LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Scores of local students are making their voices heard in the wake of the grand jury decision Monday not to indict the police officer who fatally shot an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Missouri.
Hundreds of UCLA students took part in a demonstration outside Royce Hall Tuesday against what they call a broken system, a day after a St. Louis County prosecutor announced jurors had decided Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who is white, would not face trial for the fatal August 9 shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed, 18-year-old black man.
Dozens laid on the ground while chalk marks were drawn around them, voicing frustration with a justice system they believe still holds racial bias.
"This could be me today, later today, this could be my little cousin, this could be my little brother, this could be my nephew," UCLA senior Alex Mercier said.
UCLA senior Kateisha Menefield organized the demonstration over social media Monday night.
"I feel like a lot of different students were definitely moved, upset, angry about this decision to not even indict - not even give the opportunity for this person to be put on trial," she said.
Not everyone on campus felt the decision in Ferguson was wrong.
Carlos Sotelo held up a sign during the demonstration which was met with plenty of resistance.
"I got food thrown on me, I got spat on," he said. "Telling everyone to not believe stuff just because it's emotionally pushed towards you... that you should inform yourself. Look at the evidence."
While the Michael Brown incident took place in Missouri, demonstrators say what happened there also hits home.
"Things are happening in Los Angeles," Mercier continued. "Ezell Ford was a young man in Los Angeles that was killed not too long ago. People need to know these names, because if you can't put a name to it then it's as if they don't exist."
Campus police and LAPD officers were standing nearby during the demonstration.
In the college town of Claremont, students also gathered, voicing their extreme disappointment in the absence of Wilson's indictment.
Scripps College student Nicole Rufus said she took comfort in the diverse crowd brought together by their opposition.
"I felt like a lot of my classmates were very flippant about it. They heard the news and their lives kind of went back to normal. It wasn't anything for them. But for me it's just the kind of thing that makes your heart ache," she said.
"We're calling for justice but we're calling for peace and we're calling for education," protester Gustavo Ramirez added.
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