SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Authorities were reporting slower traffic on both the Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Bridge Thursday evening as Breanna Taylor protesters purposely decelerated on the spans to create gridlock.
The freeway demonstration was organized to protest a grand jury’s failure to indict Louisville police officers for the fatal shooting of Taylor.
As of 6:21 p.m., CHP were reporting significant delays on the Bay Bridge in both eastbound and westbound directions due to the demonstration. All lanes were effected and motorists were advised to expect delays and to use alternate routes to avoid the area.
Expect Significant Delays on Eastbound and Westbound I-80 on The Bay Bridge Due to a Demostration. All Lanes are Affected. https://t.co/ITRwoLsl4h
— 511 SF Bay (@511SFBay) September 25, 2020
Traffic in the eastbound direction appeared to be getting lighter by 7:45 p.m. according to sigalert traffic maps, but things were still moving slowly coming into San Francisco on the Bay Bridge.
Reporter Andria Borba posted video showing the slow crawl in the westbound direction on the Bay Bridge.
— Andria Borba (@AndriaKPIX) September 25, 2020
Meanwhile, at least two drivers on the Golden Gate Bridge were stopped and ticketed by police early Thursday evening for attempting to slow traffic as part of the protest.
A group of activists had earlier called for go-slow car caravans on three Bay Area bridges during the Thursday evening commute, according to social media posts by the group resistancesf.
The group instructed drivers to head to the Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Bridge and Dumbarton Bridge at 5 p.m. to slow down traffic and create gridlock to show outrage over the Kentucky grand jury’s failure to charge officers in the fatal shooting of Taylor during a March 13 raid on her apartment
KPIX 5 reporter Joe Vazquez was monitoring traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge and spotted the two northbound drivers who got ticketed for purposely slowing down on the span. Both told Vazquez that they were participating in the protest.
One of the drivers was seen weaving back and forth between the northbound lanes.
“I’m protesting the decision yesterday of the officers being charged in Breonna Taylor’s death,” said Erin Feher.
She told KPIX 5 she was pulled over by police because she was going about 10 miles per hour on the bridge.
“I’m out here because I want to disrupt everybody’s daily existence and make them think about it. There’s a lot of people suffering. So if I get a ticket, I get a ticket,” explained Feher.
The slowdown has begun on the Golden Gate bridge. Both of these drivers told me they were participating in the protest. Driving slowly. One of them was purposefully weaving back-and-forth through the lanes. Police have issued them tickets. #bridgeprotesr pic.twitter.com/78obqdjQYO
— Joe Vazquez (@joenewsman) September 25, 2020
Vazquez noted that part of the right lane in the northbound direction of the bridge was closed off. Golden Gate Bridge officials said CHP closed off the lane “to maintain access for emergency vehicles.”
There have not been any reports so far of drivers purposely slowing down on the Dumbarton Bridge to where it was impacting traffic.
Oakland police Thursday afternoon tweeted a warning and request for drivers to be cautious with the planned demonstrations likely to impact freeways.
OPD is aware of planned demonstrations in Oakland and other Bay Area cities tonight. We will continue to facilitate safe places & spaces for demonstrations. Please drive cautiously, as gatherings may impact roadways and freeways. #OPDCARES pic.twitter.com/PwvGTL6bOP
— Oakland Police Dept. (@oaklandpoliceca) September 24, 2020
Earlier Thursday, Black women activists and community leaders in Oakland rallied in front of a mural memorializing Breonna Taylor as more activists called for action demanding justice for the victim in the fatal Louisville police shooting, including a car caravan to slow traffic on Bay Area bridges at 5 p.m.
It was a powerful meeting of black women with a message: it is time to value, respect and protect them. The group gathered in front of the Breonna Taylor mural at 15th and Broadway in Oakland. They gave speeches and read poetry as they called attention to the plight many black females face, including disproportionate rates of unemployment, evictions and arrests.
They said what happened to Taylor — who was fatally shot by Louisville police officers during a March 13 raid on her apartment — is a symptom of a larger paradigm within which black women and girls are neither respected nor protected by our current government or society.
“We have power. I ain’t talking about something we have to go make up! We need to exercise it! Find you a battlefield and stand on it,” said Director of Omi Arts Ashara Ekandayo.
“There’s a war being raged on our lives,” Cat Brooks with the group Anti Police-Terror Project said at the rally. “We have come to say enough is enough is enough.”
The activists gathered said allies of other races need to stand up and fight with them or be considered complicit in the crimes against black people.
The protest in Oakland is the latest in a number of demonstrations and marches that were organized around the Bay Area in reaction to the Wednesday decision by a Louisville grand jury not to charge any of the three officers involved in the fatal shooting of Taylor. Only one, former officer Brett Hankison, was indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment. But he and the two other officers who opened fire were not charged in relation to Taylor’s death.
The largest protest in the Bay Area was in Oakland, where hundreds of demonstrators peacefully gathered around Lake Merritt before marching to Oakland City Hall to protest the grand jury’s decision.
— Andrea Nakano (@AndreaKPIX) September 24, 2020
One group of protesters moved onto a ramp on Interstate 980, but got off the highway a short time later before moving on to protest at the Oakland Police Department headquarters. There were additional demonstrations in San Jose and San Francisco Wednesday evening.
Wednesday night’s crowd was not as large as past protests but officials with the city of Oakland are expecting demonstrations over the next few days.