue. Some tried to push up against the officers, but the officers held their own, CBS 2’s Joe Biermann reported from Chopper 2.
The protesters then moved on to nearby Father Duffy Square before heading back to Union Square.
The Union Square vigil that preceded the march was one of several held in more than 90 cities across the country Thursday night for the National Moment of Silence for Victims of Police Brutality.
As WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reported, the crowd stopped traffic as protesters held their hands up in the air and yelled, “Don’t shoot!”
The chant was a reference to witness accounts that Brown had his hands raised when he was fatally shot by police.
Some protesters held signs with Brown’s face and name on them.
Protesters said a show of solidarity for Brown was needed.
“I think it was a disgrace to this country, and a disgrace to the people,” said Cris Hilo of the Bronx. “We here as a people in New York City are outraged, because even if it’s happening in Missouri, it’s happening everywhere.”
“There’s just, like, a lot of injustice right now,” said Ben N. of the Bronx. “People like me — people like everyone here — we have to, like, live in fear.”
One woman, Serena, was so angry about Brown’s death that she stood on a trash can in the middle of Times Square so she could be heard.
“Eric Garner, Trayvon (Martin), Sean Bell, Rodney King – they can no longer speak for themselves, so we got to raise our voices,” she said.
The Bronx resident was on her way home from work when she ran into the march.
“All these officers are going unpunished for the things they are doing, like they’re above the law,” she said. “Nobody is above the law – not even the people who wrote it.”
Miller reported she saw one person taken into custody at the scene.
Police said they made a “handful of arrests,” but did not give an exact number or reason for the arrests, WCBS 880 reported.
The protest never got violent.
“I respect these officers, I respect everyone here, and I’m just asking for the same thing,” Ben N. said.
Vigils were also held in Harlem; Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn; and Jamaica, Queens Thursday evening, according to published reports.
“There is no increase. This has been going on. The fact now is that we can video tape it and we can take pictures. Police brutality in America has been a longstanding tradition. We’re now just able to document it so now it’s being exposed,” Femenisa Jones told 1010 WINS reporter Gary Baumgarten at a vigil in Morningside Heights.
People in cities from Detroit to Los Angeles also rallied. They were asked to wear a red ribbon, cloth or bandana in a show of solidarity.
The fatal shooting of 18-year-old Brown by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer on Saturday has sparked protests in the St. Louis suburb. Some have turned violent.
On Wednesday night, police in riot gear again used tear gas to disperse protesters after some threw explosive devices and rocks at officers.
President Barack Obama earlier Thursday addressed the unrest in Ferguson, appealing for “peace and calm” and saying there is no excuse for the use of excessive force by police and no excuse for violence against the police.
He also said police shouldn’t be arresting and bullying journalists who are doing their jobs. Two reporters were taken into custody and briefly jailed Wednesday evening in Ferguson.
In addition to Brown, the vigils also highlighted the police custody death of Eric Garner on Staten Island last month.
In cellphone video of the incident, an officer is seen placing his arm around Garner’s neck and then taking him to the ground after Garner refuses to be handcuffed.
When asked to contrast the riots in Ferguson with the protest over Garner’s death, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday said New York has a different reality.
“We, for decades and decades, have the tradition in this city of respecting and properly managing peaceful protest and the right of people to express themselves,” he said.
To the crowd of reporters, the mayor added he never likes to see journalists under arrest.
“I can say safely that the way we do things here, I think, is the right way,” he said.
The Rev. Al Sharpton is calling on the Department of Justice to monitor how police are responding to protesters in Ferguson.
Later this month, Sharpton is planning to hold a rally on Staten Island to protest Garner’s death.
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