A Monday afternoon protest on Cross Campus against the no-indictment in the shooting death of Michael Brown turned into a rousing call to students to fight for justice in the city that lies beyond Yale’s gates.

The protest began at 12:01 p.m. — the time at which Brown was shot — when students across campus walked out of classes, meals and other events to congregate on Cross Campus as part of the national Hands Up Walk Out event. More than 200 students, joined by more than a dozen city activists and several faculty members, participated in the rally, organized by the Black Student Alliance at Yale.

In a crowd outside Berkeley North Court, protesters silently held their hands up for four-and-a-half minutes to commemorate the four and a half hours that Brown’s body lay on the street after he was killed.

“If Mike Brown had been white, the terms of engagement would have been different,” BSAY President Micah Jones ’16 told the crowd, arguing that Brown’s death was enabled by a social system that treats black people as other. “It is time to stop putting the victims on trial and instead to indict a system that devalues black and brown lives.”

Speakers noted that Brown is only the latest in a long list of unarmed black men killed at the hands of police officers — including Eric Garner in New York and Tamir Rice in Cleveland. Yonas Takele ’17 and Jamie Hobson ’17 also read a list of 10 demands recently issued by Ferguson Action, a group of organizers in Ferguson calling for the appointment of a special prosecutor for all deadly force cases and, more broadly, ending “over-policing and criminalization of poverty.”

From Cross Campus, roughly half the crowd marched down Elm Street to City Hall, blocking traffic as they chanted “Black lives matter!” and demanding justice in Ferguson, Mo., in New Haven and across the country. As they walked, many held their hands up in solidarity with the message of “Hands up, don’t shoot” that has become a rallying cry since Brown’s death.

“Darren Wilson do your time, being black is not a crime,” they repeated, referring to the police officer who killed Brown in August.

On the steps of City Hall, a series of speeches excoriated inequalities in the criminal justice system and called on students at Yale to engage in the world around them.

Protesters denounced the “Surge,” a police tactic recently adopted in New Haven that targets loitering, vandalism and other suspect activities.

“We demand that New Haven put an end to the surge, right here, right now,” Karleh Wilson ’16 told the crowd.

Speakers cautioned the crowd against treating Ferguson as unique, instead urging students and others to focus on the racism that exists in their own communities.

Christopher Taft, 48, a New Haven resident who is black, said he recently witnessed police conducting more than 10 stops in quick succession on Goffe Street, between Orchard and Webster Streets. All of those stopped, he said, were either black or Latino.

“I’ve been abused by the police, I’ve been beaten by the police, I’ve been tased by the police,” Taft said.

Norman Clement, a member of the national organization Act Now to Stop War and End Racism Coalition, urged students to organize to combat police brutality and racial profiling, which he said goes on unnoticed in New Haven. Clement noted that a grand jury decision in the case of Garner, a New York man who died in a chokehold as police arrested him for the sale of untaxed cigarettes in July, is expected shortly.

“We need to be prepared to hit the streets again,” Clement said on the steps of City Hall, megaphone in hand.

Lex Barlowe ’17, social justice chair of BSAY, said in an email that the rally was part of a national call by Ferguson Action for students to respond to the Michael Brown case. Similar walkouts were scheduled for more than 30 other cities across the country.

Barlowe said the aim was to “disrupt business as usual,” ensuring that the events in Ferguson did not simply fade into the background as students returned to campus. She added that BSAY plans to continue discussion within Yale’s black community in order to determine further action.

Jones said she was pleased with the high turnout. One goal, she said, was to show students who were passionate about the cause that they were not alone and to empower them to work together. A second goal was to put a human face on issues of racial violence, she said.

“For students who aren’t as sympathetic … the purpose was for them to see black and brown people that they know and love care about this issue and … see that it’s not removed and separate from them,” she said.

American Studies professor Laura Barraclough, whose father was a police officer, said all people are affected by police brutality.

“I witnessed firsthand how racism shaped the way [my father] saw things,” she said. “As a professor, I think it’s important to educate students on the history of violence and also resistance. Our job is to help and support the students who are organizing this.”  

