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Protesters demanding justice for Breonna Taylor stop traffic in Menlo Park

Etika Fifita holds her fist in the air in support of the Black Lives Matter movement alongside other protesters blocking traffic at the intersection of Menlo and Ravenswood Avenue and El Camino Real in Menlo Park on Sept. 25. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

More than 150 people from around the Bay Area gathered Friday evening in Menlo Park in a protest that called for justice in the police killing of Breonna Taylor and pushed for reform in the Menlo Park Police Department.

Taylor, a 26-year-old Black medical worker, was killed in her apartment by police in Louisville, Kentucky while they executed a search warrant in March. On Wednesday, Sept. 23, a grand jury's decision was announced: Of three officers who fired shots, only one, who had been dismissed from the force, was indicted for "wanton endangerment," or recklessly firing his gun. None were charged for causing Taylor's death, according to the New York Times.

In response, protests have flared up around the U.S.

In Menlo Park, Friday's protest organized to demand justice for Breonna Taylor, according to event flyers, was organized by East Palo Alto-based art and activism collective Tha Hood Squad and Mountain View and Los Altos-based anti-racism organization Justice Vanguard.

The rally began around 6 p.m., when attendees gathered in the plaza in front of Kepler's Books and Cafe Borrone before marching to the Menlo Park Civic Center, where they stood and chanted at various locations around the Police Department headquarters before returning to the plaza.

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During their march, they stopped twice in the middle of the intersection of El Camino Real and Ravenswood and Menlo avenues for an extended period of time. Vehicles formed a line along El Camino Real, and some honked in annoyance.

A protester supporting the Black Lives Matter movement holds up a sign to drivers stuck at the intersection of Menlo and Ravenswood avenues and El Camino Real in Menlo Park on Sept. 25. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Seth Donnelly, who teaches at Los Altos High School and has been involved with the Justice Vanguard and Tha Hood Squad, said that their protest was held in Menlo Park in an effort to establish a "culture of resistance" throughout the Peninsula, and to call specific attention to the Menlo Park Police Department and its policing practices with Black and Latinx people.

While the group's action to stop traffic at a critical intersection was somewhat spontaneous, he added, "Society itself needs to understand that it's not business as usual as long as business as usual is the murder of Black people and business as usual is the perpetuation of white supremacy. … We need to understand that society itself needs to be interrupted in its normal function."

Black Lives Matter protesters assemble outside the Menlo Park Police Department on Sept. 25. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Protesters carried signs bearing statements such as "Silence is violence," "No more Black death" and "No Justice No Peace" and shouted chants like "Same story every time / Being Black is not a crime."

"It's a shame that this is happening over and over again," said protest organizer JT Faraji, a longtime critic of Menlo Park police and founder of Tha Hood Squad. "We have to do something about it."

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He spoke about policing practices in Menlo Park, including the city's acceptance of funds from Facebook to pay for police services.

"It's only a matter of time before we have our own Breonna Taylor. It's only a matter of time before we have our own George Floyd," he said. "We can no longer assume, hope and pray the system will fix itself."

At the midpoint of the protests, attendees gathered at the rear of the Menlo Park police station and shouted "Quit your job," and "No good cops in a racist system."

A number of protesters this news organization spoke with said they came from communities outside Menlo Park to participate.

Desiree Sakal, a Hayward resident, said she was not surprised by the grand jury verdict in the Breonna Taylor case. Accompanying her was Chelsey Monroe from San Francisco, who added that she was there because, as a Black woman, she felt so much grief at the decision and felt the only way to release that sadness was to participate with others in the protest.

Sequoia High School student and Redwood City resident Ray Evans said he was concerned about the idea that corporate-funded police departments could expand beyond Facebook's financial support of the city of Menlo Park to other communities. Oracle could start to fund the Redwood City Police Department, or Google could do the same in Mountain View, he posited.

A protester holds a sign that reads "Stop Police Brutality" outside the Menlo Park Police Department on Sept. 25. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

Artist Edi Hsu, who has been documenting Black Lives Matter protests around the Bay Area through live-action watercolors, participated in the protest while drawing and painting with a small journal and watercolor kit.

