The protests kicked off by the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, aren't slowing down any time soon. In addition to ongoing demonstrations in Ferguson to protest the grand jury's decision not to indict Darren Wilson, people have been assembling to protest the murder by police of Eric Garner, as well as the shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.
Saturday's Millions March is mobilizing New Yorkers for more protests. Given the scope of previous protests, which shut down traffic on bridges and resulted in "die-ins" at major locations, this is sure to be a moving day of peaceful political action. Earlier this week, Eric Garner's daughter Erica staged a die-in at the site where her father was choked to death by police in Staten Island. There have been, and continue to be, protests against police brutality in Oakland, DC, Boston, London, Dallas, and other cities around the world.
The past few weeks have also seen high-profile protests among congressional staffers, the NBA, and Dave Chappelle and Michael Sam at the GQ Men of the Year event. During a performance later in the week, Chappelle shared a harrowing story of being choked by an officer while filming a movie in New Orleans when he was just a teen.
New Legal Developments
Meanwhile, a federal judge in Ferguson ruled that police officers can't use tear gas on protestors "without declaring an illegal assembly, giving them fair warning and time to vacate the area." Lawyer Brendan Roediger told MSNBC, "Ultimately [the judge] decided there was substantial evidence that police had violated the constitutional rights of the protesters, that it was a restriction on their free speech…The best thing the judge said and she said it a couple of times, was that 'it’s clear to me for some reason the police are treating this group, around this movement, differently than they treat other large crowds.'" This is a temporary restraining order, but it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the long term when it comes to the use of force against otherwise peaceful protestors.
Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver presented a bill that would require body cameras for officers in law enforcement agencies that have been federally funded. It's worth noting that the murders of Garner and Rice were both caught on tape, so the usefulness of body cameras is still up for debate.
No St. Nick Needed
In the meantime, December 13 is also SantaCon. The organizers of the terrible bar crawl have announced they're "scaling back their festivities," which are generally reviled by most non-puking New Yorkers, but seem especially grotesque in light of the protests. To wit, "Santacon has respect and compassion for the hard-working municipal organizations of NYC, as well as for the important civil rights demonstrations currently shaping our city’s future. Thus, we are changing the format of this year’s Santacon."
On the other hand, here's a video of the first (?) fistfight between drunken Santas.
[UPDATED: The drunken Santa fistfight was removed from Instagram. We've replaced it below with a Vine of wayward Santas watching the protest march.]