The U.S. has a long, less than glorious history with racial violence, Stephen Pitti, master of Ezra Stiles College and professor of History and American Studies, said on Cross Campus.

“These events remind us that we still have a long way to go,” he said.

Joey Ye contributed reporting.


  • ShadrachSmith

    Mike Brown is the stupidest ’cause’ since Mumia Abu-Jamal. Darren Wilson, who served in Ferguson something less than three years, has no doubt saved more black lives than all the protesters put together. Do you want police free ghettos? Are you claiming the right to truth free campaign memes?

    The Obama/Axelrod political street theater production machine has selected Jacobin mobs to be the future face of Democrat politics. And you’re down with that?

    Obama is having meetings in the White House today to see how to keep the riots going. Perhaps – Violence in the name of racism is no sin – themed grade-school memorials for Mike Brown? Read about Sulla and Robespierre then get back to me. You are falling in line behind Al Sharpton’s leadership? For what purpose?

    The obvious goal of participating in such protests is resume building for advance work in Warren’s (the midwife of OWS) ’16 presidential campaign. Is there some other goal?

    • 1citizen

      “political street theater production machine” … “Jacobin mobs” … “Warren (the midwife of OWS)”–are you serious??? This reads like Colbert’s right-wing political parody. Thanks for the entertainment.

      • ShadrachSmith

        I meant exactly what I said. Start with Warren, are you unaware of her claims to framing the intellectual foundation of OWC?


        Daily Beast, 10.24.11, Samuel P. Jacobs,

        The Harvard professor has spooked the right. As she begins her high-profile Senate campaign against GOP star Scott Brown in Massachusetts, the consumer advocate tells Samuel P. Jacobs how she created ‘much of the intellectual foundation’ for the Occupy Wall Street movement.

        Threatening the enemy with street mobs is her gig, just like Sulla and Robespierre. Her rhetoric is pure wealth redistribution, debt relief, and the dole; just like Sulla and Robespierre. Who do you think this lady is?

    • johannesclimacus

      “Is there some other goal?”
      — Um, political change? Reformation of police tactics? Its not complicated, nor a conspiracy.

      • ShadrachSmith

        And street mobs that burn an kill, are legitimate tools in reaching your vision of a better world?

        You don’t see the Axelrod part of free-range Jacobin mobs providing the Democrat party with on demand, targeted, politically motivated destruction?

        This is simply street mob politics, which is not universally admired 🙂

        • johannesclimacus

          “This is simply street mob politics”
          The event in New Haven, at least, was an organized, peaceful protest. Done with police permission & escort. Is every group of assembled people a mob of scary arsonists?

          • ShadrachSmith

            Fair point, granted, absolutely, fair point for discussion. My post suggested that this was a training session for advance team personnel. The goal is to have participated in the legal requirements for staging an on demand, targeted protest supporting a random Democrat campaign meme. This was a training session, a run through, a permitting and media coordination exercise.

            Most of the crowd was just watching the street theater, but the cadre…I see a new generation of Axelrod’s in training…learning to produce political street theater as a career.

  • aaleli


  • Chris Cuomo Is A Fággot

    Wow only hundreds? I would’ve thought the Rain Man Cohort at Yale should be larger.

  • http://www.artspace.com/magazine/interviews_features/lists/the-10-worst-ways-to-die-in-a-hieronymous-bosch-painting-53872 Hieronymus Machine

    Yale appears as an island in a sea of murder:

    So many murders, so few by police:

  • 1citizen

    Well, these comments really confirm the ignorance of some of the Ivy-community. Pointing out rates of violence does not negate the reality of police brutality. Even the National Bar Association called out the BS of the non-indictment. http://us7.campaign-archive1.com/?u=b493e6c4d31beda32fdaf8e2d&id=73514e334b

    • td2016

      Quite right. Pointing out rates of violence does not negate the reality of police brutality.

      Pointing out rates of violence does negate the charge that police actions against, and imprisonments of, blacks is disproportionate to the rate at which they commit crimes, especially including violent crimes.

      In other words, pointing out rates of violence negates claims of discrimination against blacks in the criminal enforcement, deterrence and Justice systems.

