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Detroiters somber at news of no Ferguson indictment

Oralandar Brand-Williamsand Mark HicksThe Detroit News

Detroit — A grand jury decision not to indict an officer who shot and killed an unarmed Ferguson, Missouri, teen did not surprise Manan Desai, who joined a vigil Monday night in Detroit.

Desai feared the Ferguson case was part of a trend — pointing to the alleged police slaying of a 12-year-old in Ohio last weekend.

“It just seems like there are so many instances like this that show a similar problem in the country in terms of police violence,” he said.

Others who gathered Monday night at a federal courthouse downtown soberly faced news that there would be no indictment against the officer.

They vowed to peacefully protest and seek justice for Michael Brown, the African-American teen slain Aug. 9 by Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson, who is white.

The Rev. Charles Williams II, Michigan regional president for the National Action Network, said as a result of the news Monday night, the group planned to protest nationwide Tuesday — including at noon again outside the Detroit federal courthouse.

They’ve called on President Obama and the U.S. attorney general to seek the Department of Justice’s involvement, he said. “We expect that the local prosecutors don’t give us justice.”

About 15 people clasped hands and prayed in the cold wind outside the federal courthouse Monday night during the vigil that coincided with similar events across the country. Some wore black hooded sweatshirts and chanted “No justice, no peace.”

Williams vowed that he and other “beacons of light” would continue working to address victims of police brutality.

“We will continue the fight,” he said. “We will not stop until justice is given.”

Williams has been to Ferguson for several protests and met with the parents of Brown.

Activists with the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice, the Moratorium NOW! Coalition and other groups also plan to gather for a rally Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. in Detroit’s Hart Plaza.

“Let us reflect and plan to counter this new wave of racist violence by taking to the streets demanding justice and the end to police terrorism,” organizers said in an email Monday night.

Like other authorities across the country, Detroit police were preparing to deal with the reaction after the decision.

Detroit police Sgt. Michael Woody said the department worked with organizers of several events planned across the city Monday in conjunction with the decision, but no major issues were reported by 11 p.m.

He said there were no immediate plans for additional officers or monitoring Tuesday and that the department supports citizens’ right to protest.