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Hundreds rally to protest Ferguson decision

Several hundred people gathered outside the federal courthouse in Cincinnati Tuesday evening to protest a Missouri grand jury's decision not to indict the police officer who fatally shot Ferguson 18-year-old Michael Brown. The Hands Up for Justice rally was sponsored by the National Action Network.

Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell estimated the crowd at 300 to 400 people.

Bishop Bobby Hilton started off by saying, "Let me be clear, we are not anti-cop. We are pro-justice."

Organizers repeatedly declared the rally would remain peaceful, as has been requested by Michael Brown's family.

"But there was nothing surprising, nothing new. What happens now is, what does Ferguson do next?"

Referring to Cincinnati's own riots in 2001, Hilton said things aren't perfect now but they are certainly better. He and others, including Mayor John Cranley and the Rev. Damon Lynch III offered to help the people of Ferguson reshape their police/community relationship. Cincinnati is viewed as  model for police/community relations that grew out of the collaborative agreement worked out following the 2001 riots.

Though peaceful, there was still plenty of anger as well.

Lynch said "There was nothing surprising about last night. I was not surprised by what the district attorney said. I was not surprised about what happened in the streets afterwards. I would have been surprised if they had indicted (police officer Darren Wilson). I would have been surprised if people heard what (the district attorney) said and went out in peaceful protest. That would have been surprising. But there was nothing surprising, nothing new. What happens now is, what does Ferguson do next?"

After the rally, protesters poured into the street and began marching throughout Downtown, Over-the-Rhine and the West End. They carried signs and chanted "no justice, no peace" and "hands up, don't shoot."

A group of approximately a hundred, led by a group separate from the National Action Network, eventually marched to I-75 at Ezzard Charles and briefly shut down traffic on the highway. Police, who until then had been monitoring and blocking traffic as people marched, began making arrests.

As of 8:30 pm Tuesday, a Cincinnati police spokesperson Tiffany Hardy tells WVXU 7-10 people were arrested for charges of disorderly conduct and inducing panic. She did not give specifics but said those arrested were "diverse in age, sex and race." She also reports they gave mostly Cincinnati addresses.

To see more photos from the event, visit our Facebook page.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.