LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Protesters briefly stopped traffic Monday on a major thoroughfare in Los Angeles after a grand jury’s decision not to indict a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., in connection with the fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager.
Aerial footage showed a group of people on the eastbound 10 Freeway in the West Adams district shortly after 7:50 p.m.
“When they got to the 10 Freeway, some of them did get onto the freeway. CHP moved in very, very quickly and brought that to a very quick halt,” reported Sky9’s Stu Mundel.
The group complied with orders from about two dozen CHP officers, who pushed the crowd back.
“They were very upset. They kept shouting, ‘Shut it down! Shut it down!’ meaning they wanted to stop traffic on the freeway,” KCAL9’s Peter Daut reported.
After the protesters were removed from the freeway, they headed in a northbound direction on La Brea, Mundel said.
“They’ve been very peaceful. They’ve basically been walking their way down the street. Haven’t knocked anything over. Haven’t been doing very much but they have been protesting,” Mundel said.
The group started in the Leimert Park area, Mundel said, and was escorted by LAPD officers.
Daut said that although the protesters were screaming at officers, there was no actual confrontation.
“It’s crazy! They kill us and then wipe it away like it’s nothing. Like we’re nobody,” said Johnny Collins, a protester. “Shut it down, man! If we can’t have justice, then there should be no peace.”
A second crowd gathered in Exposition Park, prompting a temporary lockdown of the USC campus. The fairly large but peaceful group walked along Martin Luther King Boulevard and were also being escorted by police officers.
Along Pico Boulevard behind the L.A. Convention Center, some defiant protesters threw water bottles at CHP officers, who worked to keep people off of the freeways in the vicinity, reported Mundel.
Others blocked traffic along the 110 Freeway lanes at Pico Boulevard just after 11:30 p.m.
The demonstrations were sparked by an announcement earlier Monday by a St. Louis County prosecutor who said jurors had decided not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in connection with the Aug. 9 fatal shooting of Michael Brown, 18.
After spending months reviewing evidence and hearing testimony from witnesses and experts, the jury found no probable cause to charge Wilson, said Robert McCulloch, the St. Louis County prosecutor.
“They discussed and debated the evidence among themselves before arriving at their collective decision,” McCulloch said. “After their exhaustive review of the evidence, the grand jury deliberated over two days, making their final decision.”
Moments after the announcement, President Barack Obama acknowledged that many Americans are disappointed and angry at the decision.
However, Obama asked that protests be peaceful and read a statement from Brown’s father, which said: “Hurting others and destroying property is not the answer. No matter what the grand jury decides, I do not want my son’s death to be in vain.”
KCAL9 Legal Analyst Steve Meister said it appeared the grand jury was faced with so much contradictory evidence that it found that it could not indict.
“I think in this case, with the different, inconsistent and conflicting testimony that they heard, three different autopsy reports, all kinds of testimony they heard, they may have just simply had to come to the conclusion that, ‘Even on a probable cause burden, we can’t determine for certain what happened here,’ ” he explained.