About 100 people rallied in front of Miami-Dade’s criminal courthouse Tuesday night in a boisterous but peaceful Ferguson rally marred only by the arrest of two young men for trespassing.
The Miami event was one of many nationwide in response to the decision by a Missouri grand jury not to indict the police officer who fatally shot teenager Michael Brown.
“Enough is enough,” activists yelled as they marched around the Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building, past the state attorney’s office and the county jail. “No justice, no peace!”
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Groups of uniformed Miami-Dade and Miami officers mostly kept a low profile, milling on the courthouse steps past yellow police tape. At the north entrance, the protesters grew somewhat more animated after a few officers donned riot shields and batons.
Near the main entrance on the south side of the building, two young men dressed in black charged onto the steps at officers, who swiftly took them down and handcuffed them. The two men — Phillip Brian Agnew, 29, of Hialeah and Shaw Jeremy Roberts, 25, of Pompano Beach —were charged with failure to obey a lawful order.
“Hands up! Don’t shoot,” the crowd hollered, echoing a familiar refrain from protesters in Ferguson.
Organizers from groups such as the Dream Defenders and Power U chose the criminal justice center to protest what they contend is a similar pattern of police misconduct in South Florida stretching back decades.
Some pointed to the death of graffiti artist Israel Hernandez, who died after being shot by a Taser in Miami Beach, while others pointed to the fatal beating of Arthur McDuffie that sparked riots here in 1980.
“What’s happening here in Ferguson is happening in Miami,” said Yeshimobet Milner, 24, of the activist group Power U.
State Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, also was on hand. “At the end of the day, an 18-year-old young African-American male, heavyset, was me 19 years ago,” he said. “It stings for me because it’s very personal.”
Miami Herald Staff Writer Carol Marbin Miller contributed to this report.