By Jim Melwert
CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — Demonstrations continued today in the Delaware Valley and elsewhere around the country after grand juries declined to bring indictments of police officers in the deaths of Eric Garner (in Staten Island, NYC) and Michael Brown (in Ferguson, Mo.) at the hands of police.
About 75 people, organized by a group that calls itself “Shut It Down,” were demonstrating in the streets of center city Philadelphia, creating a traffic jam at Broad and Race Streets that stretched for blocks. The group started its march at Cecil B. Moore Avenue in North Philadelphia and said it would end at the art museum.
In Camden, a “die-in” was held in front of the courthouse.
“This is not any kind of referendum on the Camden Police Department,” the Rev. Heyward Wiggins, pastor of Camden Bible Tabernacle, told the crowd before they laid down on the ground for 4½ minutes, representing the 4½ hours that Michael Brown’s body was on the ground in Ferguson before it was covered up. “We would hopefully like to have some dialogue around race in the city to prevent something like this happening in the future.”
He said residents would like a dialogue with law enforcement and prosecutors, adding that the grand jury system needs some tweaking.
“The fact remains that these things continue to happen,” he said. “These highlighted cases are just a few cases that have happened. Some cases have never been lifted up for the public.”
He says these demonstrations will continue as long as it takes to see change.
“It’s not happening with every officer in the country, so where it is happening we need to address that,” noted the Rev. Edward Livingston, executive director of Camden Churches Organized for People.
KYW Newsradio’s Kim Glovas and Pat Loeb contributed to this report.