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Nation Reacts to Grand Jury Decision in Michael Brown Shooting

Protests erupted nationwide after a grand jury decided not to indict a white Missouri police officer in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen.
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Protests erupted nationwide late Monday after a grand jury decided not to indict a white Missouri police officer in the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Micahel Brown. Thousands of people took to the streets from New York to Los Angeles and Chicago to Seattle, with some demonstrations sparking violent clashes between protesters and police.

In New York, more than 1,000 demonstrators marched through lower Manhattan and Times Square, with several hundred later taking to the Triborough Bridge. Earlier, the family of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man killed by a police chokehold earlier this year, joined the Rev. Al Sharpton at a speech in Harlem lamenting the grand jury's decision, according to The Associated Press.

While in Oakland, California, 500 protesters ran up a highway on-ramp and stopped traffic. Several arrests had been made on the highway, as well as one for the police car vandalism, and fireworks had been reported in the area, Oakland officials said. A bank window was also broken during the protests.

Police were placed on a citywide tactical alert in anticipation of the unrest in Los Angeles. And by 11 p.m. local time (2 a.m. Tuesday) a crowd of more than 300 had swelled at the University of Southern California before marching toward the city, according to the L.A. Times. The newspaper reported that some of the demonstrators threw rocks and bottles at police.

Elsewhere in the city police prevented protesters from getting onto a highway, and about 100 people gathered in the city's Leimert Park, and a group of religious leaders held a small news conference demanding changes in police policies, according to the AP.

In Seattle, a few hundred people marched in the city's downtown, with several at one point falling to the ground in a "die-in," The Seattle Times reported. Police said the protests later turned violent, with demonstrators throwing various objects — fireworks, canned food and rocks — as well as several of them getting onto local roads and snarling traffic. Officers tried to disperse a crowd with "pepper/noise devices," police said.

In Philadelphia, several hundred people walked through the city streets, while in the nation's capital, about 500 people gathered in front of the White House, with some crying, "Hands Up! Don't Shoot!" About 40 demonstrators lay down in front of the historic Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, according to the local City News Service.

Many protesters also rallied in Boston, local media reported, as well as in Chicago, where demonstrators used a sledgehammer to break into a meat market and then looted the shop, according to the NBC affiliate.

Chris Manor, with Utah Against Police Brutality, helped organize an event in Salt Lake City that attracted about 35 people, the AP reported. "There are things that have affected us locally, but at the same time, it's important to show solidarity with people in other cities who are facing the very same thing that we're facing," Manor told the news agency.

The AP said at least a dozen protesters gathered in Cleveland, Ohio, where 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot dead by police over the weekend, and in Denver around 100 people blocked traffic and held signs reading: "Your 'peace' is deadly," and: "This is the new Jim Crow."

Brown's parents called for peaceful demonstrations after the announcement. Their son's death has reignited discussions about race and excessive force used by police.

"We respectfully ask that you please keep your protests peaceful. Answering violence with violence is not the appropriate reaction. Let's not just make noise, let's make a difference," they said in a statement.

Rep. Marcia L. Fudge, D-Ohio, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, called the decision a "miscarriage of justice" and a "slap in the face to Americans nationwide who continue to hope and believe that justice will prevail."

"This decision seems to underscore an unwritten rule that black lives hold no value; that you may kill black men in this country without consequences or repercussions," she said in a statement.

The Associated Press and Alexander Smith and Katie Wall of NBC News contributed to this report.