LIVE UPDATES: Justice for Breonna Taylor Protest in Downtown San Jose

Scroll from the bottom up to read in chronological order. 

10pm: Crowd thins.

Dwindling numbers prompted protesters to decamp earlier than initially planned. With fewer numbers, the higher the risk of people being arrested, organizers explained. So the event originally announced as an all-nighter wrapped up well before midnight.

(Photo by Jennifer Wadsworth)

By nightfall, the plaza around the City Hall was marked by graffiti, a mural and chalk art. HERO Tent dismantled their food-and-water stations as music played and organizers began heading out. A young woman danced by herself in front of the rotunda.

Police kept their distance for the duration of the event, although they clearly had a strong presence in downtown, with cop cars at the ready and a helicopter circling overhead.

9pm: Fallon on fire.

Protesters marched from City Hall to West Julian and St. James streets, where they set fire to a blue Trump banner and American flag atop the bronze likeness of Thomas Fallon—whose role in San Jose’s founding has long been the subject of historical controversy.

After the statue was commissioned by the city’s redevelopment agency in 1988, many of San Jose's Latino residents denounced it for, according to an old San Francisco Chronicle article, memorializing “a conquering army that had stolen California from Mexico, beginning decades of oppression and abuse by whites.”

“Fallon, they said, lynched and murdered Mexicans,” the 2002 news story continued. “And in his latter years, they charged, Fallon, who became San Jose’s 13th mayor, was a drunkard who abused his wives.”

Messages left on the statue included one decrying “white settler colonialism” and others declaring “Raza 4 BLM,” “Say Her Name” and variations of Black Lives Matter.

8:30pm: Shield law.

(Photo by Jennifer Wadsworth)

HERO Tent brought a bunch of hand-decorated shields, which are propped up around stations offering food and water. Organizers say they plan to camp out all night.

So far, no visible police presence—at least not compared to the George Floyd protests this past spring. Police staging at SAP Center, though, and some attendees reported seeing snipers overhead. When asked about the city’s approach to policing the protest tonight, a spokesman for the department declined to comment.

8pm: City Hall gets a makeover.

(Photo by Jennifer Wadsworth)

Activists tagged up City Hall with slogans decrying police, racism and injustice.

(Photo by Jennifer Wadsworth)

A dozen or more of the attendees picked up paint cans and brushes to fill in a mural that reads “Justice for Breonna” in blue letters.

7:30pm: Protest art.

BLACK Outreach SJ founder Lou Dimes. (Photo by Jennifer Wadsworth)

Activists erected a guillotine replica, which they said symbolized accountability, uprising and the spirit of the French revolution. Lou Dimes, head of BLACK Outreach SJ, said it also represents “f*cking the system.”

After a speech about the sculpture’s meaning, Dimes led the crowd of a couple-hundred-or-so onlookers in chants of “Black pride” and “Black power.”

Afterwards, a song playing on a small speaker repeated a chorus of “we got the guillotine, we got the guillotine.” (We were told it was this song, by The Coup.)

6:40pm: The crowd grows.

A couple hundred protestors have gathered in front of San Jose City Hall, chanting “no justice, no peace, no racist police” and “say her name: Breonna Taylor.”

Kiana Simmons, the co-founder of activist group HERO Tent, showed up with knee pads, a gas mask and other protective gear.

“Police have shown that they will do anything to stop us,” she says.

Simmons also brought a stick with donuts hanging off the end, saying it’s meant to inject humor in an otherwise somber event. “Plus, it gets under the cops’ skin,” she adds.

Kiana Simmons, co-founder of HERO Tent. (Photo by Jennifer Wadsworth)

One member of HERO Tent who goes by “Tiny” says she’s outraged by today’s indictment. “You’re telling me it’s OK for George Zimmerman to kill Trayvon Martin?” she said. “It’s OK for them to kill Ahmaud Arbery? It’s OK for them to kill Breonna Taylor? That is unacceptable.”

(Photo by Jennifer Wadsworth)

Volunteers at the HERO Tent hand out pizza and refreshments.

(Photo by Jennifer Wadsworth)

Most of the protesters showed up with handmade signs.

(Photo by Jennifer Wadsworth)

Passing cars honked in support of the demonstration.

(Photo by Jennifer Wadsworth)

5pm: So it begins.

(Source: Instagram)

The long-awaited indictment charges one former officer with three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment. Two others got off the hook completely.

That means not a single cop was charged with killing Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician shot to death by Louisville police in her own apartment.

Officers riddled the young woman with bullets on March 13 while executing a no-knock search warrant linked to a suspect who didn’t even live there.

There was no body-cam footage to record what happened. But according to news stories, Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired a single shot at the men who broke into the home, reportedly unaware that they were officers.

His attorney says they never identified themselves as law enforcement and that he was acting in self-defense. Walker even dialed 911 as Taylor crumpled to her hallway floor in a hail of bullets. Audio of the frantic call suggests he had no idea the intruders were police.

