A new US grand jury will decide whether to prosecute a NYPD officer over the fatal shooting of unarmed black man Akai Gurley in Brooklyn.
Akai Gurley was shot in the chest after he entered the stairwell of his apartment building last month.
The decision comes days after a grand jury opted against charging a New York policeman in the chokehold death of another unarmed black man, Eric Garner.
The decision has sparked protests across the country.
The US was already facing race-related unrest over the decision not to indict a white police officer who had shot dead a young black man, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri.
In New York City on December, protesters briefly laid down in Macy’s flagship store, at Grand Central Terminal and at an Apple store.
Hundreds streamed along Fifth Avenue and other parts of Manhattan, with banners and chants of “Black lives matter” and “I can’t breathe” – a reference to the words of Eric Garner as he was being restrained by a white police officer.
Protests were also held in other US cities including Chicago, Washington, Denver, and Boston.
Meanwhile, a memorial service was held for 28-year-old Akai Gurley in New York ahead of his funeral on December 6.
At an earlier news conference, his mother tearfully demanded justice for her son.
Speaking alongside her, Kevin Powell, president of the advocacy group BK Nation, called the shooting part of a “series of modern-day lynchings”.
In announcing the grand jury – a body that determines whether to bring criminal charges – Brooklyn’s District Attorney Ken Thompson said it was important to conduct a full and fair investigation.
Police say Akai Gurley and his girlfriend had opened a door into the unlit stairway and an inexperienced officer on a routine patrol fired his gun.
New York Police Commissioner William Bratton called the shooting an accident. However, the medical examiner has ruled that the death is a homicide.
Civil rights leader the Reverend Al Sharpton had initially planned to speak at Akai Gurley’s memorial service but later said he would pay his respects without making an address.
UN human rights experts earlier expressed “legitimate concerns” about grand juries failing to charge the two policemen involved in the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.
In a statement, UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Rita Izsak, said it was part of a broader “pattern of impunity” concerning minority victims.
Following the outcry over the Garner case, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered the city’s 22,000-strong police force to be retrained in how to better communicate and remain calm when making arrests. They will also be fitted with body cameras.
Activists have called for another march in Washington on December 13, followed by a summit on civil rights.
A grand jury has made a decision over whether to charge Officer Darren Wilson over the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
Michael Brown’s family confirmed that the jury’s decision is expected to be announced later on Monday.
Michael Brown, 18, was killed by Darren Wilson on August 9 in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson.
The teenager’s death sparked protests, sometimes violent, as police were criticized for using military grade riot gear.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency in the area and called in 400 National Guard troops in anticipation of protests, should charges not be filed in the case.
A White House spokesman said that President Barack Obama had urged those who wished to protest against the jury’s decision to “do so peacefully”.
The case has stoked racial tensions in the US, with many in the African American community calling for Darren Wilson to be charged with murder.
Witnesses say Michael Brown had his hands up in apparent surrender to the officer when he was shot.
Police have said there was a struggle between the teenager and the officer before the shooting.
Protests have continued in the area over the past few days in anticipation of a grand jury decision, including in Clayton, where the grand jury is meeting.
Police have put up barricades around the court house, while many shops in Ferguson have boarded up their windows ahead of the announcement.
Michael Brown’s family has appealed for calm ahead of a grand jury decision against the officer.
His father, Michael Brown Sr., said “hurting others or destroying property it not the answer” in a video posted online.
On November 24, the family called for four-and-half-minutes of silence following the jury’s decision, according to a spokeswoman for the mayor of St Louis.
Correspondents say that leaks from the grand jury testimony, including the official autopsy report, indicate there may be no indictment.
The grand jury is responsible for deciding whether Darren Wilson should be charged with any one of four possible crimes: first-degree murder, second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter.
Nine out of the 12 members of this jury must vote yes to indict.
The jury consists of 12 randomly picked impartial citizens – six white men, three white women, one black man and two black women.
If the grand jury decides not to indict, the state prosecutor, Robert McCulloch, could still bring a case against Darren Wilson.
However, Robert McCulloch has already said he would not do this, but would seek permission to release as much information as possible so the public could understand the decision.
Texas Governor Rick Perry has vowed to fight an indictment against him for abuse of power, which he dismissed as a “farce”.
The indictment “amounts to nothing more than an abuse of power… I cannot and will not allow that to happen,” Rick Perry said.
Rick Perry, 63, faces two counts of abuse of power and coercion over a funding veto he imposed last year, seen as a bid to force a local prosecutor to resign.
The possible Republican presidential hopeful has denied any wrong-doing.
A grand jury indicted Governor Rick Perry on Friday after months of investigation into his motivations for cutting funds amounting to $7.5 million to a state anti-corruption unit run by District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg.
Special prosecutor Michael McCrum said there was evidence Governor Rick Perry had threatened to withhold funding unless Rosemary Lehmberg, a Democrat, resigned over DUI charges.
Rick Perry dismissed the indictment against him as a farce (photo rickperry.org)
The indictment said Governor Rick Perry “intentionally or knowingly misused government property…with intent to harm another” namely, Rosemary Lehmberg and the Public Integrity Unit of the Travis County District Attorney’s Office.
Rick Perry defended his decision on Saturday, saying he had “exercised this authority to veto funding for an office whose leadership had lost the public’s confidence by acting inappropriately and unethically”.
“I wholeheartedly and unequivocally stand behind my veto, and I’ll continue to defend this lawful action of my executive authority as governor.
“I intend to fight against those who would erode our state’s constitution and laws, purely for political purposes, and I intend to win,” Rick Perry told reporters.
Rick Perry is the longest-serving governor in the state’s history and Texas’s first indicted governor in nearly a century.
Prosecutor Michael McCrum called up numerous witnesses to argue his case that the governor had broken the law.
The Texans for Public Justice, which filed a complaint in the case, said “the grand jury decided Perry’s bullying crossed the line into law breaking”.
Abuse of office can carry punishments of between five to 99 years in prison, while coercion of a public servant carries sentences ranging from two to 10 years.
His recent movements between key Republican battleground states is seen by analysts as laying the groundwork for a possible presidential run in 2016.
Rick Perry announced that he would retire from the Texas governor’s office instead of seeking a fourth term in July 2013.