Using Black Friday as a backdrop, about 40 demonstrators gathered outside a crowded Arden Fair Mall to protest last week’s decision by a Ferguson, Mo., grand jury to exonerate a white police officer who fired fatal shots that killed Michael Brown, am 18-year-old black man.
Carrying signs that read “Hands up. Don’t shop!” and “Black Lives Matter,” demonstrators gathered peacefully outside one of the mall’s entrance, while a police helicopter circled overhead.
In a campaign organized on social media, similar demonstrations took place in New York, St. Louis and other cities across the country. Encouraged by African American celebrities in the arts and film industries, the boycott effort urged consumers to refrain from shopping on Black Friday as a way to draw attention to the Ferguson case and other issues.
“The facts are there. The numbers are there. This is not random,” said protestor Cary Johnson, referencing the instances of young African-American men shot by police. He carried a sign that read “Am I Next?”
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He siad he hoped that rallies like Friday’s – timed for one of the year’s biggest shopping days of the year – will keep the issue in the public eye.
Sacramento police officers watched on horseback and on foot at the mall, but no incidents were reported.
Local clergy also monitored the rally to “ensure that the protestors maintain a peaceful position. If there’s any intervention to be done, we’ll be in a position to do that,” said The Rev. Anthony Sadler of Shiloh Baptist Church in Sacramento.
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