      • Cincinnatus80011

        Get back to me on rates of crime when the Wall Street and political criminals who crashed the economy in 2008 are incarcerated, or when white people are arrested at the same rate as people of color for similar acts (like possession of small quantities of drugs) and sentenced just as harshly.

      • 1citizen

        Police BRUTALITY is NEVER a “proportionate” response to an unarmed civilian.

    • Nancy Morris

      The National Bar Association is the United States’ oldest and largest network of largely African American attorneys.

      • 1citizen


  • Guest

    90 minutes prior to the shooting, Officer Wilson was at the nearby Park Ridge
    apartments[, one of a cluster of low-income housing projects], responding to a call from a[n African-American] woman who told police a man threatened to shoot her. [Speaking about Park Ridge in 2010, then-mayor Brian Fletcher said: “It’s a strain on the police department because the bulk of our police calls are in this very eastern edge of the city where the apartments are.”]

    90 minutes prior to the shooting, according to Dorian Johnson’s testimony, Dorian told Mike Brown he “was going to get some rillos… He was like okay, well, I’ll match you. I guess he had his own weed, so he said he would match me one. Matching is, if you don’t know, is just someone I will roll the weed, he will roll the blunt, we both exchange blunts…it is just smoking together basically.”

    15 minutes prior to the shooting, Officer Wilson was at Northwinds Apartments, a different Section 8 housing project, for an “emergency involving a 2-year-old [African American] child who had trouble breathing” as well as reportedly running a fever; mother and baby were transported to the hospital.

    15 minutes prior to the shooting, Dorian Johnson and Mike Brown were acquiring cigarillos, apparently against the clerk’s wishes.

    Around noon and back on duty, Officer Wilson, in response to report of a “stealing,” radioed to his fellow officers, “”Do you guys need me?”

    At 12:02 pm, upon meeting Dorian Johnson and Mike Brown, Officer Wilson radioed “21. Put me on Canfield with two. And send me another car.”

    61 seconds later, Darren Wilson had become a pariah.

    Addendum: On November 24, a few days ahead of Thanksgiving, Louis Head, Mike Brown’s step-father, called repeatedly to gathered crowds, “Burn this b*tch* down!”

    In the hours that followed, “[T]wo police cruisers and at least 12 buildings were set on fire, and []hundreds of gunshots were fired.” 18 people were injured.

    Since July 30, eight black teens have been shot by police — nationwide
    Since July 30, St. Louis has been host to 66 homicides, with at least five in Ferguson.

    These are just facts, easily accessible via Google; not sure why facts are unacceptable to the censors.

    • Cincinnatus80011

      All this to justify the shooting of an unarmed teenager.

      • ShadrachSmith

        The Conservative Treehouse has the best analysis of the Grand Jury evidence I have found on the web. I give you analyzing Grand Jury transcripts is a weird hobby, but they do their hobby well.

        Have you ever heard the term Suicide by Cop?

      • Nancy Morris

        Yes, it’s shocking that all that effort has to made despite an unbiased grand jury explicitly finding no probable cause that any crime was committed.

      • jeburke

        He would not have been unarmed had he successfully siezed the officer’s gun.

    • johannesclimacus

      Here are some facts not easily accessible on Google, because police departments only publish this information if they choose to:
      – total number of people shot or killed annually by police
      – amount of DOD funds received by individual departments to purchase second-hand military equipment

  • Prg234

    Please find a better martyr. This is embarrassing.

    • johannesclimacus

      Ain’t about a martyr. It’s about police brutality and militarization, which are reaching third-world levels. That’s embarrassing.

      Its also embarrassing that in the 21st century people still have to be reminded that “Black Lives Matter.”

    • Javier Cienfuegos

      I’m sorry that Mike Brown is unacceptable to you. Would you prefer Tamir Rice, the 12 year old boy killed by police in Ohio? What about Aiyana Stanley-Jones, the 7 year old girl killed by police in Detroit? Do they work for you?

      • 100wattlightbulb

        Perhaps Zemir Begic, killed with a hammer?