Elijah Ezeji-Okoye made the trip from Watsonville to participate in the protest. He said that he was disappointed in the outcome of the Breonna Taylor grand jury verdict and the limited responses by police departments to the demands of the Black Lives Matter protests. He said he'd favor defunding police departments and investing in community response efforts, as well as listening to people in marginalized and lower-income communities to hear about their needs.

Around 8 p.m., as participants disbanded from the plaza in front of Kepler's and Cafe Borrone in the darkening evening, Faraji told attendees to plan to return at a later date.

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Protesters demanding justice for Breonna Taylor stop traffic in Menlo Park

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Sat, Sep 26, 2020, 8:32 am

More than 150 people from around the Bay Area gathered Friday evening in Menlo Park in a protest that called for justice in the police killing of Breonna Taylor and pushed for reform in the Menlo Park Police Department.

Taylor, a 26-year-old Black medical worker, was killed in her apartment by police in Louisville, Kentucky while they executed a search warrant in March. On Wednesday, Sept. 23, a grand jury's decision was announced: Of three officers who fired shots, only one, who had been dismissed from the force, was indicted for "wanton endangerment," or recklessly firing his gun. None were charged for causing Taylor's death, according to the New York Times.

In response, protests have flared up around the U.S.

In Menlo Park, Friday's protest organized to demand justice for Breonna Taylor, according to event flyers, was organized by East Palo Alto-based art and activism collective Tha Hood Squad and Mountain View and Los Altos-based anti-racism organization Justice Vanguard.

The rally began around 6 p.m., when attendees gathered in the plaza in front of Kepler's Books and Cafe Borrone before marching to the Menlo Park Civic Center, where they stood and chanted at various locations around the Police Department headquarters before returning to the plaza.

During their march, they stopped twice in the middle of the intersection of El Camino Real and Ravenswood and Menlo avenues for an extended period of time. Vehicles formed a line along El Camino Real, and some honked in annoyance.

Seth Donnelly, who teaches at Los Altos High School and has been involved with the Justice Vanguard and Tha Hood Squad, said that their protest was held in Menlo Park in an effort to establish a "culture of resistance" throughout the Peninsula, and to call specific attention to the Menlo Park Police Department and its policing practices with Black and Latinx people.

While the group's action to stop traffic at a critical intersection was somewhat spontaneous, he added, "Society itself needs to understand that it's not business as usual as long as business as usual is the murder of Black people and business as usual is the perpetuation of white supremacy. … We need to understand that society itself needs to be interrupted in its normal function."

Protesters carried signs bearing statements such as "Silence is violence," "No more Black death" and "No Justice No Peace" and shouted chants like "Same story every time / Being Black is not a crime."

"It's a shame that this is happening over and over again," said protest organizer JT Faraji, a longtime critic of Menlo Park police and founder of Tha Hood Squad. "We have to do something about it."

He spoke about policing practices in Menlo Park, including the city's acceptance of funds from Facebook to pay for police services.

"It's only a matter of time before we have our own Breonna Taylor. It's only a matter of time before we have our own George Floyd," he said. "We can no longer assume, hope and pray the system will fix itself."

At the midpoint of the protests, attendees gathered at the rear of the Menlo Park police station and shouted "Quit your job," and "No good cops in a racist system."

A number of protesters this news organization spoke with said they came from communities outside Menlo Park to participate.

Desiree Sakal, a Hayward resident, said she was not surprised by the grand jury verdict in the Breonna Taylor case. Accompanying her was Chelsey Monroe from San Francisco, who added that she was there because, as a Black woman, she felt so much grief at the decision and felt the only way to release that sadness was to participate with others in the protest.

Sequoia High School student and Redwood City resident Ray Evans said he was concerned about the idea that corporate-funded police departments could expand beyond Facebook's financial support of the city of Menlo Park to other communities. Oracle could start to fund the Redwood City Police Department, or Google could do the same in Mountain View, he posited.

Artist Edi Hsu, who has been documenting Black Lives Matter protests around the Bay Area through live-action watercolors, participated in the protest while drawing and painting with a small journal and watercolor kit.

Elijah Ezeji-Okoye made the trip from Watsonville to participate in the protest. He said that he was disappointed in the outcome of the Breonna Taylor grand jury verdict and the limited responses by police departments to the demands of the Black Lives Matter protests. He said he'd favor defunding police departments and investing in community response efforts, as well as listening to people in marginalized and lower-income communities to hear about their needs.

