Protesters Take Over FDR, West Side Highway Night After Ferguson Decision
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Fury about Ferguson took over in Manhattan for the second night Tuesday, as protesters angry about the grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri first shut down an entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel during the evening rush Tuesday, then shut down both sides of the Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive.
Protesters took over both sides of the West Side Highway at 72nd Street late Tuesday and marched northward, despite efforts from police to keep them off.
As CBS2's Tony Aiello reported, punches also flew between officers and at least one protester Tuesday night as one group of protesters gathered in Times Square.
The throng expressed outrage at the decision not to indict Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown.
PHOTOS: NYC Protests | Chaos In Ferguson
On Thursday, 34th Street will be part of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade route. But on Tuesday night, protesters shut it down.
"Actually, I just came to go shopping and I saw the marching so I joined in," said protester Brenda Gibson.
They claimed the grand jury decision in Ferguson was part of a larger pattern of police abuses.
"This is actually a human rights issue," said protester Verika Edwards. "This is breaking, like, UN Conventions on human rights."
The crowd was filled largely with young high school and college students. The NYPD let them march until they targeted the Lincoln Tunnel and tried to shut down the entrance around the time of the evening rush. A tense standoff at the tunnel entrance delayed traffic for 30 minutes.
"I want to get home," said Zollie Benton as he found himself stuck in traffic amid the protests. "I do this every day, and I live in Jersey. I live in Neptune, New Jersey, so I do this drive every day. And they came up behind me, once I saw that, I got a little nervous, so I was hoping it didn't get out of hand."
It didn't get out of hand until the crowd moved on to Times Square, and ignored repeated warnings to back off the street. Police arrested at least 10 people, and a man was seen on Chopper 2 scuffling with officers.
Some people called police officers "murderers," and the F word was heard copiously, Aiello reported.
Protesters Block Lincoln Tunnel Following Ferguson Grand Jury Decision
"We're not worried that Darren Wilson is going to do something like this again, we're worried that this sets the precedence for other cops or other people to get away with the same exact thing," protestor Eugene Varnedoe told WCBS 880's Monica Miller.
Varnedoe said he's ready to join the protestors for a third and fourth day if it will bring justice to the Brown family.
Later, a separate group wreaked havoc on the FDR Drive, shutting it down in both directions.
Joe Biermann reported from Chopper 2 that as many as 3,000 people marched up the FDR Drive. They later gathered for a protest rally at First Avenue near 42nd Street and the United Nations, and afterward headed back to Times Square for the second time in the evening.
At the rally, someone got on top of a bus shelter and began speaking through a bullhorn as a huge group gathered around.
Protesters also tried to go over the Williamsburg Bridge, but police would not allow them to do so, according to witnesses. Some shoving between protesters and police was also observed.
Protesters did later begin walking over the Manhattan Bridge.
A protester on the East Side of Manhattan was also seen lighting an American flag on fire.
A group of protesters was first seen marching through the East Village, heading east on St. Mark's Place toward Second Avenue. Another group marched west on 14th Street swarming around vehicles as they shouted ``Hands up don't shoot'' before turning south.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said earlier that he thought the protests had gone well. He said the NYPD was giving protesters "breathing room" to express outrage over the decision by a grand jury not to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of an unarmed black teen.
He said as long as protesters remain nonviolent and don't cause vandalism, they can demonstrate.
Several hundred protesters also marched through the streets Newark Tuesday. Activists from the People's Organization For Progress led the peaceful march, following a rally at the city's Lincoln monument.
``We don't see this as a Missouri case. We don't see this as a Ferguson case. It's our case, it's everybody's case. That's why we are out here today,'' said one of the group's leaders, Larry Hamm.
Hamm called on the U.S. Department of Justice to bring civil rights charges against Wilson for the death.
``Michael Brown should not be dead,'' he said. ``Michael Brown should be alive with his family, and officer Wilson should be in jail.''
And earlier Tuesday, a small group of protesters also gathered outside federal court in Brooklyn, one of several demonstrations organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network.
The afternoon protest was one of 28 rallies set to take place simultaneously across the nation, including in Newark, Atlantic City, Paterson and Camden in New Jersey.
Bratton Discusses Red Substance Tossed On Him, Cops During Protest
On Monday night, thousands of people also flooded New York City streets, marching from Union Square to Times Square after it was announced that Officer Darren Wilson would not be charged in the death of Michael Brown.
MORE: Full Ferguson Coverage From CBS St. Louis | Grand Jury Documents
"The demonstrations last night, I thought we dealt with very professionally," Bratton said Tuesday.
Two people were arrested Monday -- one for throwing red paint that looked like fake blood at Bratton and his security detail, and another for throwing a bottle at officers -- police said
Police said Diego Ibanez, 26, of Brooklyn, who allegedly tossed the red substance, faces charges including assaulting a police officer, criminal mischief, obstruction of government administration and reckless endangerment.
Ibanez appeared in court on the charges late Tuesday.
Hundreds Protest Ferguson Decision In NYC
"It was a very serious incident, the idea of somebody throwing a substance, and it ended up impacting our nine police officers who were there," Bratton told reporters, including 1010 WINS' Carol D'Auria and WCBS 880's Rich Lamb. "Fortunately, it was not toxic, because several of the officers had a significant amount of it in their eyes."
Mayor Bill de Blasio added said, "It was an absolutely cowardly and inappropriate act for anyone to assault a public servant -- any public servant, but particularly a public servant who's doing so much good."
De Blasio was also critical of the unrest in Ferguson, WCBS 880's Rich Lamb reported.
"It's a sad day for America that people chose to pursue violence when it's quite evident that not only did the family not want it, it's not going to get anyone anywhere," de Blasio told reporters.
De Blasio Discusses Protests Over Ferguson Grand Jury Decision
At a news conference in Harlem on Monday, Sharpton called the decision an "absolute blow.''
"It was expected, but still an absolute blow to those of us who wanted to see a fair and open trial," he said.
Bratton: NYPD Working To Build Trust With Residents
Sharpton was joined by the family of Eric Garner, who is awaiting a grand jury decision in his alleged police chokehold death on Staten Island earlier this year.
Sharpton said, "Even when you see a blow coming that you expected, it still hurts nonetheless.''
He said there had been no confidence in the Missouri prosecutors from the start and questioned why the prosecutor didn't say if the grand jury decision had been unanimous.
With the death of a man last week in a Brooklyn housing project at the hands of a police officer, Sharpton said, "Let it be clear that we are dealing with the same attitudes of Ferguson right here in the city. Ferguson is not just in Missouri.''
Bratton conceded that there is a significant number of New Yorkers who don't trust the NYPD. He said the department is working to build trust.
"In terms of hiring practices, the transparency efforts that we're making, the recognition to admit mistakes when we make them," he told reporters, including WCBS 880's Marla Diamond.
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