PHOTOS: Richmonders protest grand jury decision in Breonna Taylor case

Richmond police stand in a line along Grayland Avenue as protesters gather outside of the department's Third Precinct building. Photo by Jon Mirador

Katharine DeRosa, Staff Writer

Demonstrators in Richmond took to the streets Wednesday in a “Justice for Breonna Taylor” march that lasted hours and winded past several neighborhoods and two police buildings. 

Following a Louisville, Kentucky, grand jury decision to bring no charges against police for Taylor’s death, a flyer for the Richmond protest circulated on social media.

Protesters met at Monroe Park at 8 p.m. before marching down Main Street toward the Richmond Police Department’s Third Precinct building in the Randolph neighborhood. 

Once RPD officers arrived at the demonstration outside the precinct — in riot gear and with several paddy wagons — protesters moved north through the Fan neighborhood.

“Out of your house, into the streets,” the group chanted.

Prosecutors said Louisville police shot Taylor during a drug raid in March. One officer, who has since been fired, was indicted on “wanton endangerment” charges. Grand jurors found the detective risked the lives of three of Taylor’s neighbors while shooting into her apartment.

A Richmond protester, who wished to be identified as Jay, said Taylor’s case should be appealed and that the officers involved in her death should be held accountable. Jay said this protest was smaller than some of the city’s summer demonstrations, but he felt the same energy within the crowd.

“We’re not asking to be more,” Jay said. “We’re asking to be equal.” 

Richmond resident Amanda Okani said she’s participated in Black Lives Matter protests since they began in the city. She said she felt uncomfortable going to work and not protesting police violence.

“I came out when I just had enough,” Okani said.

Taylor Maloney, president of VCU’s Student Government Association, led chants throughout the night using a megaphone.

Maloney said she saw several new faces at the protest, particularly VCU students. She believes the increase in interest was due to support for Taylor becoming a trending topic on social media. 

“I’m hoping there’s more sustainable, organized and righteous outreach,” Maloney said.

Students in Gladding Residence Center overlook protesters in Monroe Park as they march down Main Street. Photo by Jon Mirador

After leaving the Third Precinct building, protesters marched east on Broad Street toward the RPD’s headquarters on Grace Street.

Demonstrators faced off for hours at the headquarters building with RPD and Virginia State Police officers, most of whom wore riot gear. Police appeared to detain at least one person before leaving the area at around 3 a.m., outlasted by a dwindling crowd of demonstrators gathered on sidewalks and in the street.

Interactions between protesters and police at the headquarters led to multiple “unlawful assembly” declarations over the summer, as well as the use of tear gas and pepper spray. 

Protesters gather in Monroe Park around 8 p.m. on Wednesday after flyers stating “Justice for Breonna Taylor” circulated online. Photo by Jon Mirador
One of the many homemade signs seen at the march reads: “My mama said if one fight, we all fight.” Photo by Jon Mirador
One protester in a group of about 200 people holds a sign reading “Black Lives Matter” as the crowd moved through Richmond’s Fan District. Photo by Jon Mirador
Bike marshals, who have been consistently present since protests began in May, block vehicles from entering the road while demonstrators march on Wednesday. Photo by Jon Mirador
Crowd members, many wearing VCU attire and “Black Lives Matter” t-shirt, move through Richmond’s Fan District on Wednesday night. Photo by Jon Mirador
Cars followed protesters and honked and the demonstration moved away from the Richmond Police Department’s Third Precinct building. Photo by Jon Mirador
A person uses their iPhone to record demonstrators from a sunroof in a passing vehicle. Photo by Jon Mirador
Police in riot gear stand and face protesters outside of the Third Precinct building. Photo by Jon Mirador

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