NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Protesters gathered around the city late Wednesday afternoon into the evening, following a decision by a grand jury not to indict an NYPD officer involved in the apparent chokehold death of Eric Garner.
Much as they did last week following a grand jury decision in the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Missouri, protesters flooded the West Side Highway, shutting down traffic near 51st Street. Drivers found themselves flanked on all sides by protesters.
Police penned the protesters with nets and gates at 48th Street. Several people were arrested at the scene, and one was injured.
A total about 30 people were arrested at different locations in Manhattan on citations for obstruction of vehicular traffic, police told 1010 WINS.
Garner, a 43-year-old father of six, died in July after police officers attempted to arrest him for allegedly selling loose, untaxed cigarettes in the Tompkinsville section of Staten Island.
Earlier, some protesters said they planned to disrupt the Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center between 7 and 9 p.m., CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported.
As CBS2’s Tracee Carrasco reported, protesters had arrived at Rockefeller Plaza from Times Square by 6:15 p.m. Some were on the sidewalk chanting and holding signs, as others crowded the area for the annual holiday event.
But the NYPD would not let the protesters get anywhere near the Christmas tree.
The protesters remained on the streets some distance away chanted, “hands up, don’t shoot,” as well as, “I can’t breathe” — which Garner was heard saying on video after he was taken down by the apparent chokehold.
Others, referencing the tree-lighting ceremony, said, “No justice, no tree,” Carrasco reported.
“The lives of black young men, black children, they matter,” protester Florence Johnson said at Times Square.
New Yorker Rashaad Ernesto Green said he hoped the country would make drastic changes after what happened to Garner on Staten Island and Brown in Missouri.
“It’s clear in recent weeks that no matter what happens, people aren’t being held accountable,” he said.
The protesters also marched up Broadway nearby and disrupted traffic, CBS2’s Matt Kozar reported. Protesters were later seen walking between cars and taxis in Columbus Circle before proceeding farther northward on Central Park West and Broadway.
Protesters also blocked traffic on Tenth Avenue in the 50s as they headed west, CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported. Some protesters told WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman they were part of a larger group marching up from Times Square, but that police split them up into smaller groups.
And around 9:45 p.m., protesters were also seen marching east on 57th Street, and stopping right in front of the CBS Broadcast Center. Police blocked the road ahead of the protesters.