The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Bay Area erupts in protest following Breonna Taylor verdict (Photo Gallery)

September 25, 2020


Emily Curiel

Protesters march down 17th Street in San Francisco after a grand jury verdict decided to not charge any Louisville police officer in the killing of Breonna Taylor on Wednesday Sep. 23, 2020. (Emily Curiel / Xpress Media)

Protesters took to the streets of San Francisco and San Jose to show their disapproval of the verdict for the death of Breonna Taylor on Wednesday evening.

Taylor became one of the faces of police brutality when she was shot five times by Louisville, Kentucky, Metro Police Department officers Myles Cosgrove, Bree Hankison and Jonathan Mattingly at her home on March 13, 2020.

The Kentucky state grand jury decided to only indict one officer, Hankison, with three counts of wanton endangerment of Taylor’s neighbors. This decision caused protests across the U.S.

San Francisco’s protest was organized by Defund SFPD Now, an organization created in June dedicated to the defunding and ultimate goal of abolishing the San Francisco Police Department. The protest started at 7 p.m. outside of the SFPD station located in the Mission District.

Organizer Alex Karim said that while the decision by the Kentucky grand jury was disappointing, it was unsurprising to her. Karim organized the protest for San Franciscans that were unable to make it to the protest held in Oakland that night.

“I think the important thing about reform, right, is that reform is a distraction. And SFPD has been in a reform period for over 50 years, and people are getting harmed. People are getting brutalized every single day, and even just thinking about last year, Jamaica Hampton got shot right here on the Mission. And he lost his leg as a result of that. Right?” Karim said. “It is unacceptable to me and is unacceptable to all of the people here to say that Black and Brown people have to wait to feel safe while we figure out a better way.”

Jamaica Hampton was shot by two SFPD officers near Bank of America on 23rd and Mission Street on Dec. 7, 2019. Ten days after the shooting, SFPD released body cam and CCTV footage revealing that after the officer, Sterling Hayes, fired five rounds that injured Hampton’s leg, another officer — Officer Christopher Flores — fired a round, causing Hampton to collapse. Hampton has been the only police shooting survivor in San Francisco’s Mission district to date.

Karim said that she is unsure if she will be organizing a future event, but she said that she and Defund SFPD Now will not stop being vocal and active until their goals of justice and abolition are achieved.

In San Jose, a protest promoted under the name “Revenge For Breonna Taylor” was organized by Black Liberation and Collective Knowledge Outreach and Human Empowerment for Radical Optimism Tent, activist groups that help protestors and the Black community as they fight for social justice and equality. Protesters met at San Jose city hall and marched to West Julian and St. James streets.

“We have people from Morgan Hill, HERO Tent, and from all across the Bay Area coming together as one for peace, love and equality for the Black and Brown community, and for the outcome of Breonna Taylor’s case. When law enforcement comes out, we’re gonna open up high pressure. This is a peaceful protest, but it’s up – whatever happens, happens,” Paris Browder, a member of BLACK Outreach, said.

The San Jose nonprofit HERO Tent provided protesters with information and sustenance during Wednesday’s protest.

“Upon hearing the ruling of the charges against the police officers that murder Breonna Taylor, we knew we were gonna have to protest again because they’re unjustly killing Black people [that] are who innocent. We mobilized because we know what protests need – it needs humanitarian aid, food, water, medical supplies, a place to cool down. On top of that, we’re feeding the homeless that come up to us,” Brodie Storey, vice president of HERO Tent, said.

“This is in an expression of art. So this is how we express the anger that we’ve put through, we’ve been through the injustice of the community, for people who look like you and me, and the black and brown community. They see the pain, they see the staff, they see the anger, they see the outrage, this is to provoke them,” Browder said.

San Jose native Cameron Bauer said he didn’t think twice about coming to the protest with the purpose of demonstrating against systemic racism.

“My ultimate goal is to change the racist system that we have. We will eliminate the racial injustice system. Systematic racism is a very real thing. I think we all are aware that black lives matter. But I think the real thing that we need to do is act on that and change the system. That’s my main goal here,” Bauer said.

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About the Contributors
Photo of Emily Curiel
Emily Curiel
Emily lives life through a viewfinder. She has a hummingbird superstition and spends most of her down time playing the mobile app game called Two Dots, she’s sort of obsessed. She eats a lot of hamburgers and pets a lot of animals when she can. She’s a sucker for museums, sports, chocolate and anything artsy that’s hands on.

Her career goal, to put it simple, as the great Warren Buffett said, is to find a job that she loves so she doesn’t have to work a day in her life. She wants to be a great photojournalist, who is well-paid, so she may be able to live comfortably with good health insurance. Emily wants to be able to enlighten society in a more positive way through her photographs and storytelling. Dorothea Lange once said, “The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.” This is what Emily wants to embody and hopes she can do so in the field of journalism. You can find more of her work here.
Photo of Harika Maddala
Harika Maddala
Harika Maddala is a senior year student at San Francisco State University, pursuing a bachelor’s

in Photojournalism and a minor in International Relations. Born and raised in India, Harika

earned her BA in journalism in the country and transferred to SF State in 2019, to earn a four-

year bachelor’s degree. She has been clicking photos since age 14 and has had her photos

displayed at various galleries including at a TedX exhibition in India in 2016, at Yerba Buena

Arts Gallery in June 2019, and at Samy’s Camera in the Spring of 2019. Harika enjoys shooting

anything with a lot of action- dance, weddings, concerts, protests, and riots. She is currently

exploring multimedia and finds video and audio editing relaxing- almost like a craft of weaving

things together. She joined the Xpress newspaper team in Summer 2020 and this is her last

semester in college. She aims to work on more projects related to queer identities, race and

immigration issues, body image, and mental health in the future.

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