Protesters gather in Cincinnati for the 'I Can't Breathe' moveme - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Protesters gather in Cincinnati for the 'I Can't Breathe' movement

Protesters took Piatt Park for the "I Can't Breathe" protest (Photo: FOX19/Ben Katko) Protesters took Piatt Park for the "I Can't Breathe" protest (Photo: FOX19/Ben Katko)
(FOX19) (FOX19)
A group putting the rally together posted this flyer for Thursday's event (Photo: A group putting the rally together posted this flyer for Thursday's event (Photo:

A protest was held Thursday in Cincinnati for Eric Garner, the man who died in an alleged choked by a New York City officer in July.

The grand jury decided this week to not to indict the New York City officer, which has sparked protests around the nation.

About 100 people protested at Piatt Park downtown demanding justice in headline-grabbing deaths involving police officers and the use of force.

On July 17, Garner was about to be arrested in Staten Island, NY for illegally selling loose cigarettes. But something wrong and the incident was caught on tape by a bystander.

In the video, you can hear Garner say "I can't breathe, I can't breathe."

At one point, the protest left the park and headed against traffic down Vine Street to Fountain Square for a few minutes of a demonstration before making its way back to the park.

"It's a move for change. It's anti-bad police that want to kill black and brown men. That's what it is. But, it's for change. We need to have change,” said protester Mary Myers of Cincinnati.

"We gotta know that black lives matter! Black men matter. Black boys matter,” said Myers.

Crowds could be heard chanting some of Garner's final words of, “I can't breathe,” which was captured on video during the incident on a New York City street. The officer was cleared in the case.

"There's a place for police in our society. But they need to be protecting the people, not putting their lives in jeopardy,” said Aaron Roco, who helped organize the protest.

The crowds took to the streets shouting their message of, “No justice, no peace!”

"Clearly this is just a microcosm of a major problem in our country. We've seen too many incidents of this nature,” said Cecil Thomas, a former Cincinnati city council member.

It's a problem Thomas, an ex-Cincinnati council member and former cop, plans to take to Columbus as he assumes his role as a state senator next month.

"How do we build that relationship throughout the country between citizens and police, so that we will look at each other as partners out there in the community, as opposed to 'us against them,'” asked Thomas.

A short-lived march a few blocks from Piatt Park to Fountain Square and then back again is a much different scene than what the city saw last week as protestors halted traffic on I-75, leading to several arrests.

"There were no arrests. There was no violence. There was no damage. There were no threats. Just a little bit of marching in the street,” said Capt. Michael Neville of the Cincinnati Police Department

This all comes on the heels of a rally in Cincinnati last week following a grand jury's decision not to indict a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer in the death of unarmed teen Michael Brown.

Eight people were arrested during that protest, one that began peacefully at the federal courthouse Downtown but resulted in chaos when they walked onto Interstate 75 at Ezzard Charles Drive in the West End. 

They were charged with ignoring Cincinnati police orders not to go onto the highway and created a life-or-death emergency situation that forced officers to shut down both sides of the expressway at the end of evening rush hour traffic.

No one was hurt.

Police leaders said they were pleased with how officers responded to the incident, and the agency would be prepared if other rallies are held.

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