      • ydnaccount123

        Brown is a lousy martyr because we don’t know, and can’t know, what actually happened. There is pretty good reason, though obviously not that great, to think that he attacked a cop who shot him in self defense. I support the overall idea behind the protests, but if people are going to so confidently vilify a particular person (who may or may not have done something wrong) and praise a particular person (who may or may not have done something wrong), then it becomes hard to support.

      • Prg234

        Yes. Thank you.

        Extremely bad form to elevate Mr Brown to sainthood, and to denigrate a police officer who was likely trying to protect himself from attack.

        • 1citizen

          Extremely bad form to conflate protest against a killing with adulation of the victim. Saying that someone should not be murdered is not the same thing as “elevating them to sainthood.” I don’t think you understand the point of these protests: to stop police brutality against unarmed citizens. Brown’s sainthood does not have any bearing on whether or not he should have been gunned down in that moment.

    • 1citizen

      a “better martyr”? Respectability politics has nothing to do with this. Obviously, to you, it is everything.

  • xx

    the horde of conservative commenters derailing every ydn article has so much time on their hands

    • 100wattlightbulb

      Spend yours studying …

  • phantomllama

    The YDN’s coverage of this has been remarkably sycophantic. 4 different columns all parroting the same far-left line; so-called ‘news’ pieces doing exactly the same.

    • 1citizen

      “far-left” my foot. I think you’re just upset that conservative opinion is now actually WAY to the right of those considered conservative in American history historically, The shining beacon of conservatism, Ronald Reagan included: http://www.quora.com/Would-Ronald-Reagan-not-be-conservative-enough-for-todays-Republican-party The teaparty took the Right out for a one-way ride to the deserted regions of white rage. Good luck trying to get the rest of the American populace to ever follow.

      • Mary Ann

        Actually, the great majority of polled Americans view the mainstream media in the United States as being far to the left of both the individual answering the poll and Americans generally. Obviously the YDN is not in that poll, but it’s obvious where it fits in.

  • SamuelRossLee

    I find it quite interesting that the majority of people who are protesting the protestors in these type of forums are doing so behind the protection of pseudonyms.

    Is this an indication that you are ashamed of your views and not willing to stand behind them publically?

    • aaleli

      I guess you haven’t gotten the memo. Anyone who strays off the PC progressive narrative is excoriated by their peers, the media, and whomever else blindly follows the meme. So yeah, until people are actually allowed to think for themselves and express those views, pseudonyms are well advised.

      • SamuelRossLee

        If you believe that you’re standing on truth, you should do so without hesitation or hiding. If you are right, your courage will be applauded, as will your humility if you discover that you are wrong and you admit that.

  • jeburke

    The “hands up” gesture is an obnoxious distortion of the truth designed to keep peddling a false narrative that stirs race hostility. Michael Brown attacked a police officer. He’d be alive today with an order to show up in court on a minor theft charge if he had complied. This incident doesn’t “speak to” any larger issue of historic or current racism.

    • Joy Darby

      I am constantly amazed that police officers, when they feel threatened by someone, appear unable to shoot their weapons at a person’s arms or legs to subdue them. This would certainly decrease the possibility of causing serious injury or death.

      • 1citizen

        precisely. More importantly, why are they not taught to “shoot to maim” or stop the person from moving forward rather than “shoot to kill”?

        • http://www.artspace.com/magazine/interviews_features/lists/the-10-worst-ways-to-die-in-a-hieronymous-bosch-painting-53872 Hieronymus Machine

          Officers are taught to “shoot to stop.”
          So-called “shooting to wound” (“intentional maiming”) is:
          1: Illegal (since, oh, ~A.D. 1150, King Stephen, Book II:16)
          2: Difficult (~20% target success w/handgun)
          3: A waste of precious time and ammo

          • 1citizen

            ah, yes, I admit I did not distinguish between shoot to maim and shoot to stop. Thanks for the clarification.

      • http://www.artspace.com/magazine/interviews_features/lists/the-10-worst-ways-to-die-in-a-hieronymous-bosch-painting-53872 Hieronymus Machine

        Normally I would go on about “training” and “center of mass” and the dangers of missing; however, in this case I will merely point out that, prior to being stopped, Mr. Brown was shot several times in the arm (as you suggest)–first in the police vehicle. According to testimony (I link to the LEFT-LEANING WaPo), all shots were sustained while facing the officer, NONE “subdued” him, and only the FINAL SHOTS, aka the killing shots, were to the head (at an angle consistent with Mr. Brown “charging” Officer Wilson).

