DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Crowds gathered in downtown Cleveland to protest a New York grand jury's decision lacking charges for Eric Garner's death. They made their way around the city, blocking major intersections.On July 17, Garner was about to be arrested in Staten Island, NY for illegally selling loose cigarettes. But something went horribly wrong and it was all caught on video by a bystander. It took several police officers to take him down. One used a choke hold. Police say he had a heart attack on the way to the hospital and died.
On Friday, protesters marched from Pubic Square to the Justice Center holding letters that spelled "Black Lives Matter." Then they marched back to Public Square, eventually making their way to the Detroit Superior bridge and laying down, shutting down traffic to the bridge.
After about a half hour on the bridge, protesters started moving again, this time heading east on Huron toward the Q. Once on Huron, protesters marched towards Prospect and East 9
Street. For a second time, they laid down to block traffic by the Cuyahoga County Administrative Headquarters.
Next, protesters made their way through Playhouse Square on Euclid Avenue. For the third time, they laid down in the street. After a short time there, the group headed back toward Public Square, where it all began. Once there, they linked arms in the streets and continued chanting together. Then they laid down for a fourth time.
Protesters began to disperse around 5:30 p.m., more than two hours after they began.
There was a strong police presence, but the protest remained peaceful. Many chants could be heard, including "Hands up, don't shoot" and "No justice, no peace."
"I mainly came out after I saw that Eric Garner video a couple of days ago. I was just...I could not believe the way he was gasping and saying 'I can't breathe' in that video," said Cleveland resident Carley Solether, who participated in the march.
were aware of protest plans and recommends those who are able to leave downtown earlier than normal departure time do so, in order to alleviate some of the expected traffic congestion.
There were no arrests, accidents, or injuries during the protests.
In addition, the Division of Police will work to ensure the protection of both the public and demonstrators.
The Division of Police recognizes an individual's right to demonstrate and reminds those who intend to demonstrate that they must do so in a civil manner and in a way that does not violate laws or inconvenience or harm others.
There were some rush hour headaches for drivers trying to leave downtown.
"I'm sorry for the inconvenience but this is something that needs to happen," said protester Clarence Gurley.