Ferguson protesters arrested near Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade [UPDATED]

By LOUIS FLORES

Police reform activists based in New York City organized a protest to coïncide with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, clashing with the New York Police Department in Midtown Manhattan, social media posts on Twitter indicated.

Protesters appeared to have gathered outside the main reference branch of the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, from which protesters began a march, at which point NYPD confronted the protesters, leading to skirmishes and arrests.  

At one point, protesters chanted, "Justice for Mike Brown.  If we don't get it, shut it down."

The protesters are upset over unaddressed problems with brutality and homicide committed by increasingly militarised police forces, particularly after a grand jury in St. Louis County, Missouri,  refused to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson over the homicide of an unarmed teenager, Michael Brown.

At the beginning of today's protests, the size of the group of activists was estimated to be 100 by The New York Post

Protestors attacked at #ThanksgivingDayParade #stoptheparade THREE ARRESTS! #handsup #dontshoot #mikebrown

A video posted by Gucci Mao (@jamnopeanut) on

NYPD Commissioner William Bratton had threatened to arrest activists if they attempted to disrupt the parade.  “We will not tolerate, under any circumstances, any effort to disrupt this parade,” Commissioner Bratton said Thursday morning, according to The New York Post.

A video posted to YouTube purported to show a man, who identified himself as Matthew Martinez, being arrested.  Another video showed another man being arrested.

A report published last week by The Associated Press showed that police officers, who shoot citizens, are generally not prosecuted

Protesters and their supporters were using the Twitter hashtag #stoptheparade, aiming to get messaging about the need for police reform into the parade reports by the major television networks broadcasting the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, a difficult goal, given how networks protect expensive holiday productions for their advertisers.  However, reports of the Thanksgiving Day parade protests have already appeared in The New York Post, DNAinfo New York, and in Gothamist.

The protests that have followed the disappointing grand jury decision in the Ferguson case have found passionate allies in New York City, where police reform activists await the outcome of a Staten Island grand jury decision in their review of the police chokehold homicide of an unarmed man, Eric Garner, by NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo.  The deaths of Mr. Brown in Ferguson and Mr. Garner on Staten Island took place in broad daylight.  Hours before the Ferguson grand jury decision was announced, police reform activists in New York renewed their calls for the resignation of Commissioner Bratton and for an end to his discriminatory "Broken Windows" theory of policing.  Other activists in New York are calling for the appointment of an independent commission with subpoena power to investigate corruption at the NYPD, including at its do-nothing Internal Affairs Bureau.