Protesters gathered at Amar Road and Hacienda Boulevard in La Puente on Wednesday, June 3 to denounce the killing of a black man in police custody in Minneapolis on Memorial Day.
Their chants of “No justice, no peace” prompted motorists to honk in support. Some even-handed water bottles to the demonstrators. NWA’s “F— the Police,” blared from one car.
Meanwhile, police officers were set up at the Walgreens parking lot and the Shell gas station across the street.
As they walked in crosswalks, demonstrators, who at their peak numbered more than 100, also chanted, “Hands up, don’t shoot.”
The action was one of dozens across Southern California, including ones nearby in Alhambra and Covina, to protest the death of George Floyd, who was held down by a police officer’s knee for nearly 9 minutes until he died.
The officer, Derek Chauvin, was fired and charged, initially for third-degree murder but on Wednesday it was upgraded to second-degree. In addition, three other officers were implicated in Floyd’s death, charged with aiding and abetting murder.
Bridgette Anaya participated to protest police injustice, she said that with her brother in mind. She fears a future where he’ll be profiled by the color of his skin, she said.
As the afternoon wore on, the crowds only gained momentum and size.
Noel Martinez, 24, of La Puente held up a white skateboard with writing on the underside. “I can’t breathe,” it said, in reference to words Floyd uttered before he lost consciousness and died.
“I think a lot of people don’t realize the systemic loop that we’re stuck in as far as the way minorities are treated,” Martinez said. He called for police training to be reformed.
His friend Raul Montiel, 23 years old, of La Puente also had a skateboard belly with a message; paraphrasing fictional, manga superheroine Sailor Moon, it said: “I will right wrongs and triumph over evil and that means you Trump,” with the hashtag for Black Lives Matter, #BLM.
“Anime teaches you a lot to come together and to love one another,” he said. “Sailor Moon, I’ve always enjoyed her since I was little. She always fought for love and justice.”