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Richmond Protesters Condemn Breonna Taylor Decision

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Police formed a line at the entrance of the Randolph neighborhood, as protesters arrived at the RPD Third Precinct. (Photo: Alan Rodriguez Espinoza/VPM)

Protesters gathered in Richmond Wednesday night to decry the outcome of the Breonna Taylor investigation in Kentucky, where a grand jury chose not to bring murder charges against the three police officers involved in her killing. 

Demonstrations continued until late in the night, when police declared an unlawful assembly outside of the RPD headquarters and pepper sprayed protesters. Prior to this incident, protesters and police had two standoffs: one outside of the headquarters, and one outside the RPD Third Precinct in Randolph.

The crowd of demonstrators was both young and diverse. This was the first major demonstration to take place in Richmond since college classes began.

“I want us to get the fire we had at the beginning of the movement back, because I see things are slowing down, and there’s no reason to because justice hasn’t been served,” said Yamila, who only wanted her first name to be used.

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Protesters outside the RPD Third Precinct. (Photo: Steve Humble/VPM)​​​​

Police officers arrived at the scene of the protests in full riot gear, despite no property damage or violence. Protesters did not openly carry firearms, which were recently banned from events on public property by City Council following a proposal from Mayor Levar Stoney.

One of the protesters, Yebelee Willis-Desta, hopes the protests will inspire change in the criminal justice system.

“If you’re quiet, they won’t hear you, then if you’re loud, it’s like ‘Well calm down, you’re acting like thugs, you’re acting like rebellions.’ I mean, what else are we supposed to do? If you’re trying to catch somebody’s attention, you need to do what you need to do,” she said.

Similar demonstrations took place in other cities, including New York, Atlanta, Washington D.C. and Taylor’s hometown of Louisville.