A group of about 20 students drew angry reactions as they protested and participated in a die-in before Wednesday night’s basketball match-up between the Maryland Terrapins and Virginia Cavaliers.
The students say they felt compelled to protest after a grand jury in New York decided not to indict a police officer who choked African-American male Eric Garner.
Garner died from his injury and it was ruled as a homicide by the New York medical examiner’s office. The grand jury’s decision sparked protests around the country, including the University of Maryland, after it was announced.
As fans entered the arena, many could be heard reacting to the protesters’ chants by laughing or shouting in disagreement. One fan in particular riled up the protesters after he pointed at a student with his fingers in a gun-like gesture as the group chanted “hands up, don’t shoot.”
University of Maryland journalism student Jasmine Whittington captured the following video of the incident. The gesture occurs at the 3 second mark.
“He was screaming back at us so I went up the stairs with my sign with him but I wasn’t saying anything. It wasn’t verbal harassment or anything. He started laughing and he basically shot me in the head with his fingers,” said sophomore Tyler Barton.
Some reacted to his stance positively and were happy to see Long state his opinion through the picture.
Others were not as supportive and don’t believe that athletes should weigh in on political issues.
As of early Thursday morning, the tweets have been retweeted by ESPN’s Jim Trotter, Sporting News’ David Steele, Sports Illustrated’s Robert Klemko, Washington Post’s Daniel Steinberg and NFL running back Maurice Jones-Drew.
Here are some more pictures from tonight’s protest.