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Hundreds protest California police shooting decision

May 10, 1999
Web posted at: 9:26 p.m. EDT (0126 GMT)

RIVERSIDE, California (CNN) -- More than 1,000 demonstrators on Monday protested a district attorney's decision last week not to file criminal charges against four police officers involved in the shooting death of a 19-year-old African-American woman in Southern California.

Police arrested some of the protesters, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, Dr. Martin Luther King III, comedian Dick Gregory and actress Kim Fields, after they blocked the steps to the Riverside Police Department.

Carrying signs reading "Stop Police Brutality," "Justifiable Homicide? No Murder" and "Tyisha Miller -- Treated Like A Criminal Because She Was Black," protesters began the rally outside Riverside City Hall.

Organizers of the protest called for peaceful demonstrations as they continued to the district attorney's office and then on to the Riverside Police Department.

"We're not here to riot or to disrupt. We're here to demonstrate and to protest," the Rev. Ron Gibson told the crowd.

On December 28, 1998, police received a 911 call from Tyisha Miller's cousin, who said Miller was unconscious in her car with a handgun in her lap.

According to their report, the officers arrived and tried to retrieve the gun, then opened fire when she allegedly reached for the weapon.

They fired 23 shots, 12 of which hit Miller.

"How do you justify shooting a sick, unconscious person in the back of the head?" Sharpton said at City Hall.

The shooting sparked national protests by civil rights organizations who called the shooting racially motivated. Miller was black; the four officers are white.

Last week, Riverside District Attorney Grover Trask said there was not enough evidence to file criminal charges against the officers. However, federal investigators are continuing to look at the case.

Correspondent Greg LaMotte contributed to this report.



RELATED STORIES:
Officers won't face charges in shooting of black woman
May 6, 1999
Marchers want feds to police New York cops
April 15, 1999
Justice Department to tackle police brutality charges
March 26, 1999

RELATED SITES:
Riverside PD
Amnesty International: Police Brutality and Excessive Force in the New York City Police Department
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