SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Protests are ramping up around the country and in Sacramento after a Kentucky grand jury decided to not indict police officers on criminal charges related to Breonna Taylor’s death.
Hundreds of people gathered in Cesar Chavez Plaza Wednesday night. The protesters chanted Breonna Taylor’s name and marched around downtown to the State Capitol and back toward the plaza. The protests remained peaceful as crowds listened to speakers and marched through the streets.
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Law enforcement stood guard in front of government buildings, protecting City Hall, the county jail, and the State Capitol as protesters moved through the streets. The officers stood back and did not engage with the crowds.
There’s a community devastated by the decision in Kentucky and activists in Sacramento say they’re forced to somehow work through it. Some Sacramento activists say neighborhood events focused on community building and registering people to vote will help create real change.
“It’s important because this right here is the front line,” Leia Schenk, Founder of EMPACT, said.
After a Kentucky grand jury brought no charges against Louisville police officers for the killing of Breonna Taylor, it’s these same events that are getting more difficult to hold.
“It’s a somber somber moment for the Black community right now,” Schenk said. “And now we’re having to explain to our young children what happened today.”
Schenk wasn’t surprised to learn that only a single officer was charged for firing into Breonna Taylor’s neighbor’s homes.
“We’re not given the justice we deserve,” Schenk said. “I just feel like no matter what, we’re not given the justice we deserve.”
Attorney Candice Fields says in the case of Breonna Taylor, it’s clear the law does not address justice.
“Once the officers had executed the warrant and the person inside issued a shot in their direction, the law is that they are justified in defending themselves against the fire,” Fields said. “In this case, we are hearing today about what the state intends to do in regards to the officers. But what do we all do in the case of Breonna?”
Schenk says that’s what troubles her the most.
“I worry about my community and what everybody is feeling right now,” Schenk said.
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg did address the grand jury’s decision during a virtual seminar at a local law school. He called the wanton endangerment charge to the single police officer an injustice.
Protesters who marched Wednesday evening said they will be back downtown on Thursday.