In the six months that followed, protesters turned Breonna Taylor into a household name. Murals of her likeness sprang up throughout the country as demands for justice began to mount. Days before the indictment was unveiled, Louisville authorities declared a state of emergency, bracing for reaction from a city on edge.

Protests over the grand jury decision were inevitable. Hundreds of cities throughout the nation joined in the marches and demonstrations. In San Jose, protesters are already congregating around City Hall, where they say they plan to stay the night.

“The verdict is out,” local activist group BLACK Outreach SJ wrote in an Instagram post about the event. “Only one officer is being charged in the heinous murder of Breonna Taylor. Not a murder charge, but a wanton endangerment charge. [Three] counts of wanton endangerment of the NEIGHBORS. None of them are being held responsible for her MURDER within her own home. We marched, we wrote letters, we wrote poems, we passed laws, we voted. They didn’t listen. This ruling is a declaration of war.”

San Jose Inside will post live dispatches from the demonstration. Check this space for updates. Or, follow us on Twitter at @SanJoseInside.

19 Comments

  1. “The verdict is out,” local activist group BLACK Outreach SJ wrote… This ruling is a declaration of war.” — Black Outreach

    I wonder if this would’ve published had the group been threatening to take over your newsroom, or threaten violence to your reporters (who, like all local officials and police, had nothing to do with the Louisville incident)?

  2. How about READING the Grand Jury report BEFORE you people go into MOB Mode and burn down more of your own cities?

  3. This woman being killed in her own apartment and no one charged is beyond reason. Some people in this county simply have no access to justice. Money, power, connections…this is like Mexico’ justice system and reason for drug lord being so powerful. Who are the lords in the United Ststes and who are the slaves in modern history?

  4. “This woman being killed in her own apartment and no one charged is beyond reason.”

    Nope, no reason other than her boy friend firing on the police first.

    A tragic turn of events, but from what the people that refuse to publish all the facts want people to believe.

    Like Mark Mathews said it would be wise to read the Grand Jury report before just assuming what the media what feeds on hate would like you to believe.

  5. Police executing a search warrant and get shot at. The police shoot back. Seems pretty reasonable to me.

  6. This protest “art” looks like s***. Thanks San Jose, for using our taxpayer dollars to clean up the mess you allowed to be made. Teach your kids not to associate with drug dealers and criminals and problem solved. And vote any party but Dumbcrat!

  7. Truth. Pretty simple. Thank you. The problem is a lot of people are stupid.

  8. This is the fault and the responsibility of the Democrats, both Breonna’s death and the BLM/ANTIFA responses. Vote the racist Democrats out!!!

  9. Given the facts of the case (at least, the facts I’ve found) it is a shame the media and other political opportunists feeding off the young woman’s remains chose to assail the cops instead of the real culprit in this case, that being the laws and policies that allowed for the raid in the first place.

    Let’s not forget, the cops had a warrant, which means their justifications for wanting to raid the place had been vetted by a judge. Issuing a no-knock search warrant for a middle-of-the-night raid is, to my mind, the maximum expression of judicial authority and, as such, something that should be reserved for only the highest of imaginable threats to public safety (e.g. a terrorist bomb factory would qualify). What might have motivated the judge is far beyond my imagination.

    Was nothing learned from the Waco disaster?

    But instead of telling the important story the media chose to misrepresent the case to make it about race and police misconduct. But it wasn’t about race and the police behaved according to laws (passed by the people’s representatives in the legislature), policies (approved by police chiefs), and a lawful warrant issued by a judge.

    I don’t want the cops coming through my door in the middle of the night, knock or no-knock, but if they were to I would deserve an accurate reporting of the incident by the media. I would not want to be depicted as something I am not (such an EMT), nor would I want the police unfairly accused of hatred, my city burned down, or my president blamed.

    Mainstream media reporting has decayed to the point where reporters are best described as cultural arsonists, their influence for sale every bit as much as their ad space. Reporters are, these days, bought and sold by one party, but who knows who they’ll sell out to in the future. In any case, their behavior is a disgrace to honest journalism.

  10. Mark, At yesterday’s announcement, KY’s AG, Daniel Cameron announced that the Grand Jury’s transcript would not be released at this time. He also declined to release the racial makeup. You can read his rationale in the Louisville paper. I assume this was mentioned at the press conference, but did not view it.

    He mentioned several ongoing investigations that could result in charges against others despite not being indicted by the Grand Jury.

    Otherwise, agree with your sentiment. It’s premature to be outraged until better informed.

  11. The media has lied and tensions are inflamed. Why would the media do this?

    The media tends to tilt one direction and ONLY one direction, what is their motive for doing this?

    Why does the media have NO interest in the Biden’s being paid bu Russians, Ukrainians, and Chinese?

    Why do they lie about COVID?
    Why do they lie about Climate Change?
    Why do they lie about Peaceful protests?

