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Joshua Stinson speaks to the crowd on the steps of the Chapel on the University of Georgia’s North Campus during a protest on Sept. 25, 2020 in Athens, Georgia. The protest and march moved around multiple locations in the city as students marched for the Black Lives Matter movement. (Photo/ Kathryn Skeean, kskeean@randb.com)

Over 200 protesters took to the streets of downtown Athens — extensively interrupting Friday evening’s vehicle traffic — in response to the court verdict in the police shooting of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, a Black woman.

Taylor was fatally shot after three Louisville, Kentucky police officers broke into her apartment while executing a no-knock warrant in March. 

Earlier this week, a grand jury charged one of the officers with three counts of wanton endangerment for the shots he fired into the neighboring apartment’s wall. The other two officers were not indicted. 

“It hurt me. It really hurt me. I didn’t believe it. I didn’t believe the walls got justice before she did. They charged for the shots they missed, not the ones they hit,” student protest organizer Joshua Stinson said to The Red & Black. “So we had to try to band together and try to show something, because what else are we supposed to do?”

Stinson and other organizers weren’t operating as an organization or group, he said. The students made a list of demands for the Athens-Clarke County government and the University of Georgia administration, which includes calling for UGA President Jere Morehead’s resignation and shifting resources and funding away from the ACC Police Department and toward community resources.

The protesters spent the majority of the two-hour demonstration standing on the concrete median strip in front of the UGA Arch loudly shouting chants and holding signs calling for racial justice and marching around the downtown area in front of several cars and passersby.

Upon seeing some white, college-age students riding in the back of a pick-up truck that had stopped moving due to the congested traffic, protester Quin Thomas approached the group and attempted to get them to say Breonna Taylor’s name. Thomas said the group wouldn’t say her name. 

“They [were] giving looks and recording [the protest]. You could tell they were not taking it as seriously,” Thomas, a third-year political science major said. “Can you not even say her name?”

The crowd marched to the UGA Chapel and took a knee in a moment of silence for Taylor and other victims of police brutality. Stinson invited protesters to speak to the crowd, prompting District 2 Commissioner Mariah Parker to address the protesters.

“The system that we currently have could never bring justice for Breonna Taylor,” Parker said. “Even if they were to send those men to jail for the rest of their lives, it would not stop it from happening again. And so we must demand not just reform, but replacement of the system we have today.”

On the Chapel steps, Stinson announced to the crowd that organizers are hosting another protest next week and hoped it would generate a larger turnout. He  implored the audience to invite friends to the next protest, which will take place on Milledge Avenue. 

Arianna Mbunwe, a third-year political science major, said she was sadly unsurprised by Taylor’s verdict but glad that people came out to protest against it. 

“I’m kind of disappointed more white allies didn’t show up for us. It’s the same white people who show up every time, and I’m thankful for that,” Mbumwe said. “But I wish more people would have come out, and I can’t wait to see people out [on] Milledge next week.”

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(4) comments

D Richard

Truly, her death was a tragic accident.

But, what’s not being made clear is the reason why the judge approved “no knock warrant” was authorized. Breonna and her boyfriend had been under investigation dating back to 2016 for drug related sales activities. Her primary role was aiding and abetting his activities via allowing him to use her apartment for drug deliveries and some transactions. The police have multiple recordings of their (Breonna and her former boyfriend) conversations discussing these activities. After the judge approved the warrant, the police acted as required in conducting the raid. It was very unfortunate that her current boyfriend fired a shot at the police and they then returned fire. She was shot in the crossfire. Lessons to be learned...don’t commit crimes, obey police when confronted, don’t resist arrest, fight police, or shoot at police. Otherwise, the results are seldom favorable. Sad but true.

wjabbe

Law Student Tara Baker was murdered in Athens January 19,2001 almost 20 years ago. Art Student Jennifer Stone was murdered in Athens, GA over 28 years ago in Athens in her apartment behind the Bus Station. Neither of these horrible crimes have been solved. Isn’t the time long overdue for authorities to release all information on them to citizens and give others a chance for a change? Winfield J. Abbe, Ph.D., Physics citizen for 54 years.

JDMoose1 Grady96

Make sure your facts are correct. Based on the KY AG's report, some of the "facts" in this article are not factual regarding the incident itself. Just from one journalist to another, check first hand sources whenever possible.

It is sad what happened to Brionna Taylor. It is also sad the circumstances that led the police to her door in the first place. God bless her family, and also, God bless those cops for doing their jobs. On that note, who is holding protests for "don't shoot at cops when they come to an accused criminal and another felon's door?"

ALL OF THIS is horrible. and has to stop. All the way around.

ok

Is there a reason you chose not to mention the key fact that Taylor's boyfriend fired the first shots in the encounter? Regardless of whether the boyfriend's act was justified self-defense, given the narrative that this was a racially motivated incident, it is clearly a relevant detail.

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