Thousands protest in US calling for justice in Breonna Taylor case

Thousands of protesters calling for justice in the Breonna Taylor case took to their streets, bridges and neighborhoods across the USA on Friday, demanding action as scores of police in riot gear surrounded them to quell civil unrest.
Hundreds again gathered in downtown Louisville on Friday for another night of protests. Before and after Louisville’s 9 p.m. curfew went into effect, police and protesters clashed, although there were no immediate reports of injuries in the city or in connection to protests elsewhere.
About 50 police officers surrounded a group of protesters in Louisville and made them sit on the ground late Friday night. A reporter on the ground estimated at least 18 arrests, and an officer said the arrests were for breaking curfew. Louisville police did not immediately confirm the number of arrests.
Earlier in the night, Louisville officers said they used flash bangs and made two arrests because people did not get on the sidewalk when asked to allow traffic to flow.
Meanwhile in New York City, a group held a sit-in on the bridge for more than an hour. There, they took a knee in the middle of the bridge to honor Taylor, according to local news outlets and social media posts.
Taylor’s death has gained increasing international attention after Wednesday’s announcement that no officers would be indicted for her death. In Louisville, peaceful protests escalated as anger boiled over: windows were smashed, small fires set and two police officers were shot.
Some downtown Louisville business have chosen to close through weekend due to damage caused during the ongoing protests. A citywide curfew, criticized by The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, went into effect Wednesday and will run from 9 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. each day until Monday morning.
Earlier Friday, members of Taylor’s family and their attorneys called on Kentucky’s attorney general to release the transcripts of the grand jury proceedings.
Taylor, a 26-year-old ER technician, was killed shortly before 1 a.m. on March 13 when officers came to her apartment looking for drugs and cash as part of a larger narcotics investigation connected to her former boyfriend. She was shot six times.
A grand jury on Wednesday indicted former Louisville officer Brett Hankison on wanton endangerment for firing shots that went into a neighbor’s apartment where three people were home. Hankison was fired in June.
While Louisville has been an epicenter for protests calling for racial justice this week, more than a dozen cities across the country have seen demonstrations as well.
In Chicago on Friday, dozens of people gathered in the South Side neighborhood of South Shore and marched to a nearby police station. The group convened to celebrate what would have been the 23rd birthday of Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old shot by an officer 16 times. Attendees released 400 balloons, representing the number of days it took the city to release dash cam video of the shooting.
In Boston, thousands of people marched from­ a park to police headquarters on Friday night, holding “Black Lives Matter” flags and posters, chanting “the people, united, will never be defeated.” Gov. Charlie Baker activated the Massachusetts National Guard in advance of protests expected over the weekend.
In Philadelphia, dozens of protesters — mostly college students — held a march and vigil for Taylor. The group set up a makeshift memorial, placed flowers before her portrait and lit several candles, according to local news outlets.
In Atlanta, hundreds of people marched from police headquarters to the state capitol, and at least 18 protesters were arrested in a later demonstration, according to local news reports. Atlanta police did not immediately confirm the arrests.
Hundreds marched through Oakland, according to local news outlets. Video shared by Oakland police showed a crowd holding posters and waving flags as smoke hung in the air above. Some in the crowd “are throwing bottles and other objects at officers,” the department said on Twitter.
Smaller pockets of protesters were reported in Seattle, Kansas City, Providence, Los Angeles and San Diego. In Albuquerque, a car rammed through a crowd of protesters, according to a local reporter who shared video of the incident to Twitter and a protester who spoke to USA TODAY.
“It just went straight into the middle of the crowd and veered off toward the left,” said Samantha Colombo, 25, an Albuquerque resident. Colombo said that no one they knew of was hurt.
In New York City, hundreds marched through Brooklyn, chanting “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now,” according to local media reports and videos shared to social media. Dozens marched onto the Brooklyn Bridge and took a knee in the middle of the bridge to honor Taylor. The group held a sit-in on the bridge for more than an hour before marching back toward Brooklyn, escorted by dozens of cops in riot gear.
Protesters joined in group chants demanding that the New York Police Department not send officers to calls of mental health emergencies and that schools “no longer call the police on their children.”
“These are our demands that must be met,” dozens on the bridge shouted, echoing the words of a woman holding a speakerphone. “Until they are met there will be no peace. No justice, no peace.”
Tamika Palmer — Taylor’s mother, who earlier said she was “mad, pissed, upset, hurt” over Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s Wednesday grand jury announcement — joined several hundred people who marched in Louisville earlier Friday.
At the downtown park where protesters have gathered nightly since May 28, people sang, watered flowers in the memorial area and played piano. Some provided food and water. Adria Johnson was encouraging people to register to vote.
“We will make sure that this city as uncomfortable as it can be,” Tamika Mallory, of the group Until Freedom, said Friday, later leading marchers holding a purple banner reading “Justice for Breonna Taylor.”
Along downtown streets as evening fell, where nearly 25 square blocks were still barricaded from traffic amid a state of emergency, several hundred marchers raised fists as cars honked in support.
By 6:55 p.m., police had declared the march unlawful and flash-bang explosions went off.

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