Bay Area residents took to the streets of San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose Wednesday night to protest the grand jury’s decision to not charge Louisville police officers for the killing of Breonna Taylor.
Several hundred people gathered at the Lake Merritt amphitheater around 8 p.m., denouncing the announcement.
“She was treated like trash, 25 bullets they shot in her apartment, five went into her,” said one of the protesters.
A Kentucky grand jury decided to bring no charges against police for the killing of Taylor, and only a charge of wanton endangerment against one officer for firing his gun into another home the morning of Taylor’s killing in March.
The hundreds marching in Oakland moved like a raging river, heading towards City Hall, pausing at an intersection to take a knee and later moving on to Highway 24, stopping traffic, still chanting for justice for Taylor.
Protesters organized by Defund SFPD marched in San Francisco’s Mission District voicing their anger about the decision and shouting for change.
“It's anger and pain and helplessness, frustration. It's something I don't expect most white people to understand,” said Dro Dogtown from San Francisco. “As Black people we just keep seeing people who look like us, people who are related to us being killed with zero accountibility and zero recourse for the system.”
The group marched to the block where SFPD shot and killed Luis Gongora Pat in 2016 to hold a moment of silence.
“This system is broken and has been for a long time,” said Nester Reyes of San Francisco.
A group of demonstrators were also planted at San Jose City Hall in solidarity with Taylor's family and to bring awareness to racial injustices.
“It’s just outrageous,” said Kiana Simmons from Hero Tent. “The whole country, the whole summer has been protesting and this is still the verdict.”
Protesters painted “justice” on the ground in front of City Hall, some pray-painted on the walls and others set up a mock guillotine, a symbol of their outrage and demands for more accountability.
“We’ve got to show that we are not okay with it and we have to be here,” said Simmons.
She created the non-profit Hero Tent during the protests around the death of George Floyd, bringing water and supplies to protestors. She says it’ll make the effort more sustainable because now they plan to be there for a while.
“This isn’t just going to be like, ‘we’re going to protest for a few hours and then go home and forget about it,’ because we can’t forget about it, because we can’t forget about it,” Simmons said. “It’s our lives. It’s our brothers and sisters dying and it’s really important we stay here.”
Others say they want widespread police reforms.
“We need to send social workers and mental health workers to mental health calls,” said Jason from San Jose. “Police need sensitivity training.”
For Simmons and her group, the plan is to take shifts to stay there as long as they can. Bringing awareness until changes are made.
Wednesday’s grand jury announcement concludes the state investigation. Next up, the results of the FBI investigation into the death of Taylor.