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Black congressional staffers are staging a walkout to protest police abuse

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  1. A group of black congressional staffers plan to leave their offices Thursday afternoon to demonstrate against the grand jury decisions not to indict the police officers who killed Eric Garner and Michael Brown, the Daily Beast reports.
  2. At 3:30 pm on what's expected to be one of Congress' busiest days of the year, they'll gather on the U.S. Capitol steps.
  3. Senate Chaplain Dr. Barry Black is slated to lead protestors in a prayer for peace and for the families of the unarmed black men.
  4. Organizations behind the protest include the Congressional Black Associates, Senate Black Legislative Staff Caucus, the Brooke-Revels Society, the Congressional African Staff Association, and the African American Women on the Hill Network.

Ongoing demonstrations against police bias

Recent demonstrations surrounding police use of force against unarmed black men began after 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed by Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson in August, and intensified in that city and around the nation after a grand jury's November 24 decision not to issue an indictment in the case.

Protests continued across the nation after the December 3 announcement that the New York City police officer involved Eric Garner's chokehold death would walk free.

In nightly gatherings in major cities, demonstrators have expressed dismay over the decisions in these two cases and larger issues of racially biased policing. College students have walked out of classes and professional athletes have written "I can't breathe" — Eric Garner's last words — on their clothing. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus expressed solidarity by making the "hands up, don't shoot" gesture associated with Ferguson protests on the floor of the House of Representatives.

"Black staffers on Capitol Hill wanted to do something in support of ongoing national and global protests against police aggression," an organizer of Thursday's walkout told the Daily Beast.

Further reading

Most white Americans want Eric Garner's killer indicted - but not Michael Brown's

Why Darren Wilson wasn't charged for killing Michael Brown

How we'd cover Ferguson if it happened in another country

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