Ferguson protesters march on LAPD headquarters, county jail

Hundreds of people gather outside federal courthouse in LA to protest Ferguson grand jury decision

Hundreds of people marched in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday afternoon, the third day of protests against a Missouri grand jury's decision not to indict a Ferguson police officer for the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager.

The protesters who gathered first at the federal courthouse marched to the Los Angeles Police Department's headquarters nearby, before heading toward Union Station in the direction of the county jail.

"We see you," some chanted, as they walked past the Twin Towers Correctional Facility, an apparent reference to the protesters arrested Tuesday night.

When protesters reached Cesar Chavez Avenue and Vignes Street, officers with hands on their batons blocked the street leading toward the Twin Towers Correctional Facility. Sirens blared in the background and a helicopter's searchlight flashed on protesters chanting and standing in the intersection.

"Free the protesters, kill killer cops," they yelled.

But rather than chant, Ray Spears, a resident of Eagle Rock, opted to strike up a conversation with a nearby officer. When the 25-year-old told the officer he was a Christian, the officer responded that he is too.

"I think that all human beings are made in the image of God, and we have civil rights, human rights," Spears said.

"Hey man, we're on the same page," the officer responded.

When Spears held out his fist for a fist bump, the officer raised his hands, where he was holding a baton.

"I would if I could right now," the officer told him. Spears called the conversation "a little glimmer of hope."

Protesters then retreated from the intersection, walking back into the tunnel they had just passed through on Cesar Chavez. The crowd walked into the street at some points and police scrambled to set up protection between oncoming traffic and the crowd.

The group paused briefly at the Metropolitan Detention Center, where organizers had said protesters arrested Tuesday night were being held.

"Fight the power," the crowd yelled. Later, as protesters continued the march, some sat cross-legged in the intersection of 5th and Spring streets. 

The Department of Transportation  posted on its Twitter account that the DASH Downtown Routes A and D were experiencing 15- to 20-minute service delays due to the protest and that DASH Lincoln Heights/Chinatown was experiencing a 20- to 30-minute service delay.

Earlier during the demonstration, protesters formed a line outside the federal courthouse, walking up and down the sidewalk chanting: "No justice, no peace. No racist police." Several community relations police officers stood in the crowd, wearing light blue shirts with LAPD embroidered in blue.

Across the street, other officers watched the growing crowd, some from their cars.

A protester's suggestion that they march to the jail to demand the release of those arrested was met with a roar of support. But when the crowd did make a move to leave, it was to first march toward LAPD headquarters, where officers were waiting behind barricades.

Shortly after arriving, protesters moved from the sidewalk to 1st Street, where they chanted "Whose streets? Our streets."

The demonstration's start contrasted with boisterous scenes from Tuesday night, when some protesters managed to briefly shut down the 101 Freeway and the LAPD arrested 183 people.

The number surpassed arrests in other major cities in the nation on the second night of protests over the grand jury decision this week in the Michael Brown shooting case.


Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATE

7:06 p.m.: This post was updated to include a conversation a protester and police officer had

6:51 p.m.: This post was updated to include details about protesters marching through LA
6:37 p.m.:
This post was updated to include details about protesters marching toward Twin Towers Correctional Facility

5:35 p.m.: This post was updated to include details about protester's march

5:04 p.m.: This post was updated to include details about the march in front of LAPD

4:39 p.m.: This post was updated to include details about the protest.

This post was originally published at 4:10 p.m.

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