A day of horror. A night of protests and vigils; anger and sorrow.

7-9-2016 12-34-23 PM`Protests took place in cities across the country on Friday to condemn police brutality. In Atlanta, some demonstrators blocked a highway and in Phoenix police used tear gas and pepper spray to break up a protest.

People in Dallas gathered outside of the police headquarters to remember the five officers killed in an ambush. Vigils and protests, small and large, restrained in some places, rowdy in others, swept across the nation overnight as one of the worst weeks of racially charged violence in recent memory ticked down to a merciful end.

In most respects, the protests in some 18 cities were not unlike the rallies that have been going on and off since the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., almost two years ago. Demonstrators blocked highways and held aloft Black Lives Matters banners. In Minneapolis, they stood in silence.

In others, however, there was a difference — anger mixed with sober reflection over the slayings of five police officers Thursday night during a Black Lives Matter rally in Dallas by a man identified as Micah X. Johnson.

Dallas shooting updates

News and analysis on the deadliest day for police since 9/11.

As about 300 marched in New York City, NBC New York reported, a protest leader urged marchers to respect police officers patrolling the parade.

“Our condolences go out to those people,” protester Anthony Robeldo told the news station. “The same way we lost family members, they lost family members.”

Outside the White House, Jennifer Jones, a 20-year-old African American college student from Southeast Washington, said when it comes to Dallas, the wrong steps were taken.

“I feel like we as a people should not go out and kill off police officers or cops who are killing off our people, because then we’re becoming them,” said Jones, who just finished her sophomore year at Davidson College in North Carolina. “I don’t want to become the oppressor, I don’t want to become the enemy, I don’t want to become the murderer.”

“I want to be the person that can stand up and talk and fight for the right thing to happen,” she added.

Among those marching in Baltimore was resident Tay Parker, 32, who said the week’s violence hit her especially hard. Parker, who is black, said she worries about her three brothers being racially profiled, and now fears for the safety of her girlfriend, a Maryland Transit Administration police officer.

“She’s judged for being in that uniform the same way people are judged for the color of their skin,” Parker said. After five officers were fatally struck by sniper fire at a rally protesting violence by police, the country comes together.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, the scenes before and after Dallas were striking. On Thursday night, more than 2,000 protesters raced up an on-ramp and jumped in front of oncoming traffic to shut down 10 lanes of Interstate 880, one of California’s busiest highways.

On Friday night, Oakland was quiet and across the bay, a protest in front of San Francisco’s city hall was somber.

“More than anything else, remain peaceful,” said Lawrence Shine, of the Bayard Rustin LGBT Coalition, to the crowd estimated at 1,000, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. “Violence in response to violence will beget more violence. Our anger must be controlled and strategic.”

Dallas, still in shock, simply mourned amid attempts to absorb a larger lesson. The Rev. Rudy Garcia of the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe spoke at a vigil that drew about 100 people Friday evening. The city will heal he said. But it must “first diagnose the problem.” He called on parishioners to embrace and accept one another, the Associated Press reported, adding that there is still “a long way to go.” Parishioners lit candles and placed notes with messages on a wooden cross outside the church. One read: “We are one. #DallasStrong.”

Demonstrations across the nation

Protests and vigils filled streets from Washington to San Francisco, and Omaha to Little Rock. In some places, police stood quietly in the background. In others, they wound up in riot gear as protesters faced them down, toe to toe.

In Phoenix, police with shields pushed back against a crowd and ultimately deployed pepper spray and fired beanbags to prevent a Black Lives Matter rally from blocking ramps to I-10. Rocks were hurled at police, according to the Arizona Republic. By midnight, a group that started with about 300 people about 8 p.m. local time had dwindled to about 50 or 60. Three arrests were reported in Phoenix.

In Rochester, N.Y., a protest that police said had swelled to almost 400 ended with 40 arrests late Friday, including two television reporters who said they were handcuffed and detained for leaving a sidewalk area to report on the event.

At a news conference early today, Rochester Police Chief Michael Ciminelli defended the decision to move in and arrest protesters. Ciminelli had told the AP before the protest began that he preferred not to have the rally in the city a day after five officers were killed in Dallas, and he said it quickly became apparent that people were “intent upon being arrested to make their point.”

Ciminelli said by late Friday that he determined the protest had become a danger to public safety with nearly all of the city’s police resources, along with dozens of officers from across the region, deployed to control a crowd that had shut down a major downtown intersection.


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