Members of the St. Louis Rams football team protested a recent grand jury decision in the shooting death of Michael Brown by coming onto the field for the game on Sunday by holding their hands up into the air in a surrender position.
Tavon Austin and Kenny Britt, two Rams wide receivers, held their hands skyward as they entered the field at Edward Jones Stadium on Sunday.
The act was a reference to what some eyewitnesses have said Brown was doing when Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson shot him on Aug. 9.
Austin and Britt were joined in the act by several other teammates.
The homage comes after a St. Louis County grand jury declined on Monday to indict Wilson for Brown’s killing.
The alleged position of Brown’s hands became the centerpiece of the narrative of the 18-year-old’s death and served as a rallying cry for the chant “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot.”
Protesters used Brown’s supposed surrender as evidence that he was murdered in broad daylight.
Though the claims about the position of Brown’s hands gained traction among activists and throughout the media — based mostly on statements several witnesses made in media interviews shortly after the shooting — numerous other witnesses told investigators and a St. Louis County grand jury that Brown did not have his hands in the air in a surrender position before Wilson shot him. Some said that Brown may have held his hands out to his side with his palms facing towards Wilson. Others said that Brown’s hands were at his side when he was shot.
Some of those witnesses statements were also found to be inconsistent. For example, some said that Brown was shot in the back. Others said that Wilson shot Brown while he was on his knees. Forensic evidence gathered during the investigation does not support either claim.
Announcers for the Rams game against the Oakland Raiders said that security had been beefed up at the stadium. Protesters looted and burned numerous businesses in the days after the grand jury’s decision.