Protests erupt in wake of chokehold death decision

By Dana Ford, Greg Botelho and Ben Brumfield, CNN

December 5, 2014 — Updated 0330 GMT (1130 HKT)

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(CNN) — Protesters are flooding the streets of New York and elsewhere — chanting, blocking traffic and demanding change after the decision not to indict in the chokehold death of Eric Garner.

Demonstrators staged a “die-in” in Brooklyn, New York, late Thursday. They lay in the middle of Atlantic Avenue. An eerie silence descended as the protesters, who had cardboard coffins, stopped chanting.

The march was being led by three mothers, all of whom had lost a son to police. Protesters stopped other marchers from getting ahead of the women. They wanted them to walk in front.

“I’m so happy that people of all cultures, all ethnicities, came out to show their love and support, and basically we have to make a change because they’re killing us off,” a protester told CNN.

A part of the Brooklyn Bridge was closed. Protesters marched up Broadway, and police used pepper spray on the West Side Highway near Houston Street. The vast majority of the demonstrations were peaceful.

“What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!” protesters shouted in New York’s Foley Square.

They chanted Garner’s final words: “I can’t breathe!”

Garner, a black man, died in July after a white officer put him in a chokehold on Staten Island.

The case cracked open a wider discussion around policing practices in communities of color.

“I’m out here because the system has failed us too many times,” Courtney Wicker, a protester, told CNN affiliate NY1. “It makes me feel like there’s no justice.”

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