Protests follow no indictment in NYPD chokehold case

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A large crowd of protesters took over a section of Manhattan's West Side Highway and were in a standoff with police Wednesday evening, hours after a grand jury declined to indict a white police officer in the death of an unarmed black man on Staten Island earlier this summer — in a case that was recorded on video and showed the dead man crying "I can't breathe."

A crowd estimated to number more than 100 was on the highway and were seen being pushed north by a line of police officers wearing helmets and armed with batons at around 9:30 p.m. At least six protesters were seen detained with plastic restraints, and shouted out their names as they were taken into custody.

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Protesters also staged a "die-in" in the main concourse of Grand Central Terminal and crowds earlier voiced their anger over the grand jury's decision in Times Square.

"I'm outraged," John Grauwiler, 44, said as he joined protests in Times Square. "As a man of color, I'm concerned about the implications of this for me and my friends. I thought the turnout would be different, but this is a wake-up call."

A grand jury on Wednesday declined to indict NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner, 43, who died after being placed in a chokehold while being arrested for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes on Staten Island on July 17. The incident was captured on video, in which Garner can be heard telling officers "I can't breathe" as he was being restrained.

"I can't breathe" became a rallying cry as crowds gathered in Times Square. Protesters also held their hands up — referencing the death in Ferguson, Missouri, of Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer who was also not indicted — and held signs reading "Black Lives Matter."

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Others in the crowd chanted, "NYPD, KKK, how many kids did you kill today?" "

"I grew up in the '60s and '70s, we fought to have justice and 40 years later we still don't have justice in this country," said protester Walter Cooper, 65. "I'm very frustrated and upset.

Protesters like Doug Brinson said the decision not to indict was an insult.

"No to indict the man is like a double slap in your face," Brinson told NBC New York. "It's like stomping you down on the ground."

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"A murderer was caught on camera, and for whatever reason they [the grand jury] decided to let a murder go free, and this keeps happening," said protester Adina Bloom, 25, as she marched with others to the Rockefeller Christmas Tree lighting from Times Square. "I don't understand how much more evidence one has to present to face consequences. What more could we have done to show the people of the court a murder occurred?"