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Garner Ruling Protesters Head To Barclays Center During William And Kate Appearance

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Protesters angry about the Eric Garner grand jury decision turned out Monday evening at the Barclays Center, as Prince William and his wife, Kate Middleton, attended the Brooklyn Nets' game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Demonstrators staged a die-in in front of the stadium in Brooklyn before the game began. Some of them wore T-shirts reading, "I Can't Breathe," referring to Garner's words after he was taken down in an apparent chokehold on Staten Island on July 17.

Garner Ruling Protesters Head To Barclays Center Ahead Of William And Kate Appearance

They rallied outside the main entrance to the Barclays Center and spilled out to block traffic on Atlantic and Flatbush avenues.

Protesters later tried to get into stores at the Atlantic Terminal Mall, but police blocked them from entering the stores, CBS2 reported. Still, some people were seen on the escalators inside the mall carrying signs.

Atlantic Center Mall Protests
Protesters at the Atlantic Center Mall on Monday, Dec. 8. (Credit: CBS2)

Some of the protesters wore tiaras in anticipation of William and Kate's arrival.

The protesters said they hoped to take some of the spotlight from the royal couple.

"We want attention and right now this seems to be the biggest attention spot in the city," one protester said.

Protester Katrina Pecorella hoped William and Kate heard the message and used their international platform.

"If they could come out for this, like so many athletes have over this past week, using that platform to support a good cause can always be helpful to what we're doing," she told WCBS 880's Jim Smith.

Explaining the NYPD's hands-off philospophy for protesters, Bratton said mass arrests don't stand up in court and expose the city to lawsuits.

"We are still paying out from the 2004 Republican Convention and the Occupy Wall Street. To date, about $18 million," he said.

Commissioner Bratton Sheds Light On NYPD's Hands-Off Protest Philosophy

The royal couple was set to attend the game to help launch a new collaboration between the Royal Foundation, United for Wildlife and the NBA, CBS2's Tracee Carrasco reported.

Thousands of people have protested in New York and around the country since a grand jury decision not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo, the officer seen on video taking down Garner in the apparent chokehold. Garner died a short time afterward.

There were other protests against the Garner decision Monday morning. Demonstrators stopped cars on the Staten Island Expressway from getting to the Verrazano Narrows Bridge as they held a banner mentioning Garner and Michael Brown – the teen who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

The protesters left when police arrived.

Meanwhile, LeBron James wore an "I Can't Breathe" shirt, during pre-game warm-ups on on Monday night like Derrick Rose of the Bulls did this weekend.

Rose warmed up in the shirt Saturday before Chicago played Golden State.

"It was spectacular," James said of the shirt. "I loved it. I'm looking for one."

He found one, and was seen wearing it during warmups before the game. Several other players from both teams wore similar shirts.

James expressed excitement that William and Kate were attending the game.

"It's a huge honor," James said at the Cavaliers' practice. "The stuff you read about, people like them only in books growing up, and to hear that they're coming in town to see me play and they want to see me do what I do best, it's a huge honor."

Garner Ruling Protesters Head To Barclays Center Ahead Of William And Kate Appearance

James was excited to get to meet the royal couple.

The Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge Attend Cleveland Cavaliers v Brooklyn Nets
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge pose with LeBron James (R) backstage as they attend the Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Brooklyn Nets game at Barclays Center on December 8, 2014 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

"I've had people from all across the board as far as stature, but the President of the United States, that was pretty huge," he said. "To have those two, to say they were traveling here and one of the things that they wanted to do was see me play, it's a pretty big deal in my household."

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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