    Seems to me the media might have an agenda, but what is it?

  12. Fex, what planet do you reside? I cannot fathom how you could come up with the account of the incident that you spewed. I feel sad for you actually……

  13. Contrary to media and activist narrative, Breonna Taylor was no innocent bystander. She was up to her eyeballs in the criminal enterprises of her boyfriend and their associates. Of course, her complicity in these criminal enterprises does not warrant a death sentence, but, it is incontrovertible that, after being shot at – and wounded – by Taylor’s boyfriend, the officers returned fire in a defensive action and Taylor was killed. Furthermore, as near as I can tell, Ms. Taylor, while being an EMT at the time, had not worked in that capacity for a number of years, had quit her job after a mere 5 months, and that Louisville Metro had checked the ‘do not rehire’ box on her termination form. Clearly there’s more to that story that we may ever know. It’s probably not particularly relevant to the facts of her death, except that they may paint a more complete picture of her character.

    That being said, of her death, two things certainly are true:
    1. Had she not been involved up to her eyeballs in her boyfriend’s and their associates’ criminal enterprises, she would likely be alive to this day.
    2. Had her boyfriend not fired upon the officers conducting the search warrant, she would likely be alive to this day.

    https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/read/63943132/breonna-taylor-summary-redacted1

  14. From the link posted by Ellen Rosen: “’Having someone graffiti my house is just part of the job,’ the [Mercury News] story quotes Liccardo as saying.”

    Is being traumatized by politically-motivated violence part of the job of Liccardo’s wife, Jessica, too? I have it on good authority she no longer sleeps there on weekends for fear of a recurrence.

    Is it part of the job of Liccardo’s immediate neighbors? His neighborhood? The city at large? If Liccardo can be politically targeted for violence at his home with impunity, so, too, can each of us should we run afoul of the mob. None of us signed up for this sort of domestic terrorism, even if (and I doubt it) Liccardo himself did.

  15. The French, I see some problems here, The French were not our first allies per “1619 theory” That would be the American Indians ( Native American) remember the French and Indians War? Later the French had a hand in Mexico when they surrendered to the Mexican’s, there by creating the American holiday of Cinco De Mayo as it is not celebrated in Mexico. This was the likely start of the term “Surrender Monkeys” after the results of the Napoleonic wars. By the way La Guillotine was actually a Spanish invention later improved by Dr. Guillotine, who if I recall correctly served in one for a brief moment.

    Americans didn’t take California away from Mexico. Spain took California away from those for mentioned ( Native Americans), Mexico then took it from Spain, between those two they managed to exterminate 50% of all native populations in North, Central, and South America, before the first USA type Americans set foot on California.

    Oh I forgot the Portuguese too, they imported the first African slaves who defected/revolted and helped exterminated what was left of the Caribbean tribes and in Brazil. Mexico and Brazil still working on exterminating (Native American populations ) for Land and Gold to this day.

    Native Americans not so innocent either, constant tribal warfare over land food water and gold exterminated lesser tribes clear back to the ice age when Asians coming from the North West met and likely exterminated the Clovis point people ( French) coming from the North East 9-13 thousand years ago. Surrender Monkeys indeed.

  16. @Don Gagliardi

    An additional question to add to your list: What confluence of catastrophic circumstances produced the likes of Sam Liccardo and Gavin Newsom, individuals favored with educational and cultural advantages ideal for producing men of substance and sound judgment, yet who have in their adult years progressed no further intellectually than has the average pubescent girl caught up in the make-believe world of Barbie and Ken? Is it possible to be pampered, prepped, and promoted into vainglorious incompetence?

    Lightweight Liccardo believes having his house graffitied is “just part of his job,” and also believes in depriving the police from using rubber bullets to hold off rioters (I guess he thinks being hit with dangerous and sometimes burning objects is just part of their job). But if you examine what actually happened at the mayor’s home the shallowness of his reaction to it exposes just how unfit he is for any position of leadership. For despite their desire to disturb, vandalize, and attract media attention, the scumbags who showed up at the mayor’s home confined their destructive acts to expressing their lowbrow passions with spray paint. But why did they stop there? Why did they not smash the windows, kick in the door, loot the premises, and burn down the joint (as was done so many times elsewhere)? What was it that restrained them? The answer, of course, is consequences, more specifically, consequences of a type (felony) they were not willing to risk.

    Despite the brief time he spent posing at the district attorney office, Sam Liccardo has not figured out that consequences are the only law enforcement tool that really matters. In fact, he’s proved himself dumb enough to believe that it is the rioters, not the cops in harm’s way or the innocents at risk of harm, who should determine at what point and to what degree consequences should impact their destructive acts. The mayor, a natural-born wimp with the audacity to seek to increase the powers of his office, has disgraced himself far more than any of his predecessors (and that includes Ruinous Reed, Rotten Ron, and the Leftist hags). I can only hope he finds the career-ending consequences he deserves.