With helicopters overhead, some 200 protesters gathered at noon today at 24th and Mission for a rally against police shootings. They would proceed on a 7-mile round trip journey to Mission Station, City Hall, Downtown, and the Higway 80 on-ramp at 5th and Harrison streets.  The march is part of a national day of action endorsed by a wide range of public intellectuals and activists including Cornell West and Rabbi Michael Lerner.

Martha Hubert, holds up red-gloved hands to symbolize the blood that officers who shoot civilians or stand by without intervention have on their hands. Photo by Laura Wenus

Martha Hubert holds up red-gloved hands to symbolize the blood on the hands of officers who shoot civilians or stand by without intervention. Photo by Laura Wenus

The action began with messages of love but a few shouts of “fuck the police” slipped through as the march went down Valencia street, with additional slurs and challenges being lobbed at officers as the march progressed and the crowd dwindled.

But at its beginnings, at the BART Plaza, speakers were dedicated to reducing violence.

Lerner called for the cultivation of a new, inclusive mindset. “An Assault on one is an assault on all,” said the editor of Tikkun Magazine.

Rabbi Michael Lerner at 24th and Mission streets. Photo by Laura Wenus

Rabbi Michael Lerner at 24th and Mission streets. Photo by Laura Wenus

Guillermina Castellanos of the Colectiva de Mujeres expressed her fear that other children in the neighborhood would die at the hands of police.

“As Latino mothers of families we are in danger that our kids will become the next Alex Nieto or Amilcar Perez Lopez,” she said. Police shot and killed Nieto on March 21st, 2014 in what they said was an accident in which police mistook Neito’s taser for a handgun. The family has filed a lawsuit against the officers.   Perez Lopez, a Guatemalan immigrant, was shot and killed by police on Feb. 26th in what remains an incident with conflicting testimony. 

Guillermina Castellanos shares her fears as a Latina mother. Photo by Laura Wenus

Guillermina Castellanos shares her fears as a Latina mother. Photo by Laura Wenus

Many of those gathered at the plaza were students, from local high schools as well as colleges.

“I just want to get people more aware, see how the government is turning its head away from all this inequality,” said Natine Cozano, who studies psychology at San Francisco State University.

From left to right, San Francisco State students Alejandra Diaz, Nadine Cozano and Jasmin Vega join the protest. Photo by Laura Wenus

From left to right, San Francisco State students Alejandra Diaz, Nadine Cozano and Jasmin Vega join the protest. Photo by Laura Wenus

“We need to  make sure that everyone knows what they’re doing, and to show that it’s not right,” said Jamal Jaser, who attends City Arts & Tech high school.

Jose Medina, left, and Jamal Jaser, hold a poster at 24th and Mission. Photo by Laura Wenus

Jose Medina, left, and Jamal Jaser, hold a poster at 24th and Mission. Photo by Laura Wenus

1:30 p.m. Marchers are now in front of the Mission Police Station on Valencia near 17th Street.

Daniel Estrada, an army veteran, recognized the collaborative effort of the officers who escorted the march and directed traffic, but also emphasized the need for police to exercise restraint with force.
“In the military, we have rules of engagement,” he said, adding that he’d like to see the same burden of responsibility applied to police officers.

The scene at the Mission Police Station

1:58 p.m.

Protesters' shadows fall on the banner bearing the faces of local victims of police shootings. Photo by Laura Wenus

Protesters’ shadows fall on the banner bearing the faces of local victims of police shootings. Photo by Laura Wenus

A bystander on Valencia street claps to the rhythm of the protesters' chants. Photo by Laura Wenus

A bystander on Valencia street claps to the rhythm of the protesters’ chants. Photo by Laura Wenus

  2:15 p.m. When they reached City Hall, the protesters didn’t stop on the steps. Instead, they surged forward, filling the front of the lobby. Several climbed on top of the security desk, dancing to the tune of Loco Bloco’s drumming, deafening everyone in the vicinity with bursts from dozens of whistles.

 

A protester adds his shout to the din inside City Hall. Photo by Laura Wenus

A protester adds his shout to the din inside City Hall. Photo by Laura Wenus

3:01 p.m. When they came back outside, protesters gathered on the steps of City Hall to hear more speakers. Among them was  Rachel Guido, the mother of Derrick Gaines, the 15-year-old shot by South San Francisco police.  “We come out here and we protest and we yell and we cry, but nothing seems to change,” Guido said.

Rachel Guido, mother of a police shooting victim, had an unexpected challenge for the young protesters. Photo by Laura Wenus

Rachel Guido, mother of a police shooting victim, had an unexpected challenge for the young protesters. Photo by Laura Wenus

She issued a challenge to young people in attendance to make a career in law enforcement, to change the makeup of the police department.  “What if we bring our mindset, into there?” Guido asked. 

3:30 p.m.

A woman holds her fist high as the march moves down Market street. Photo by Laura Wenus

A woman holds her fist high as the march moves down Market street. Photo by Laura Wenus

An officer directs public transit along Market street, most of which is blocked by protesters. Photo by Laura Wenus

An officer directs public transit along Market street, most of which is blocked by protesters. Photo by Laura Wenus

4:00PM

After marching through streets of downtown and SoMA, at least five people got onto the offramp to the Interstate-80 at 5th and Harrison. KTVU reports those protesters blocking freeway have been removed by police. Protesters then looped around the block to return to the same intersection and block traffic once more before heading back up to Market Street. 

4:42 p.m.
The group is really small – just under 100, but the slurs, swearing and insults have increased. They’re also doing a good job of blocking Market Street.

It looks like there might be almost as many police officers as protesters.

Curious bystanders on their evening commute take photos and occasionally cheer on the now diminished march. 

A casual observer documents the march from his seat in a truck. Photo by Laura Wenus

A casual observer documents the march from his seat in a truck. Photo by Laura Wenus

5:30 p.m

During another brief stop at Mission Station, protesters chalk “A14” and other catchphrases of the day on the street and on the sidewalk, with a few arguments breaking out as police guarding the station moved the chalk-writers off the sidewalk.

Police move a chalk-writing protester off the sidewalk. Photo by Laura Wenus

Police move a chalk-writing protester off the sidewalk. Photo by Laura Wenus

Moving once again down Valencia street toward 24th street to complete their loop, protesters urged bystanders to join them.

Oliver Cox and Rebecca Jackson, both originally from the UK, and a third friend, all did just that.

“The police here are disgusting,” Jackson said, decrying the number of black men and women killed by officers in the United States.

Cox was worried about the global effect, saying he had started to see more violent police activity in the UK as well.

Others waved and honked their horns to show support.

A bystander gives a sort of wave, maybe a salute, to the passing march. Photo by Laura Wenus

A bystander gives a sort of wave, maybe a salute, to the passing march. Photo by Laura Wenus

6:00 p.m. 

Protesters arrived at the intersection of Mission and 24th street, completing their loop around the Mission, Civic Center, and Downtown. Organizers gave updates from other actions around the Bay Area, while calling on those protesters who remained to join them for future gatherings and protests.

More chalk messages sprang up all over the intersection of Mission and 24th streets, some positive, others slurs. Photo by Laura Wenus

More chalk messages sprang up all over the intersection of Mission and 24th streets, some positive, others slurs. Photo by Laura Wenus

Police on bike. Photo by Brock Hanson.

Police on bike. Photo by Brock Hanson.

A man holds a megaphone  at protest against police brutality. Photo by Brock Hanson.

A man holds a megaphone at protest against police brutality. Photo by Brock Hanson.

Sign at police brutality protest. Photo by Brock Hanson.

Sign at police brutality protest. Photo by Brock Hanson.