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IU Students, Indianapolis Residents Protest Police Brutality

students protesting

Dozens of Indiana University students and hundreds of Indianapolis residents joined in protests across the nation Thursday evening, protesting recent events they say are indicators of police brutality.

The most recent case involved a New York police officer who a grand jury decided not to indict after a man the officer put in a choke hold died. The incident was caught on camera.

In an act of solidarity, IU students performed a "die-in" where they lay down on the floor in Indiana Memorial Union, their positions drawing reminders of Eric Garner, the man who was killed in New York, and Michael Brown, who was killed in Ferguson, Missouri.

The Black Student Organization planned the event and had one message they reiterated throughout the night: Black lives matter.

“All of our issues here in America, whether it’s poverty, whether it’s the racial line, whether it’s anything, we don’t feel safe around each other. We need to create safe spaces with each other,” IU student Darrian Tanner said.

The protestors held a moment of silence for Garner. Activist and one of the event's speakers Rob Sherrell mentioned the unrest in Ferguson and addressed the more recent death of 12-year old Tamir Rice, who was shot by a Cleveland police officer last month.

Nine students at the protest just got back from Ferguson a few days ago and were inspired to plan a march at IU.

“The things we saw there changed us.” Sherrell said. “This is a human problem, and it’s up to us to solve it.”

Marchers chanted Garner’s last words, “I can’t breathe”, and “Hands up, don’t shoot” among other things as they walked to the IMU.

Their shouts turned to silence as they laid on the floor for a “die-in." They lied motionless for four minutes, to symbolize the number of hours Michael Brown laid in the street.

An open forum discussion for IU students and faculty in Morrison Hall soon followed, and students recounted their own experiences with various forms of injustice in their own lives. They also brainstormed ways to ignite collaboration in the community, and began the hashtag #IUAgainstInjustice as a way to bring people together.

Chief of Diversity for the Indiana University Student Association of Multicultural Affairs and IU senior Noelle Gibson says the enthusiasm demonstrated will help prompt change, but it will not be easy.

“We must go and we must fight, but there’s ways of fighting without violence, like this peaceful rally today,” Chief of Diversity for the Indiana University Student Association of Multicultural Affairs Noelle Gibson said.

Indianapolis Protests Lead To Two Arrests

The Indianapolis protest started on Monument Circle, where demonstrators held signs that read "I Know My Rights" and #ICantBreathe, a hashtag being used on Twitter to reference the New York incident.

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Two people were arrested in Indianapolis after protestors started blocking the streets.

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The protestors then moved into the Safer Indy forum being hosted by the Indy Star.

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In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered a retraining of the city's police force Thursday in response to the grand jury's decision.

The New York Times reports the de Blasio administration did not detail what the training would entail.

Protests and vigils were also held last week after a grand jury failed to indict the Ferguson police officer who killed Michael Brown.

Gretchen Frazee contributed to this report.

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