Police Commissioner Bill Bratton was splattered with fake blood at a Times Square protest that erupted Monday night following word that a Missouri cop was not charged in the shooting death of Michael Brown.
Bratton was standing in the Crossroads of the World as several hundred demonstrators rallied against the grand jury decision in Ferguson, Mo., when a red liquid splattered over his face and business suit — making him look like a victim of a violent crime.
Bratton needed a tissue and dry cleaner but was not harmed. A male protester was immediately arrested and hauled off in handcuffs — but not before the police radio erupted with reports of a cop in trouble. The man’s name was not released.
The protests began in Union Square prior to the St. Louis County prosecutor announcing the grand jury decision, and continued into the early hours of Tuesday, when hundreds poured across the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Triborough Bridges, blocking traffic in a demonstration of civic disobedience.
Before the announcement that Officer Darren Wilson would not be charged, more than 1,000 people gathered in Union Square. Taking a cue from angry Ferguson, Mo., residents, they began chanting “Hands up! Don’t shoot!”
Police set up barricades to keep them penned in, but the crowd knocked them down. Soon they were marching down University Place, tailed by police officers on the ground and by an NYPD chopper in the air.
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“I’m marching for the lives that we have lost, for Mike Brown, for Amadou Diallo, because all lives matter,” said Synead Nichols, 23, of Harlem. “All lives matter, not just black lives, but every life.” Diallo was an innocent West African peddler killed by NYPD cops in 1999.
Nicholas Balsirow carried a sign that read “unarmed civilian.”
“I feel like I don’t know what to do right now,” said Balsirow, 20, of Brooklyn. “The fact that there’s going to be a spot at the Brown table at this Thanksgiving is something I can’t imagine.”
The protesters suddenly changed direction and started marching north on Sixth and Seventh Aves., blocking traffic.
“I’m out here to let my daughters know that their dad stood up for the cause,” said Antonio Vaughan, 35, of East New York, as he and others neared Times Square. “I’m angry,” he added. “In the back of my mind, I knew it was going to happen but you hope that the scales of justice will finally be balanced.”
It was one of many large but generally peaceful protests across the nation, including rallies in Oakland, Calif. — where a freeway was blocked — and Los Angeles, Chicago and Seattle.
Monday night in New York, a group of about 800 people marched from Times Square south on Seventh Ave. Some wound up marching across the Brooklyn Bridge about midnight, others the Manhattan Bridge.
Another group of demonstrators, numbering in the hundreds, marched up Columbus Ave. from Times Square and across 125th St. onto the Triborough Bridge. Cops blocked them from crossing into the Bronx, and a sit-in followed.
NYPD officials could not say how many demonstrators were arrested or given summonses citywide.