The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Medical students stage #WhiteCoats4BlackLives protests

Students from the University of Minnesota’s Medical School and School of Public Health staged a die-in Wednesday. (Blair Emerson/Minnesota Daily via AP)

Medical students nationwide staged a “white coat die-in” on Wednesday as protests continued in the wake of grand jury decisions in the deaths of two black men, Eric Garner and Michael Brown.

According to reports, students from dozens of schools participated in the protest. They carried signs that said “Black lives matter” and “#whitecoats4blacklives” and “Hands up, don’t shoot” and, in reference to Garner’s final words, “We can’t breathe.”

Last month, a grand jury in Missouri declined to indict a white Ferguson police officer in the Aug. 9 shooting death of Brown, an unarmed black teenager. A week later, a grand jury in Staten Island decided not to indict a white New York Police Department officer in the chokehold death of Garner during an attempted arrest. Police said Garner was illegally selling untaxed cigarettes.

On Wednesday afternoon, demonstrators on multiple medical school campuses positioned themselves on the floors outside entryways and in halls, forming small seas of white jackets dotted with the messages of protest. Some held a moment of silence for 45 minutes in recognition of the 4 1/2 hours that Brown’s body remained in the street on Canfield Drive in Ferguson after he was killed.