by Jennifer Schlueter
With great suspense spectators all over the nation awaited the verdict of the grand jury in Ferguson last Monday whether to arraign police officer Darren Wilson or not. When the man who shot unarmed black teenager Michael Brown was not indicted, people everywhere went into the streets to show their disapproval of the jury’s decision.
Whereas some protests in Ferguson escalated and shops were lit on fire, demonstrations in LA and its surrounding counties remained mostly peaceful; however, several freeways including the 5, 110 and 10 were blocked for hours. Sit-ins and rallies in Leimert Park, Beverly Hills, and other areas were reported, where people raised signs and their hands shouting “hands up, don’t shoot.”
The Los Angeles Times quoted a statement of Los Angeles County Sheriff-elect Jim McDonnell, in which he urges angry protestors to “respect the outcome and processes of our legal system.” He adds: “The greatness of our nation comes from our ability to come together peacefully and lawfully, to speak up about what is on our minds, and to respect one another.”
According to the LA Times, Darrin Johnson of Redlands signed the petition “We Call on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to file federal criminal civil rights charges against Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the Slaying of Michael Brown” on Change.org. He told the paper: “I’m frustrated beyond belief. Signing this petition is at the moment the closest thing I have to taking action. I want to see people of color treated with the same dignity and humanity that whites are by those in power.”
Since the killing of their child, Michael Brown’s family have advocated body-worn cameras for officers, and started a campaign. In a statement, they wrote: “We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen. Join with us in our campaign to ensure that every police officer working the streets in this country wears a body camera.” The Anaheim Police Department has implemented body-worn cameras since early September of this year. According to CBS, the “City Council […] voted unanimously in support of the $1.1 million investment, manning the department with 250 body cameras.” CBS quoted Anaheim resident Steven Sweetley who spoke at the city’s council meeting after they had made the announcement: “The city of 14,000 people in Missouri – Ferguson – they are already instituting cameras on police within one month if the slaying of Michael Brown. How many people have been slain in the city of Anaheim, and cameras are still not on cops?” The decision came too late for Genevieve Huizar, whose son was killed by police two years ago, which had caused unrests in Anaheim.