Around 8 p.m., as participants disbanded from the plaza in front of Kepler's and Cafe Borrone in the darkening evening, Faraji told attendees to plan to return at a later date.

Comments

Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Sep 26, 2020 at 9:31 am
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Sep 26, 2020 at 9:31 am
6 people like this

Protesting is great. Having corporations pay for their own police is a recipe for trouble. But so is the lack of oversight in governments that employ police officers. How many candidates for city council in Mountain View have pledged oversight? How would it work? What particular policies and practices of the police department should be changed? Let's take the Breonna Taylor tragedy as an example. What law, policy and/or practice in Louisville, Kentucky was violated or should be changed there?


Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Sep 26, 2020 at 10:12 am
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Sep 26, 2020 at 10:12 am
6 people like this

In Mountain View, we have 9 candidates for 4 (of 7) seats on the City Council. The police department is primarily under the authority of the police chief. The police chief answers to the city manager. The city manager answers to the city council - to some extent. So, any candidate for city council in Mountain View should explain how any proposed reforms would be imposed. I do see online that city council candidate Paul Roales has some ideas. Perhaps at least Mr. Roales will answer that question about how to impose any changes in Mountain View.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Sep 26, 2020 at 11:51 am
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Sep 26, 2020 at 11:51 am
3 people like this

God,

So many things going wrong these days, and unfortunately many are constantly trying to make the situation worse.

First, we had an administration bent on stirring up fights regarding minorities. Constantly insulting them and trying to remove their rights.

Then COVID hit. Throwing so many people out of work, and seemingly making minorities the majority of deaths. And we still don't have a complete ROAD MAP on the long term plan to deal with it.

Then you had the exposure of the systemic abuse of power that the police have been using. It was always there, but now the "Viral Video" age is matured and it is caught now much more often.

And now we have had fires, which for a month in effect closed down most of us again.

Instead of giving us the tools to remedy what we can, or cope with this distress, our leaders are in an impossible position. The Fed, State, County and City debts are so large, and the war of politics is making it worse.

I wonder if we are in fact seeing the end of the United States as we know it?


Gary
Registered user
Sylvan Park
on Sep 26, 2020 at 12:15 pm
Gary, Sylvan Park
Registered user
on Sep 26, 2020 at 12:15 pm
8 people like this

Good points Steven. But the country can do no worse than to allow Donald Trump a second term. In a Trump second term, only the already-rich will survive and thrive and political dissent will be crushed. Just consider the back and forth about "pre-existing conditions." Under Obamacare, such conditions are made part of the overall cost of healthcare. Trump seeks to abolish such coverage and leave it to private insurance companies to determine how much TO CHARGE each consumer depending on the person's or the pool's "pre-existing conditions" or other potential costs that vary with individuals. Insurance for at-risk groups would skyrocket so that lower-risk groups can pay less. If you Steven had a "pre-existing condition" that could be costly, under Trump in a second term, you could be required to pay twice or a hundred times as much for insurance. And as you suggest, the states are also broke and will soon be slashing everything but public employee pay, benefits and pensions. But there is a glimmer of hope. Defeat Trump. You only get Biden. But the difference is a matter of live and death.


Steven Goldstein
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on Sep 26, 2020 at 12:37 pm
Steven Goldstein, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on Sep 26, 2020 at 12:37 pm
3 people like this

GAry,

I hate to say this, but given the history of the 2000 election, I am VERY worried. I will still vote, but I am VERY concerned.

The reports this week indicate that if Trump loses by the voters, he may have a way to override them.

My deep nightmare is that we may be reliving the restructuring of political powers and institutions that occurred in the 1930s Germany.

the Hitler reign was achieved by chipping away at any unbiased voices and creating domestic conflict.

By the way, the courts ruled that FOX News is NOT news to protect it from a defamation lawsuit. That will be ignored by it's fans or worse celebrated.

FOX News is now a true propaganda organization under the laws

You should watch the films "Recount Democracy, Hacking Democracy, "Recount" "Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections" , and "Unprecedented, the 2000 Presidential Election"

I do not have any confidence this election will work.


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