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The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

November 25, 2014 at 10:36 AM

Marchers hit the streets in Seattle to protest Ferguson ruling

Garfield High School students join the front row of the Seattle march  down Broadway to protest the Ferguson grand-jury ruling. "Hands up," they chanted.

Garfield High School students join the front row of the Seattle march to protest the Ferguson grand-jury ruling. “Hands up,” they chanted. The demonstrators were heading downtown to the U.S. District Courthouse at Seventh Avenue and Stewart Street. (Photo by Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times)

Update at 1:32 p.m.: Protesters arrived at the U.S. District Courthouse in downtown Seattle at 1:15 p.m. chanting, “No justice, no peace. No racist police ”

Many were high-school students, like David Morgan, 16, a junior at Garfield High School. Morgan said he was there “just to support all the black people in the past who have been wronged by police,” joining a crowd chanting “Black lives matter, black lives matter!”

“We are out here to support Mike Brown’s family and show our support to African Americans all around,” said senior Alyssa King, 17, president of the Garfield High School Black Student Union, which organized the student march. “It’s a peaceful protest because there’s been enough violence in the lives that have been taken.”

Update at 12:33 p.m.: Hundreds of chanting marchers have headed up East Union Street planning to peacefully protest at the U.S. District Courthouse at Seventh Avenue and Stewart Street in downtown Seattle. They were accompanied by Mayor Ed Murray and Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole.

The marchers were vocal, chanting, “Hands up, Don’t shoot!” During the march they were joined by about 1,000 students from Garfield High School.

March organizer K.L. Shannon said, “This march is about outrage and just people are hurting right now.”

Shannon said protesters are demanding a federal indictment of police officer Darren Wilson, who shot Michael Brown, 18, in Ferguson, Mo.

Murray said he was invited to the march by black ministers, including Pastor Lawrence Willis, president of the United Black Christian Clergy of Washington (UBCCW).

When asked about Monday night’s protest, which turned unruly, Murray replied, “This is a community that is in pain.” He went on to explain that while the march in the African-American community had been peaceful, “You have a mostly white crowd run onto the freeway.”

Jesse Hagopian, teacher and adviser for the Black Student Union at Garfield High School, said while speaking in the parking lot before the march started, that his students were not surprised by the decision to not charge Wilson.

“This is the normal practice of a racist country,” he said.

Harald Hyllseth, student-body president for Garfield, said the student march was organized by the school’s Black Student Union, which held a discussion earlier Tuesday to decide how to respond to the Ferguson decision.

“It was awesome to see that it came together,” he said. “It’s like a vote of solidarity with the Black Student Union and what they’re trying to accomplish,”

Earlier, about 250 students from Roosevelt High School staged a peaceful march.

Update at 12:10 p.m.: Seattle Public Schools says 1,000 Garfield High School students are marching in another Ferguson protest. A school district tweet did not give the destination.

Update at 11:42 a.m.:  Roosevelt High School students marched peacefully to the University of Washington to protest Monday’s grand jury decision in Ferguson, Mo., and are now heading back to the school.

The school district estimated about 250 students walked out of class around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday to participate in the march, despite the rain. Several students decried the grand jury’s decision to not indict a white officer for fatally shooting Michael Brown, an unarmed black man.

“This is a final event in a long string of events that are just not OK,” said junior Leo Folsom, 17. He called on young people to speak out against social injustice.

“If we don’t, like, what can you do?” said Folsom.

Maddie Foley, 18, marched with her hands up, joining the chorus of students who shouted “Don’t shoot!”

“I just turned 18 and Michael Brown was the same age when he was shot in the streets for no reason, or for no justifiable reason,” she said.

As the students marched in the street, Seattle police drove along next to them, blocking traffic on cross streets.

Update 11:37 a.m.

Roosevelt High School was “abuzz” Tuesday morning with talk of a student protest in response to the Ferguson grand jury’s  decision.

Junior Henri Fitzmaurice, 17, said that by 9 a.m. the protest was all anyone was talking about.

“It started with the BSU, the Black Student Union, and everyone started spreading the word. I was in Spanish class and we started talking in Spanish asking ‘are you going to the walkout at 10:15?’ ”

Shortly after 10 a.m. Roosevelt Principal Brian Vance announced on the school intercom that the protest was not “a school-sponsored event” and any student who walked out would receive an unexcused absence, Fitzmaurice said.

With that, nearly 300 students walked onto the school field, and then off campus toward the University of Washington. Once they reached Red Square at the UW, the Roosevelt students chanted and talked about racial inequality, Fitzmaurice said over his cellphone as he marched back to school from UW.

“There were chants about what has happened in Ferguson and about George Zimmerman getting off in Florida,” he said. “These events are repeating themselves all the time. It’s not OK.”

A spokeswoman for Seattle Public Schools said students whose parents granted permission for the walkout would be given an excused absence. Fitzmaurice’s mother, over Twitter, told The Seattle Times her son had her permission to protest.

“Civics in action. Participating in history. Permission granted,” Nicole Le Prohn tweeted.

Update at 11:08 a.m.:  Seattle Public Schools says about 250 students marched out of Roosevelt High School on Tuesday morning to protest the Ferguson grand jury decision.

The students are reportedly marching toward the University of Washington. Seattle police warn motorists driving near the UW to expect traffic disruptions.

Seattle schools says the students who march off campus will receive an absence if they do not have permission from their parents.

Original post: Demonstrators plan to march in protest of the Ferguson grand jury ruling at noon Tuesday from the Mount Calvary Baptist Church at 23rd Avenue East and Union Street to the U.S. District Courthouse downtown.

Organized by the Seattle King County NAACP, protesters plan to gather at the church at 11 a.m.

A clean-up crew sweeps up broken glass left on the sidewalk from a smashed out window at the Wells Fargo bank on Madison Street and Boylston Avenue in Seattle early Tuesday morning.  The window was broken Monday night during a protest of the grand-jury ruling in the Ferguson case.

A cleanup crew sweeps up broken glass left on the sidewalk from a smashed window at the Wells Fargo bank on Madison Street at Boylston Avenue in Seattle early Tuesday morning. The window was broken Monday night during a protest of the Ferguson grand-jury ruling.

The march follows demonstrations Monday that mostly stayed peaceful before erupting into violence late in the evening. A handful of protesters made it onto Interstate 5, where they blocked traffic until officers were able to move them.

Seattle police reported five arrests as of early Tuesday morning: a 51-year-old man for reckless endangerment, a 22-year-old woman for failure to disperse, and two men – 34 and 28 – for obstruction. Officers also arrested a man who was armed with a handgun on a weapons violation.

Police are investigating several incidents of property damage, according to a post from the Seattle Police Department. Vandals spray painted buildings at Sixth Avenue and Pike Street and Ninth Avenue and Madison Street. Vandals also reportedly shattered a bank’s window at Madison and Boylston Avenue.

Related stories:
Brown family blasts prosecutor’s handling of case
For Ferguson grand jury, a mass of evidence, much of it conflicting
Photos from Ferguson
Photos from Seattle protests

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