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News Wrap: Crowds turn out nationwide to protest police conduct

In our news wrap Friday, protests over the Eric Garner case and police conduct overall continued across the U.S. with no sign of abating. The NYPD launched a program to train its officers to use body cameras. Also, the International Criminal Court dropped charges of crimes against humanity against Kenya’s president for lack of evidence.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    It's the biggest burst of hiring in the U.S. in nearly three years.

    The Labor Department reported its November numbers today. They show that American employers added a net of 321,000 new positions in November. The unemployment rate, which comes from a separate survey, stayed at 5.8 percent. That is a six-year low. And in another hopeful sign, the average hourly wage rose 9 cents, the most in 17 months. We will examine what's behind the numbers later in the program.

    Protests over the killings of black men by white police kept going today with no sign of a letup. They were fueled again by fury over a grand jury's decision in New York City. The panel decided on Tuesday not to issue an indictment in the death of Eric Garner.

    Jeffrey Brown reports on the day's developments.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    One of the latest demonstrations came this morning in Aurora, Colorado, where hundreds of high school students staged a walkout. A police officer even gave out high-fives as they marched past.

    In Chicago and other cities, more protests geared up as the afternoon wore on.

  • PROTESTERS:

    Shut it down!

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    That followed a night of demonstrations nationwide, with thousands giving voice to anger and frustration.

  • PROTESTER:

    We're fired up!

  • PROTESTERS:

    Can't take it no more!

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    In New York especially, emotions were still running high over the Eric Garner case. Most of the protests were peaceful, but minor scuffles did break out.

    This morning, New York Police Commissioner William Bratton said today there were more than 220 arrests overnight.

  • WILLIAM BRATTON, New York City Police Commissioner:

    Some of them were much more assertive, so those arrests include disorderly conduct, with some assaults on police officers. I believe my officers showed remarkable restraint in the face of, in many instances, a lot of provocation.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    Meanwhile, the district attorney in Brooklyn announced a grand jury will probe the killing of an unarmed black suspect in a dimly lit stairwell two weeks ago. A rookie policeman has said his gun went off accidentally. Also today, the NYPD launched a pilot program to start outfitting officers with body cameras. But many protesters dismissed the gesture.

  • MAN:

    Eric Garner's murder was caught entirely on film, and the police officer who killed him has still not been indicted. So, it kind of makes you wonder whether or not body cameras will actually do anything.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    Elsewhere, some 150 people marched in Phoenix overnight, after a black man was killed Tuesday by a white officer who said he mistook a pill bottle for a gun.

  • WOMAN:

    We're not going to stand for them and their brutality against black people. We're not going to just sit back and watch while our people get killed.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    An internal investigation is under way in the Phoenix shooting.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    In another development, more than 100 activists arrived in Jefferson city, Missouri, the state capital, after marching 120 miles from Ferguson. They protested police treatment of blacks and the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson last August.

    New Jersey lawmakers have found no evidence that Governor Chris Christie helped create traffic jams at a major bridge for political gain. At the same time, the joint legislative panel doesn't rule out the possibility that he might have been involved. Christie is a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2016. He has denied any role in the bridge scandal.

    The International Criminal Court dropped charges of crimes against humanity against the president of Kenya today for want of evidence. Uhuru Kenyatta had been accused of fomenting ethnic violence after a 2007 election, killing more than 1,000 people. Prosecutors accused Kenyatta and his supporters of obstructing the investigation and intimidating witnesses.

  • FATOU BENSOUDA, Prosecutor, International Criminal Court:

    This is a painful moment for the men, women, and children who have suffered tremendously from the horrors of the post-election violence, and who have waited patiently, for almost seven years, to see justice done.

    I have decided to withdraw the charges against Mr. Kenyatta after carefully considering all the evidence.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    In Nairobi, Kenyatta was cheered and congratulated after getting the news at a meeting of business leaders. Supporters also celebrated in the streets, chanting "Bye-bye, ICC."

    The man who was once head of China's feared domestic security agencies was arrested today on charges of corruption, adultery and leaking secrets. Zhou Yongkang was also expelled from the ruling Communist Party. That made him the highest ranking figure to be prosecuted so far in President Xi Jinping's corruption crackdown. Zhou had been a key rival to Xi.

    Back in this country, Congress has voted to block suspected Nazi war criminals from getting Social Security benefits. The Senate approved the bill last night and sent it to the president. That followed an Associated Press investigation that found dozens of Nazi suspects collected millions of dollars in benefits since 1979 under a legal loophole.

    NASA took a big first step today toward a potential mission to Mars. It was the first unmanned test flight for the Orion capsule, and it went off without a hitch. The spacecraft blasted off just after dawn from Cape Canaveral atop a Delta IV rocket, and it reached a peak altitude of 3,600 miles. About four-and-a-half-hours later, Orion made a bullseye splashdown 630 miles southwest of San Diego.

  • MARK GEYER, NASA:

    It's hard to have a better day than today. It was a lot of fun, very exciting, each part of the mission. Of course, part of the reason it's exciting is, it's — it's a difficult mission, it's a tough environment to fly through, it's tough objectives that we set for this flight. But it appears that Orion and the Delta IV Heavy were nearly flawless. Great job by the team.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Orion's flight path took it deeper into space than any craft built for humans has gone since 1972. That was when Apollo 17 made the last manned flight to the moon.

    On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 58 points to close at 17,958; the Nasdaq rose 11 to close at 4,780; and the S&P added three to finish at 2,075. For the week, the Dow gained seven-tenths of a percent; the S&P was up four-tenths; the Nasdaq fell a fraction.

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