A tsunami of whistles broke the daily hustle and bustle of City Hall Tuesday as hundreds of protesters gathered inside to protest police violence.
Among those protesters were students from schools around the Bay Area, including Jefferson High, City College, and City Arts and Technology High.
Antoinette Lasher, 17, a student at City College and City Arts and Technology told SFBay:
“They think it’s OK to kill people for no reason, the people need justice.”
Organizers of the Stopmassincarceration network urged students to walk out of school Tuesday and “Stop business as usual.”
Joey Johnson, an event organizer said:
“This is a day that its no business as usual for brutal murdering police.”
In attendance were Refugio and Elvira Nieto, the mother and father of Alex Nieto, killed by SFPD gunfire on Bernal Heights in March of 2014. According to Killedbypolice.net there were 1,100 people killed by police in 2014.
Photos by Phil Houston/SFBay
Ben Bac Sierra, A friend of Nieto’s and City College professor in the English department, said he knew Alex for years and knew his cousin for close to thirty years:
“Alex Nieto was one of my best friends, he was my brother.”
The protest began at the 24th street and Mission Bart station where Johnson, standing in front of a banner with the faces of 48 people killed by police, said:
“Were standing up against police murder, standing up against all of our brothers and sisters who have been murdered in cold blood, unarmed human beings who have been shot down in this country because that’s what we are about stopping here today.”
Protesters marched down Mission Street blowing whistles, that, according to Johnson, symbolized blowing the whistle on police and taking their message up another level, towards the Mission Police station where police were waiting in riot gear for them.
Protesters chanted “cops, pigs, murderers” and “every city, every town has their own Michael Brown” and some wrote the word “pigs” on the walls and ground outside the station.
After a few minutes, police emerged from around the corner and attempted to say something to the protesters but were drowned out by a sea of whistles and chants.
Protesters met police as they exited Mission station in riot gear and with batons in hand, but only a brief shoving match erupted before the protesters moved on down Valencia.
William Pitts, a student at Gateway High School, ditched school Tuesday to be a part of the protest saying:
“People shouldn’t be killed based on their skin color, justice should be fair.”
He also added:
“You are the ones being affected by this and they are the ones who can change it.”
Protesters blocked intersections along the way and were cheered on by honking motorists and people hanging out of windows.
The protesters marched in unison up the steps of City Hall and were met by police, but they made their way into the entrance and some climbed on the security desk chanting and filling the room with the sound of whistles that carried them all the way to those steps.
D’andre Teeter, an organizer of the event, said:
“As long as business as usual involves killing people of color, there should be no business as usual.”