WASHINGTON -- A coalition of activists carried 900,000 petitions to the gates of the White House on Thursday afternoon demanding that Attorney General Eric Holder prosecute the white police officer who shot unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
Gathering at the north entrance to the White House, the protesters chanted the same "Hands up, don't shoot!" message that demonstrators have used in Ferguson and held signs demanding justice for Brown. Speakers ranged from slam poets to a Missouri state senator, who called on the state's governor, Jay Nixon (D), to remove Bob McCulloch (D), the prosecuting attorney involved in the case. Critics have argued McCulloch is too closely associated to the police, raising concerns about his ability to conduct an impartial investigation.
"Many African-Americans, we don't trust him. We don't think he can be fair and impartial. Because we have history with him, and he has history with law enforcement officers," said state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed (D). "Stop playing politics on the back of a dead man and remove Bob McCulloch now."
A recent poll showed that Americans have mixed views on how President Barack Obama has responded to the aftermath of Brown's death. The petition that the protesters delivered called on Holder to act swiftly in Ferguson.
"Every day, Black residents of Ferguson and Missouri face possible abuse and death at the hands of an officer due to discriminatory policing tactics based on dehumanizing racial stereotypes," the petition said. "In order to secure the necessary justice for Michael's family and prevent this type of indefensible violence in the future, you must take immediate action."
White House security personnel does not accept petitions in person, so the group decided to submit them electronically instead.
Several speakers at the rally, organized by progressive groups including ColorOfChange, Organization for Black Struggle and Democracy for America, shared about how Brown's death had affected them personally.
"I'm graduating in two years, but to be honest, the fear deep down in my heart tells me that I might not make it," said Alfred Burks III, a junior at Howard University. "It tells me I might not make it not just because of my grades, or not because I can't acquire funding for school, but because someone wearing a uniform may not value my life, my being and my endless potential."
See more photos and video from the event below: