Small group marches to Clayton to protest policing

Small group marches to Clayton to protest Blake shooting

Small group marches to Clayton to protest policing
Protestors gather peacefully in Clayton on Aug. 29 to demand justice for Jacob Blake and call for an end to police brutality. (Photos: Trevor Henrich)

CLAYTON, CA—About 30 protestors came to downtown Clayton on Saturday night in a call for justice for Jacob Blake, a Black man shot seven times by police in Wisconsin.

The event went on despite obstacles from counter-protestors and the lack of appearance from event organizers.

About 7 p.m. Aug. 29, a few protestors gathered in the parking lot of the Safeway on Kirker Pass Road and Clayton Road to march to the Grove in solidarity with Blake after seeing an online flier from a group called Contra Costa Black Lives Matter.

Protestors held signs reading “Don’t shoot” and “Who do you call when the police murder?” Counter-protestors followed and harassed them, with a video showing someone nearly hitting a protestor with a vehicle in a parking lot and another person shoved in front of Moresi’s Chophouse. There were also hot words exchanged between protestors and restaurant owner Ed Moresi over the Blue Lives Matter flag that hung outside his business.

Clayton Police Sgt. Rich Enea said the police became aware of the protest online and arrived on the scene at 3 p.m. for the scheduled 4 p.m. commencement, even though protestors did not arrive until 7 p.m.

Tempers flare but no violence

Small group marches to Clayton to protest policing“This is one of the more peaceful ones in Clayton. It was good on both sides … no use of force, no arrests and the police had conversations with protestors,” Enea said. “There was some back and forth, a difference of opinion. Nothing like tear gas in June, though. It was a peaceful protest.”

There was no organized rally in the Grove, and Enea said the whole thing lasted less than an hour. He estimated about 30 protesters and a few counter-protesters.

Leaders from Contra Costa Black Lives Matter did not respond to a request for comment, and there seemed to be some confusion about the group at the event.

“I’ve been to more than 30 protests, and that’s the first time I’ve seen anyone claim BLM is an organization,” said local photographer Trevor Henrich. “I know all the local organizers, so I can verify nobody knows who they are either.”

Different visions

While some protestors called for abolishing the police, others had different visions for policing in our country.

Yvette Williams, founder and executive director of Back on Track Community Services, attended the event before the march to the Grove. She believes a reallocation of funds in police departments is necessary for improvement.

“We do need our police, but we need them to be mentally and emotionally equipped to deal with what they face,” she said. “We need to be confident that when we’re pulled over or the police come to our homes, they’re OK. They’re not going to agitate the situation.”