        “The earlier wounds would not have been disabling (151:1) and would not have been disabling in combination, until the final wound to the top of the head (159:15). In the ME’s opinion, the first wound was the wound to the thumb, the last was the wound to the top of Brown’s head (197:7).” http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/11/28/the-physical-evidence-in-the-michael-brown-case-supported-the-officer/

        A more valid question might be why the officer did not have a taser, but he answers that question (not req’d; not enough units to go around; not comfortable; couldn’t have reached it anyway). But even that question is irrelevant: In retrospect, all participants could have made different choices that day, and whether or not one likes it, the officer’s actions were within acceptable parameters, aka justified (both by police policies & procedures and by definition via the grand jury’s decision). Mr. Brown’s were not, and while I wish he had not died, his actions–and his alone–are ultimately responsible for his demise.

  • Nancy Morris

    So now it starts all over again. A New York City grand jury on Wednesday declined to indict a police officer in the death of an unarmed African-American, Eric Garner, 43 years old, who died after being held in an apparent police chokehold on July 17 on Staten Island.

    President Obama said Mr. Garner’s death “speaks to the larger issues” of trust between police and civilians. He renewed a vow to repair police-community relations.

    Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department would launch an “independent, thorough, fair, and expeditious” civil rights probe into Mr. Garner’s death.

    • 1citizen

      “apparent?? police chokehold”? It was most obviously a chokehold, which was banned in 1993 by the NYPD. Eric Garner said “I can’t breathe” 11 times before he was murdered and the cop did not let up. Have you even watched the video?


      • Nancy Morris

        Yes, from the video it was an apparent chokehold. Of course, any competent person who has actual experience with video evidence knows that what seems even totally clear on a video is sometimes not correct.

        That’s why there are court and jury hearings and disinterested fact finding proceedings. It will apparently come as a surprise to you that such things are not conducted by The New York Law Journal.

        That such chokeholds have been banned may be a solid basis for a civil lawsuit by the deceased’s family against New York City and the officer involved and perhaps others. If you are reading the New York Law journal, you ought to have a better grasp of the difference between civil and criminal considerations.

        The police department ban on police use of a chokehold has far less significance with regard to the question of whether a criminal act was committed here. A police officer is not much more likely to have committed a crime by using this banned technique than, say, a store proprietor not subject to the ban who used a chokehold on a shoplifter.

        Civil actions are another matter entirely.

        • 1citizen

          I’m not a lawyer, so I accept your clarification. I am a person who reads widely and I can admit that I’m not an expert on everything. Are you a lawyer, or is this something you just spend a lot of time researching?

      • Mary Ann

        Actually, you seem to get more or less everything wrong. NYPD guidelines ban a FORM of chokehold. But even that technique is not illegal per se. In fact, it used to be part of police training before concerns about accidental death convinced the NYPD to prohibit its use. You assume that the chokehold Pantaleo applied is one that the guidelines ban (and illegal). This is hotly disputed by police advocates, who claim that what Pantaleo did was more in the nature of a headlock or a wrestler’s swift takedown. Obviously, we do not yet know what, if any, testimony the grand jury heard on this point. But one thing we do know now is that the video DOESN’T answer the question.

        Garner can be heard repeatedly telling the police he could not breathe. That undercuts the claim that a banned chokehold was used. If it had been, Garner would have had great difficulty speaking so audibly. This doesn’t mean there was not excessive force, but your claim that a banned chokehold was used is OBVIOUS (as you put it) from the video turns out to be completely incorrect.

        The medical examiner’s report does find that Garner’s death was a “homicide,” but also pointed out that factors other than the force applied to him seem to have been involved in causing Garner’s death, including his ill health, asthma and obesity. So at this point we don’t even know the full story of what killed Garner.

        Not that I expect mere contrary facts and the absence of necessary facts to get in the way of the thought processes of someone such as yourself.