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A group of protestors condemning the controversial police killings of two African Americans took part in a "die-in" at the iconic Fifth Avenue Apple Store in New York City Friday night, crowding the site and bringing retail operations to a grinding halt.
An on-scene report from USA Today said "dozens" were involved in the non-violent die-in protest, which saw Apple Store employees — still wearing (RED) t-shirts symbolizing Apple's support in the global fight against AIDS — milling around, taking pictures as activists took over.
Some protestors held signs that read "I can't breathe" in reference to Eric Garner, a black New York City resident who died in July after an altercation with police that saw Staten Island officer Daniel Pantaleo apply what some claim to be an illegal chokehold during the arrest. In a video of the incident, shot by a bystander carrying a cellphone, Garner can be heard repeatedly saying, "I can't breathe."
A protestor from Brooklyn named Zandir Santos said the 5th Ave. Apple Store, along with a nearby Macy's location, was selected as a message to corporate America.
"The CEO of Apple knows we shut his store down — that means capitalist America is going to take us seriously," Santos said. "We are going to shake up your business and we want to hit you where it hurts."
Others in the Apple Store lay down on the ground to symbolize the death of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African American man who was fatally shot during a run-in with Ferguson, Mo. police officer Darren Wilson.
The protests in New York are in part spillover from roving demonstrations held in Ferguson both after Brown's death and a subsequent grand jury decision that found no cause to indict Wilson. A more recent decision by a grand jury investigating the Garner case found similarly, touching off a conflagration of outrage against what protestors believe is racial profiling as both police officers were white.
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