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Hundreds in Charlotte protest Ferguson decision

Hundreds of people attended rallies in Charlotte on Tuesday protesting a grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson, the officer who fatally shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in August.

Civil rights groups, clergy and activists planned the rallies within hours of the announcement of the grand jury’s decision. Two protests were held in uptown Charlotte , and a third was in a church on West Sugar Creek Road.

Organizers and speakers said they were dismayed at laws in Missouri and across the nation that they believe allow police to shoot people of color with impunity. Wilson is white. Brown was black.

At Marshall Park in uptown Charlotte, roughly 200 people, mostly teens and young adults, gathered holding signs and chanting “Hands up, don’t shoot” and “No justice, no peace.”

“We are here for Mike Brown and for the millions of Mike Browns across the nation,” Bree Newsome, one of the organizers, yelled into a megaphone. “We see Ferguson and we see a mirror of what’s going on in our own backyard.”

Many speakers alluded to the Jonathan Ferrell case. Ferrell was shot and killed by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police Officer Randall Kerrick in eastern Mecklenburg in September 2014. Ferrell had been involved in a car wreck, and officers were called to the Reedy Creek neighborhood by a woman at a house where Ferrell went looking for help.

Brown’s case has made national headlines, sparked months of sometimes violent protests and led to a heated national discussion about violent police interactions with black youth.

The announcement about the decision, broadcast on news networks across the nation, set off a swarm of sometimes violent protests. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police had reported no arrests related to the protests late Tuesday. Organizers of both uptown protests encouraged people to be peaceful.

In Ferguson, Monday’s protests were more destructive than any of the others that followed Brown’s Aug. 9 death. More than a dozen businesses were destroyed or badly damaged. Authorities reported hearing hundreds of gunshots, which for a time prevented fire crews from fighting the flames.

There were 61 arrests in Ferguson overnight Monday, many for burglary and trespassing, St. Louis County Police spokesman Brian Schellman said. There were 21 arrests in St. Louis, where protesters broke some store windows along South Grand Avenue, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said.

In Oakland, more than 40 people were arrested for hurling bottles, breaking windows and setting small fires, Mayor Jean Quan said in a statement early Tuesday. No serious injuries were reported.

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