Protests erupted across New York City as people outraged over a Staten Island grand jury voted against indicting a white cop for the summer death of a black male vented their rage while politicians and celebrities voiced their concerns online.
The protests, including a die in at Grand Central Terminal, were peaceful – a stark contrast to Ferguson – and heeded leaders' calls for non-violent resistance. They developed as officials, movie stars and others across the country condemned the decision.
The Grand Central die-in, which occurred just before the evening rush hour, peacefully assembled in the famed train station's marble-clad main hall.
Dozens of people were shown in images laying down motionless on the floor as people gathered around them. Police previously said they would not be interfered with if the protests remained peaceful.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio cancelled his scheduled Wednesday evening appearance at the Rockefeller Center Tree lighting ceremony, instead opting to meet with religious leaders on Staten Island and speak at a church near where Garner died.
Protestors initially planned to descend on the ceremony but soon shifted their energies elsewhere, according to social media postings showing protests in Times Square, Union Square and in various places on Staten Island.
City council member Debi Rose tweeted: "We held on to hope, and hope was denied. #justiceforEricGarner."
Eric Garner reactions
Politicians, celebrities react to Eric Garner grand jury decision against indictment
I am stunned by the failure to indict Eric Garner's killer.
I have no words left... just angry tears thru gritted teeth. #RIPEricGarner #RIPHumanity #RIPCompassion May the Lord have mercy...
Somebody's Eyes Are Lying.BLACK LIVES MATTER. WE NEED THE FEDS FOR JUSTICE. These Grand Juries In Ferguson And Staten Island And Blind In My Opinion.
Bodycams on police officers. Snuff films made legal. How about showing what justice looks like? #GarnerRiceBrown
"I. CAN'T. BREATHE."
Deep Hurt. We're Men. Human. We feel pain. There will be one collective cry added to these tears.Then the birth of a New Anger. #EricGarner
We held on to hope, and hope was denied. #justiceforEricGarner
Small crowd at spot where #EricGarner died. One protestor -- "This justice system died right along with #EricGarner http://t.co/p86l7FKq4b
Dear United States, it's spirit numbing, shameful, and sickly redundant. #EricGarner
Gillibrand on Garner: "I’m shocked by this grand jury decision, and will be calling on the Department of Justice to investigate.”
Homicide: deliberate & unlawful killing of one person by another. Explain #EricGarner please. http://t.co/ZR1X3FDlr4 http://t.co/p3NoHAd5f6
I just found out about #EricGarner....I am in disbelief. #nojustice #thisisnotok
Make sure you do something to let YOUR government know how you feel when something is unjust., not JUST your followers on twitter...
so america is basically saying: it's ok to kill big, tall black dudes if they do anything except play sports...#ericgarner
Eric Garner's last words. http://t.co/5lbqIEm63t
How do "crazy" cops keep getting away with this?!? He murdered that man. Stop the madness. #EricGarner #ICantBreathe
HE said I can't breathe 11 TIMES!!! 11 times ! Over some cigarettes !!!! Some cigarettes!!!!! If your not from New York and you may not have seen the video of this tragedy. Please go REVOTtv,com I just posted it. YOU have to see it to understand the level of blatant and justice this is!!!! #IcantBREATHE #EricGarner Pls spread the word so people can see it!!!!!!!
u want to disprove the claims of ppl talking abt an unjust & racist system today but u would have listened during Apartheid, Jim Crow, etc??
I wouldn't feel right posting anything else before saying my heart hurts today.
Fruitvale Station..all to familiar
How is this America? #ICantBreathe
I'd just like to know what a cop WOULD have to do to get indicted - and what good are cop cameras since Eric Garner IS on tape?
SMDH....God the world is crying for your help. This really makes me sad. All I can do is pray & I plan on doing ... http://t.co/hWGE9vJal4
This one was on film. http://t.co/Zm7DKL09ok
I'm ashamed. Mostly because I'm no longer shocked at things now-a-days. Nothing is shocking. #EricGarner
RIP Eric Garner and condolences to his family. We must start holding the police accountable for their actions. It's challenging to imagine how this could happen and be excused.
Non-white human beings are human beings. Human beings you don't happen to like, are human beings. Human beings incidentally, have rights.
ARE FED UP http://t.co/SY6HtNP9He
How can a man accused of selling loose cigarettes be killed with a banned chokehold with no consequences? I can't make it make sense.
An individual or institution can't kill Eric Garner in that fashion & not be held accountable. #ChokedWhilePoor New America's not having it.
Somebody's Eyes Are http://t.co/jhqFHBMPtJ LIVES MATTER. WE NEED THE FEDS FOR JUSTICE. These Grand Juries In… http://t.co/ZVPO3fhyUx
We're either shocked or we're shocked that we're not shocked #EricGarner #ICantBreathe
Just landed and heard the news. #ICantBreathe
I dare someone to say #EricGarner deserved to die & the police were just doing their job. I DARE THEM. I DOUBLE DOG DARE THEM. #ICantBreathe
“@brownmantshirts: I guess a video of a cop choking a man to death isn't enough evidence to prove a cop choked a man to death. #EricGarner”
How can you NOT indict a policeman for choking to death an unarmed man who screams 'I can't breathe' 8 times? #EricGarner
Discover More Like This
BACK TO SLIDE
Multiple other city council members tweeted they were headed to Staten Island to join protestors.
"Cosby Show" star Malcom Jamal-Warner tweeted his outrage: "Bodycams on police officers. Snuff films made legal. How about showing what justice looks like? #GarnerRiceBrown."
Jamal-Warner's gripe may have been in reference to a number of NYPD officers reportedly being outfitted with body cams only hours before the grand jury decision was announced.
"This Eric Garner s**t is making me sick to my stomach," tweeted rapper and actor Ice-T. "We all watched a snuff FILM! No indictment!"
Fellow hip hop star MC Hammer also weighed in on Twitter: "Deep Hurt. We're Men. Human. We feel pain. There will be one collective cry added to these tears.Then the birth of a New Anger. #EricGarner"
So did actress Anika Noni Rose: "Dear United States, it's spirit numbing, shameful, and sickly redundant. #EricGarner."
Movie director Spike Lee, often a vocal presence surrounding civil rights issues, posted a statement on Instagram.
"Somebody's Eyes Are Lying. BLACK LIVES MATTER. WE NEED THE FEDS FOR JUSTICE. These Grand Juries In Ferguson And Staten Island And Blind In My Opinion."
Democratic New York Senator Kristen Gillibrand said: "I'm shocked by this grand jury decision, and will be calling on the Department of Justice to investigate."
Democratic Senator Cory Booker, from New Jersey also called for the feds to be involved in a Facebook post.
"This should not have happened. This could have been prevented," Booker wrote. "Eric Garner's death should be further investigated by federal authorities and it should constructively contribute to a broader national re-examination of our entire criminal justice system."
Soon after Lee's angry Instagram post, Attorney General Eric Holder office revealed the Department of Justice was looking into Garner's death.
Garner's family is due to speak Wednesday evening on Rev. Al Sharpton's MSNBC show. Sharpton has been noticeably quiet in the buildup to the airing.