As protests grew in Ferguson, Mo., over the grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson, several hundred protesters gathered in front of the White House late Monday night to voice their displeasure at the verdict.
“When the prosecutor wants to get an indictment, they get an indictment,” said Radhika Miller, 34, a lawyer from D.C. “You’re telling me that they didn’t have enough evidence for even an involuntary manslaughter charge?”
Ms. Miller said the criminal justice system has put innocent people in jail, but is letting criminal police walk free. “The fact is we will never jail a cop who kills a black person in this country,” she said.
Protestors echoed the Ferguson rallying cry of “hands up, don’t shoot,” and also shouted “no justice, no peace.”
At least a dozen police vehicles kept watch over the gathering that took over the pedestrian portion of Pennsylvania Avenue and spilled into Lafayette Park across the street. The Secret Service turned on the flood lights on the front lawn of the White House to monitor the gathering.
Protestors were kept several feet back from the White House fence due to a barricade that has been in place since a man jumped onto the executive mansion’s front lawn and ran inside in September.
Jon Miller, 35, who works in digital media, said he hopes the protests can get people motivated to change things.
“It was very interesting comment a person made earlier about doing it for the living, and I think that’s what this is for,” he said. “The memory of Mike Brown and the passion it instills in people can really help us carry forward and keep trying to make the kind change that we need in our society.”
Mr. Miller said gatherings like the one in front of the White House can help people realize they’re not alone.
“It can make you feel strong, make you feel powerful, and it can make you feel that you can actually make a difference if you just keep going,” he said.
Ms. Miller helped hold up a large banner that read “Justice for Mike Brown; Arrest Ofc. Darren Wilson for Murder.”
“This system needs to change. This isn’t the first time, it won’t be the last time,” Ms. Miller said. “This is not the way it’s supposed to work. When someone guns down someone in the street, they need to pay for it.”