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Utahns protest grand jury’s decision not to indict New York cop in man’s death

Posted at 5:36 PM, Dec 04, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-04 23:46:01-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Protests and rallies took place once again all across the country, and many gathered at the Salt Lake City federal building to voice their dissatisfaction with Wednesday’s grand jury decision out of New York relating to the death of Eric Garner.

Local protests started at about noon Thursday when students stood and walked out of their classes to march and speak out against what they call police brutality and racism.

“We will not accept the verdict against Eric Garner, and I don’t mean the verdict against the killer cop who killed him. I mean this was a verdict against a black man," said Gregory Lucero with the group Utah Against Police Brutality.

A couple dozen students walked out of classrooms on both the University of Utah and Westminster College campuses Thursday. The rallies come after word spread of a grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer in the chokehold death of Staten Island man Eric Garner.

“Today it’s a black thing, it’s an Eric Garner thing,” Lucero said. “It’s a ridiculous decision made by the grand jury not to indict him.”

Protestors shouted several chants, but “I can’t breathe" was most commonly used, a statement Garner made repeatedly as several officers apprehended him.

“I’m here because I really think black lives matter, and I’m sick of living in a world where I’m given a privilege that so many of my brothers and sisters don’t have, and I just want to live in a world where I’m not given an unfair advantage over so many other people," said Alice Eugh, who is a junior at Westminster College.

Some employees from inside the federal building could be seen watching from their windows, and security kept a close eye on the protestors.

“It makes me happy that other people think the same thing, but I think more people should be mad,” Eugh said. “A lot of people around the country are showing their anger, and I think New York and Ferguson and Chicago and Seattle are mad, but I think there's hesitancy in Salt Lake and it’s because we are a conservative state, so I hope people recognize the urgency and get a little madder.”

No one was taken into custody during Thursday’s protest. The rally lasted about 3 hours.