Just outside of Sacramento, a police officer attacked at 14-year-old Black boy and repeatedly punched him as he laid there defenseless. One month later, after the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, hundreds of protesters gathered at Cesar Chavez park, a few blocks from the California State Capitol.
When I arrived in the early afternoon, a trans woman was speaking about her sexual assault by a police officer. A mother spoke about the time a cop pulled a gun on her young boy. After several more harrowing anecdotes paired with inspirational words of struggle, an organizer led the crowd down the street toward the capitol.
As hundreds of people marched through the streets of downtown Sacramento, you could hear the names “George Floyd” and “Stephon Clark” being chanted. At the head of the crowd, organizers asked volunteers to block traffic at an intersection, so the march could pass through safely. We walked for a mile before returning to a corner of the capitol where police lined the perimeter with batons in hand. As a crowd coalesced, people barricaded the intersection with their cars while others directed traffic. I saw people approach aggravated motorists and deescalate them.
I was moved by the discipline from hundreds of people who stood together as police continued to flank the protest attempting to divide us into smaller groups. After a tense standoff with police, we were led on another march through the city. Shortly after I had left, I was told that a group marched on to the interstate and blocked traffic. Police further escalated things after the sun set by firing flashbangs and rubber bullets at the protestors, which was recorded on different social media streams.