Ithaca, N.Y. — More than 100 people are gathered outside the Tompkins County Courthouse early Tuesday evening for a candlelight vigil to honor the life of Michael Brown.
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Speakers have taken turns decrying police violence and criticizing how law enforcement handled the case. Most attendees held lit candles; others held up banners ranging from “WHITE FEAR KKKILLS” to “Black Lives Matter.”
“Legal scholars have criticized the process. If the prosecutor had wanted an indictment, he could have gotten one,” said Ken Clarke, of the Cornell United Religious Work.
“The prosecutor sent a message that a black life is not worth the value of a white life. That black men can be slain unarmed and policemen who commit acts of murder can go free. But I think here tonight we’re sending a different message. We are saying that black lives matter, and in so saying we’re saying that all lives matter.”
Ellen Grady, another attendee of the rally, highlighted the Shawn Greenwood case from Ithaca and said Greenwood’s sister remains traumatized by what happened.
A police car drove by sporadically outside the North Tioga Street courthouse.
“We’ve been here before. We’ve been here on these steps,” said James Ricks, citing a controversial August incident with two teens and the Ithaca Police Department.
Ricks said that nobody should be surprised by the grand jury verdict.
“Except for the few people here we’re seriously outnumbered,” he said.
We’ll be posting updates later.