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Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Dozens of minority congressional staffers and Capitol employees have gathered to protest the killing of unarmed black men by police.

About 200 workers and a few members of Congress stood on the House steps Thursday and silently raised their arms in the "don't shoot" gesture used to protest the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

They stood, heads bowed, as Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black prayed, "Forgive us when we have failed to lift our voices for those who couldn't speak or breathe for themselves." He emphasized "breathe" in a reference to Eric Garner of New York, who died after a police chokehold.

Afterward, Black said the workers were exercising their free speech rights to seek a larger conversation about the issue, which has sparked demonstrations across the country.