'If there's no justice, how can we have peace?' 'Go-slow' caravan ties up Bay Area bridge traffic

ByJulian Glover, Laura Anthony, and Kate Larsen KGO logo
Friday, September 25, 2020
Protest ties up Bay Area bridge traffic after Breonna Taylor decision
Many of the protesters driving in the go-slow caravans, were pulled over. Three cars and a decommissioned ambulance were pulled over on the Bay Bridge during the evening commute.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Traffic was tied up for hours on Bay Area bridges Thursday night as demonstrators drove slow to protest the decision in the Breonna Taylor case.

Many of the protesters driving in the go-slow caravans, were pulled over. Three cars and a decommissioned ambulance were pulled over on the Bay Bridge during the evening commute. Hours later, the CHP says another three drivers were pulled over on the Fremont Street offramp and cited for impeding traffic.

RELATED: A timeline of events related to the death of Breonna Taylor

San Francisco resident, Erin Feher Montoya, shared a post on social media that said "Bay Area Mourns. Justice for Breonna Taylor. 5PM THU 9/24, Pick a bridge and drive slow! #Gridlock.

Feher Montoya, who took part in other car caravan protests over the summer, put her kids in the van and drove 10 miles per hour across the Golden Gate Bridge, until she too was pulled over and ticketed for obstructing traffic.

"They're showing whose lives matter to them and it's not black lives and it's not black women," she said.

"I haven't really seen much change since George Floyd was murdered," said Carroll Fife, an Oakland resident and director of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment. She and about 100 others rallied at Oakland City Hall Thursday evening and demanded that law enforcement be held accountable, after a Kentucky grand jury decided not to charge police officers for Breonna Taylor's death.

VIDEO: Hundreds turn out for Breonna Taylor protests, rallies throughout the Bay Area

From Oakland to San Francisco to San Jose, hundreds of people filled the streets to protest the grand jury decision in the case of Breonna Taylor.

"I think what needs to happen is an honest look at this system of so called justice in United States... We need to see a reckoning with our government and the fact that racism has never been addressed," said Fife.

Oakland community organizer and activist, Cat Brooks, spoke about the violence and injustices black women and girls face. "No one wants to talk about the black women who cannot call, will not call 911 when they're getting the... beat out of us in our own homes, because we don't know which is worse - the abuser in our home or the abuser in the black and white that's on their way."

Oscar Grant was shot and killed by a BART police officer in 2009. His uncle, Cephus "Uncle Bobby" X Johnson rallied in Oakland.

"Breonnas death could have been prevented. Oscar's death could have been prevented," said Uncle Bobby, who asked. "If there's no justice, how can we have peace?"

A protest also took place in Oakland Thursday after rallies were held last night because of the Breonna Taylor case.

Thursday's demonstration was organized by the Anti Police-Terror Project. The Facebook event reads: "Black women in leadership across Oakland will come together to say enough is enough." The gathering took place at the Breonna Taylor Mural on 15th and Broadway.

"I have no more tears." said Carroll Fife, Director of Alliance of Californians for Community as she stood before a giant mural of Taylor in downtown Oakland, "and an I can't feel any more deeply than I am right now."

RELATED: 'I respect the righteous rage': Oakland mayor says city is prepared for Breonna Taylor protests

"We've come together to say enough is enough, is enough is enough, is enough," said Cat Brooks, founder of the Anti Police-Terror Project. "I want to be really clear that what happened to Breonna Taylor is part and parcel and pattern of the war that is waged daily in our lives and we've got to start talking about it."

For these women, what happened to Taylor is extremely personal and staying silent is simply no longer an option.

"I'm not going to tell you that our lives matter. You know that our lives matter," said an emotional Ayodele Nzinga Ph.D, with Oakland's Black Arts Movement Business District. "So what we need to garner is the power to demonstrate that our lives matter."

This gathering of Black women came after hundreds of people marched through downtown, just hours after the grand jury announcement in Louisville.

So far, the protests here in Oakland in the wake of the Breonna Taylor decision have been entirely peaceful. There were no arrests, and no reports of damage.

WATCH: Oakland protesters demand justice after Breonna Taylor decision

One day after a Louisville grand jury decided not to charge officers in the death of Breonna Taylor, Black women stood shoulder to shoulder in downtown Oakland, to proclaim their own outrage.

Some demonstrators did walk onto Interstate 980 for a time, a tactic that may continue in the days ahead as protesters in car caravans vow to take their message to Bay Area bridges, and even airports.

"This is a time of expression. it's a time for all of us to listen," said Oakland Police spokesperson Johnna Watson, who emphasized that Oakland Police Department will only do enforcement action when there is property damage or a threat to someone's safety. "It's a time for us to provide safe spaces for the freedom of speech, for the freedom of movement."

Oakland police advise residents to subscribe to Nixle alerts to get the latest on potential impacts from ongoing demonstrations.

There was a similar message in the East Bay last night as people marched to police headquarters in Oakland in what was called a "revenge for Breonna" rally. Some demonstrators blocked access to I-580 and other streets. They took a knee in the street beating drums and chanting.

Earlier in the day, Bay Area families who have lost a loved one to police killings gathered via Zoom to share their thoughts on the decision in the Breonna Taylor case.

RELATED: 'So demoralizing': Warriors' Steve Kerr has strong reaction to Breonna Taylor decision

"I have a lot of anxiety, I'm afraid that that's the same thing that's going to happen with Erik. But I just pray that that's not going to happen with this and I pray that all of the families that have had encounters with the police and our loved ones have been passed away or killed by the police that we get justice," said Amanda Majail-Blanco, Erika Salgado's sister.

Erik Salgado was killed by CHP officers in Oakland in June.