SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Hundreds of Black Lives Matter activists gathered in South Sacramento to protest the death of George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis after he was detained by police earlier this week. Since then, riots and peaceful protests have been sparked all across the country, and now one is happening here in Sacramento.
Protesters started at the Oak Park Market on 12th Avenue around 6 p.m. They began gathering in the street around 6:30 p.m., chanting “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” and “George Floyd Can’t Breathe.” Crowds then marched down Franklin Boulevard to the South Sacramento Police Station.
The protesters were met at the police station by officers standing guard outside of the building. By 11:15 p.m., no arrests have been made by Sacramento police.
Around 10 p.m. large groups of protesters made their way back to the 12th Avenue overpass. Law enforcement officers including Sacramento Police officers, Sacramento County Sheriff’s deputies, and CHP officers gathered to block the onramps and offramps to Highway 99.
While the protests have remained peaceful throughout the night, witnesses told CBS13 a police vehicle was vandalized by some protesters throwing rocks. Broken glass could be seen in the street.
— Velena Jones (@velenajones) May 30, 2020
“I’m a black man in America my life matters,” protester Michael Johnson said. “It seems like my life is less appreciated than any other race stop killing me.”
Protesters like Michael were out to deliver that message to police after another black man died in police custody.
”How can you protect and serve me when I’m afraid of you?” Johnson said.
Civil rights activist Tanya Faison with Black Lives Matter Sacramento led the march from the Oak Park Market down to the police station.
“The last couple of months there’s been back-to-back murders and death at the hands of law enforcement,” Faison said. “We are out here in solidarity with Minneapolis. Stuff has gotten pretty violent we’re out here showing solidarity to let them know they’ve across the country they’ve got support.“
It was a moment people in Sacramento wanted to be a part of and Brenda Riley knew she had to be there.
“I have two adult African-American sons and I have three grandsons,” Riley said. She wants their voices heard.
“Black people are angry, we are angry right now we keep getting killed. And it needs to stop. And these police need to be held accountable for what they’re doing to our African American men,” Riley said.
Business owners and neighbors in Oak Park said planning a protest in the area was strategic. They said it’s easy to make noise, as the location chosen for the protest is close to the freeway. So, if protestors want to block traffic, it’s an area where they can do that.
John Louie has owned Oak Park Market for years.
“My concern is my employees and my customers,” Louie said. “If you’re going to have a 100, 200 person gathering, that could be bad for our area here.”
Sacramento police said they’re monitoring the protest and are working with area partners in case they need to step in. CHP Officers parked on the 12th Avenue off-ramp near the protest but did not intervene.
— Velena Jones (@velenajones) May 30, 2020
Protesters are gathering to stand in solidarity with Minneapolis and protest the death of Floyd. Louie said he’s watching what’s happening in Minneapolis – with riots and buildings being burned down – and is now worried about what could happen to his businesses and the surrounding neighborhood.
So he’s closing early.
“I hope the organizers are successful with their message because I can understand some of their frustration,” he said.
Down the street at Midtown Appliances, owner Raja Deo kept his doors open during the protests. Deo said he’s supporting the protestors and their message.
“I’m not nervous, I’m very grateful that people are standing behind this thing and what is happening, helping the community and each other,” Deo said.
— Laura Haefeli (@LauraHaefeli) May 30, 2020
The feeling is eerily similar to neighbors who lived through the riots after the death of Stephon Clark.
“It was some crazy times. I remember I was like it just when you see first-hand there’s got to be some changes, Happy Garcia said. “I’m just tired of it because of the way we look.”
Just after 7:50 p.m., Clark’s brother Stevante Clark called for the crowd to take a moment of silence for Floyd.
At a community center in Sacramento, leaders spoke out about Floyd, saying his death is a reminder of trauma in the past and a fear that this could happen here again.
“I think the city of Sacramento needs to understand, what we dealt with in 2018 with the trauma of Stephon Clark, the same things that we said during 2014, it fell on deaf ears. We could be exactly like Ferguson or we could be exactly like Minnesota,” Berry Accis said.
Floyd’s arresting officer Derek Chauvin was taken into custody and is now accused of third-degree murder.