OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Protesters in the Bay Area Wednesday night joined demonstrators across the country after a grand jury in Kentucky did not charge police officers for the death of Breonna Taylor.
The largest protest in the area was in Oakland, where hundreds of demonstrators peacefully gathered around Lake Merritt and marched to Oakland City Hall to protest the grand jury’s decision. Wednesday night’s crowd was not as large as past protests but according to the city of Oakland, it’s expecting demonstrations over the next few days.
— Andrea Nakano (@AndreaKPIX) September 24, 2020
Protesters said they weren’t surprised by the lack of charges in Taylor’s case, but they are still outraged.
“There is no justice for my people right now and that’s the truth,” said protester Azizah Ahmad.
“I wasn’t surprised. I don’t have a high expectation of justice in this country,” Ahmad went on to say.
Protester Brooks Hassig said, “We have to end White silence, we have to stand up for our Black brothers and sisters.”
A group of protesters also moved onto a ramp on Interstate 980 but moved off the highway a short time later. Protesters then marched to the Oakland Police Department headquarters.
Families who have lost loved ones to police violence showed their solidarity to shine a spotlight on the countless lives lost.
Bobby X, the Uncle of Oscar Grant, who was killed by a BART police officer in 2009, said, “When we show this is not a single occurrence, or isolated situation, it’s undeniable about what is happening when it comes to police murder in this country.”
Officials with the city of Oakland sent out a community message regarding the Taylor decision.
“In light of the decisions by a Jefferson County, Kentucky grand jury and Kentucky’s Attorney General with regard to charging Louisville police officers in the killing of Breonna Taylor, the City of Oakland is anticipating there may be demonstrations and protests in Oakland this week, and we are prepared to support any activities should they occur,” the message read. “Oakland has continued and will continue to facilitate peaceful protests and expressions of outrage about social injustice and racial inequality.”
In San Francisco, a crowd peacefully gathered outside the San Francisco Police Department’s station in the Mission District.
Over 100 protesters marched through the Mission, closing down part of 17th Street. Police lined up in riot gear in front of the Mission station, but there did not appear to be any major confrontations with officers.
A maskless counterdemonstrator tried to crash the peaceful #BreonnaTaylor protest at the @SFPD mission station. Some demonstrators kept him from getting close to the bulk of the crowd before police rescued him. #SanFrancisco pic.twitter.com/yMXKKrlowR
— Joe Vazquez (@joenewsman) September 24, 2020
Meanwhile, in the South Bay, a crowd was gathered at San Jose City Hall early Wednesday evening. A small group of protesters said they planned to stay overnight.
Wednesday’s grand jury indictment led to one Louisville police officer being charged for endangering Taylor’s neighbors, but no charges were filed in connection with Taylor’s death in the March shooting.
Former officer Brett Hankison was indicted Wednesday morning on three counts of wanton endangerment in the fatal March 13 shooting during a raid on Breonna Taylor’s home, while officers Jon Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove were found to be justified in their actions and face no charges.
Retired Superior Court Judge LaDoris Cordell told KPIX 5 that justice is rarely served when a grand jury is involved in cases of police shootings.
Cordell explained, “The saying is a prosecutor can get a ham sandwich indicted if the prosecutor wanted to because it is really the prosecutors to play with. In my view, the grand jury is anything but grand.”
The death of the 26-year-old Black woman is among several police shootings that have galvanized a nationwide push for police reform and racial justice. Louisville has been on edge for days awaiting a charging decision in the case, with rumors swirling but no clear indication of when it would come.
Two police officers were shot in downtown Louisville on Wednesday night, but authorities said it was unclear if the shooting was related to the protests.