About five dozen demonstrators gathered Wednesday evening at Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Long Beach to voice their fear and pain after a Kentucky grand jury declined to indict Louisville police officers who shot and killed Breonna Taylor.
“This system was intended to work,” Sheila Bates, of Black Lives Matter LBC said during the protest. “But not for us.”
Bates, who is Black, expressed fear of raising a child amid ongoing systemic racism and racial injustice.
“What happened to Breonna Taylor was not a police involved shooting. It was cold blooded murder, a modern lynching,” Bates said.
Audrena Redmond, also a member of Black Lives Matter LBC, lamented Taylor’s death in March.
“I would’ve liked to have known Breonna Taylor, as a friend, a neighbor, someone’s wife,” Redmond said. “Not as another senseless victim of police and state violence.”
At the beginning of the demonstration, Redmond led protesters in libations, calling out the names of at least 40 other Black people lost to police violence and racism throughout history.
“We remember these folks as giants,” Redmond said. “They paved the way for the new path forward, a better worlds to fight for.”
Bates took the moment to call on protesters to vote against Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey this November. Black Lives Matter members throughout the county have rallied against Lacey, criticizing her lack of prosecution against officers in fatal police encounters.
In Kentucky, a grand jury brought no charges against officers for the March 13 killing of Taylor, who was shot multiple times by police who burst into her home during a drug raid gone wrong. While there were no drugs in Taylor’s apartment, her boyfriend shot and wounded a police officer. State Attorney General Daniel Cameron said the officers’ shots that killed Taylor were fired in self-defense.
The grand jury did indict one Louisville officer in connection to the March 13 killing, but for shooting into a home next to Taylor’s that had people in it.
After a summer where hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets, marching against racial injustice, commonly evoking the names of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in their calls for justice, Wednesday’s announcement sparked a new round of protest in cities across the nation.
The evening of protest in Long Beach ended with the group of about 60 protesters breaking into small groups, sharing personal stories of racism and educating white allies on how to better help Black and other communities of color.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.