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Sacramento LGBTQ Groups Co-host Thursday Protests

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Sammy Caiola/CapRadio
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Demonstrators kneel at the intersection of 10th and J streets Thursday, June 4, 2020

Protests against police violence continued on Thursday in Sacramento. Here's a roundup of some of the day's events.

9:56 p.m.: Crowds March Through Sacramento As Curfew Continues

Demonstrators against police brutality marched through downtown Sacramento Tuesday, walking silently toward the Capitol before kneeling together at J and 10th streets.

While on Capitol grounds, demonstrators sang happy birthday to Breonna Taylor, who would have turned 27 tomorrow. She was shot by police in Louisville, Kentucky in mid-March.

The march kicked off with a speech from Stevante Clark, whose brother Stephon Clark who was killed by Sacramento police in 2018. But for most of the evening, Jaeda Montgomery was at the megaphone. She said she decided to try leading the group after getting positive audience response to a speech she made at Cesar Chavez Plaza.

“I’m doing it for the community, I’m not doing it for myself” she said.

Clark addressed the crowd again when they returned to the plaza. He pushed for de-escalation teams in place of a police response, and resource centers in underserved neighborhoods.

Sacramento's curfew remains in effect tonight, even as the ACLU has sent a letter to the city demanding the curfew be lifted. The organization sent similar letters to Bay Area cities that also implemented curfew orders.

Demonstrators once again protested peacefully, with many leaving the area around Cesar Chavez Plaza after 9 p.m.

6:37 p.m.: Sacramento LGBTQ groups co-host Thursday protests

Rainbow flags, bandanas and backpacks were sprinkled through the crowd at tonight’s George Floyd protest in downtown Sacramento, which was co-hosted by Black Lives Matter and local LGBTQ groups.

“Being brown, being gay, I get harassed,” said Manny Rios, 45, while walking his dog Brian down I Street with the demonstrators. “It’s the same fight.”

Some of the demonstrators held signs paying tribute to black and brown queer and transgender women who fought police during the Stonewall Riots of 1969.

“Black liberation has been nothing without trans folks, and the LGBTQ community would be nothing without black people,” said Naomi Bingham-Walker, a 26-year-old Sacramento resident. “My dad was a Black Panther in the '60s, he talks about all of it.”

Transgender people of color say they’re especially vulnerable to police violence due to their overlapping identities, and that they don’t always find support in black and brown communities.

Tone Bias, 23, was upset that not all of the march organizers acknowledged trans lives on the megaphone.

“If we only focus on black cis (gender) lives mattering and not black trans lives mattering, then you’re just leaving us out,” they said. “You’re just conveniently forgetting us and you can’t do that anymore. We’re here, we've been here, so we need to be recognized. We need to be heard. We need to feel seen.”

The demonstration started in the Lavender Heights neighborhood before marching to Cesar Chavez Plaza. As of around 6 p.m., Thursday night's crowd was a little smaller than earlier protests. Police officers on bikes monitored the gathering.

Sacramento's 8 p.m. curfew remains in effect. The past three nights demonstrators continued to gather until after 9 p.m. There were no arrests for curfew violation Wednesday night.

5:32 p.m.: Sacramento restaurants close in solidarity with protests

At least a dozen Sacramento restaurants closed between noon and 3 p.m. in solidarity with demonstrations against police brutality.

Urban Roots co-owner Rob Archie said he came up with the idea after hearing from other restaurateurs who were looking for ways to support black communities.

“There is no absolute goal. There is no, ‘Here’s exactly what you’ve got to get done.’ It’s just, let’s start the process of conversation,” he said.

Archie, who is black, spent more than an hour leading a discussion with his staff about white supremacy and white privilege, the aftermath of Sacramento’s protests and racial nuances in the foodservice industry.

Like most restaurants, Urban Roots took a hit from stay-at-home orders and being forced to reduce capacity. But Archie says pausing for an afternoon to have tough conversations — and listen to each other — was more important.

“This is tough times,” he said. “Every dollar counts. But that just says how important this is, and it’s really amazing how many restaurants are participating.”

At least a dozen other businesses joined in. Employees stood outside their own establishments holding signs that read “Black Lives Matter” and “We stand with you.”

4:27 p.m.: Public health experts share tips for limiting COVID-19 spread at protests

Public health experts warn the large protests happening in Sacramento and throughout the nation may become breeding grounds for COVID-19, leading to an uptick in cases in June.

Dr. Brad Pollock with the UC Davis School of Medicine says, from the video he's seen of recent demonstrations, the majority of protesters have been covering their faces and keeping social distance, but he’s also seen examples where it’s not happening.

“And the scare is that we don't know who's walking around who is asymptomatic but is capable of spreading the virus," he said.

Pollock is part of a group of public health academics who've put out recommendations for minimizing transmission risks at protests. One of those recommendations: carry goggles in case police use tear gas.

"We're not saying that they shouldn't be doing that, we're not trying to make a comment on that,” he said. “But one of the problems is, if people are exposed to tear gas, for example, the natural reaction is to put your hands to your face and to your eyes. And so that's a risk factor for picking up the virus."

He says people who attend a protest should: wear a face covering; keep six feet away from other protesters; and get tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible.

8:50 a.m. No new Sacramento arrests in Wednesday night protests

Sacramento and cities around the state saw a night of peaceful demonstrations Wednesday in response to the death of George Floyd.

Sacramento officers say there were no arrests and no reports of vandalism or theft. Sacramento protesters stayed out about 90 minutes past the city’s 8 p.m. curfew.

Mayor Darrell Steinberg says the curfew will remain in effect at least through the weekend.

According to the AP, law enforcement authorities around the state filed criminal charges against more than 100 people accused of looting and violence Wednesday.

San Francisco saw at least 10,000 people protesting, while thousands more hit the streets of Hollywood.

8:15 a.m. Officer kills demonstrator during Vallejo protests Tuesday

There are new questions about the use of excessive force in the police killing of a 22-year-old man in Vallejo during a night of protests, vandalism and violence.

Vallejo Police Chief Shawny Williams says an officer shot and killed Sean Monterrosa Tuesday because the officer thought the man had a gun in his waistband.

It happened after midnight, when the San Francisco resident was standing outside of a Walgreens store.

East Bay Times reporter Nate Gartell spoke with CapRadio host Steve Milne about the details from the chief’s news conference Wednesday.

“It was during a pretty chaotic night, when businesses were getting burglarized throughout the night,” Gartell said. “In fact, officers have been called out to this Walgreens multiple times that evening.”

Several people ran away from the store when police arrived.

“The officer showed up and Monterrossa got into, quote the chief: a half-kneeling position,” said Gartell. “And the officer believed he was reaching for a gun at his waistband. It turned out to be a hammer, not a gun.”

The officer fired five times at Monterrosa from a Vallejo police patrol car, shooting through the car’s windshield.

During Wednesday’s news conference, Williams refused to answer whether he believed his officer’s actions could be considered excessive force.

“The Solano District Attorney will make the ultimate finding if the force was legal,” Williams told reporters.

He confirmed that an Internal Affairs investigation had been opened.

According to the AP, the family’s attorney John Burris says he was appalled that police would shoot at a person who was on his knees with his hands raised.

“This young man was shot multiple times while he was on his knees and appeared to be trying to surrender,” Burris said.

Copyright 2020 CapRadio