FERGUSON, Mo. -- Protesters demonstrated in front of a federal building in St. Louis and outside of the Ferguson Police Department on Wednesday night in response to a New York grand jury’s decision not to indict the police officer who placed Eric Garner in a chokehold that led to his death.
Dozens of demonstrators, many of them veterans of protests in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson following the death of Michael Brown, chanted “This stops today” as they stood in front of the Thomas F. Eagleton Federal Courthouse, where four protesters reportedly were arrested. A smaller group of protesters gathered across from the Ferguson Police Department, as they have nearly every night for the past several months.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that one man was arrested in St. Louis' Central West End after he drove through a group of demonstrators and flashed a weapon. Protest leaders claimed four demonstrators were hit by the vehicle, but no one was seriously injured.
Douglas Hollis, a 38-year-old pastor from St. Louis, was one of those who gathered outside the Ferguson Police Department on Wednesday night. Hollis said he feels justice has not been served to those who died in the hands of police officers.
“If we couldn’t get Darren Wilson indicted, we already knew we couldn’t get the police officer who choked Eric Garner to death indicted. The system let us down once again,” Hollis said. “Being a first cousin of Mike Brown and a cousin of Vonderrit Myers, I feel the system had let us down a whole lot. Not only in St. Louis, but nationwide.”
Hollis said the vast majority of Ferguson demonstrators have been peaceful and did not cause the destruction that engulfed the city last week. “The only thing we're out here doing is peaceful protesting for justice," he said. "We just want our voices heard. We are not looters or thieves. We are pastors, preachers, taxpayers, lawyers, most of us have good jobs. We’re not out here for no kind of harassment, we’re just out here to get our voices heard, that’s all we’re here for."
Kurtinya Baker, 43, also was demonstrating in front of the Ferguson Police Department. Baker said she feels that now more than ever, her 26-year-old son has to be "more aware" than people of other races because of police killings.
“I think it’s messed up. I think there should be more justice. The non-indictment of the officer showed that it’s clearly OK to kill a black person,” she said.