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Protesters of Police Shootings on East, West Coasts Are Invoking Michael Brown


As protesters march in Ferguson, Mo., a neighborhood in Los Angeles is hoping that the nation’s eyes will turn westward. The Los Angeles Times reports:

Dozens of community members and activists marched in South Los Angeles on Thursday night demanding answers and justice for the unarmed mentally ill man fatally shot by LAPD officers Monday in the Florence area. . . .

Ezell Ford, a 25-year-old African American man, was shot and killed by two LAPD officers. Officials say he had tackled one of them and attempted to go for the officer’s gun.  

Some witnesses, however, say they did not see any struggle between the men and accuse the officers of shooting Ford in cold blood.  

The similarities between Ford’s case and Brown’s — young, black, unarmed victims; the use of lethal force by law enforcement; conflicting eyewitness reports — have not gone unremarked upon. Like protesters in Ferguson, demonstrator’s in L.A.’s Florence community have been chanting “No justice, no peace” (a phrase familiar from marches that followed the death of Trayvon Martin) and “Hands up, don’t shoot” (common among protesters in Ferguson).

In Miami, Fla., about 100 protesters marched to the James Lawrence King Federal Justice Building on Thursday to protest the stun-gun death of Israel Hernandez-Llach, a tattoo artist who was killed approximately one year ago by a Miami Beach police officer.

The protesters, upset that the investigation into Hernandez-Llach’s death remains open, noted their sympathy with fellow demonstrators in Ferguson. According to the Miami Herald:

“We’re here in solidarity with Mike Brown’s family and the citizens of Ferguson,” said Juan Cuba, one of the speakers. “This issue speaks to basic humanity. If you can get killed just for walking down the street in your neighborhood, that is wrong.”

Eight protesters were arrested shortly after 6 p.m. ET when they refused to vacate the federal building after its doors were locked.

The protest was organized by the Dream Defenders, which gained recognition as a driving force in the Trayvon Martin protests.