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RPD Chief Chris Magnus, left, and Mayor-elect Tom Butt, right, showed support at a peaceful protest organized by the RYSE Center. (Photo by Bonnie Chan)

In Richmond, solidarity with victims of violence in Ferguson and New York breaks boundaries

on December 9, 2014

Once she read the news on Facebook, Jamaya Walter knew she was going to miss school the next day.

The 17-year-old skipped class for what she thought would be a “historic” day in her city, and rushed to make “I can’t breathe” and “hands up” signs.

“I had my mom come pick me up and bring me to the RYSE center to protest because Black lives do matter,” Walter said. “I’d rather put my education at risk than miss this.”

Working with less than 12 hours to prepare, the RYSE Youth center organized a solidarity action to stand with Ferguson, MO for four-and-a-half hours, the amount of time Michael Brown’s body was left in the street after the unarmed teen was shot and killed by a police officer.

With national protests erupting over the non-indictment of the police officers involved in the Brown and Eric Garner cases, Richmond served as a rare example of a peaceful protest on Tuesday. More than 100 people joined the protest, holding signs or their hands up in surrender – like some witnesses said Brown was doing before being shot – and drawing approving honks from cars passing by.

In recent days, neighboring Berkeley witnessed protests turned violent with windows smashed and trash cans lit on fire, as well as alleged police brutality. Spates of violence have also marred demonstrations in Oakland.

There was no violence at the Richmond protest.

“We felt that Richmond was too silent on this issue,” said Kimberly Aceves, RYSE’s executive director. “And we felt that it was our role as a youth center to come out and show solidarity, both with Ferguson, but also with the young people in this community who feel the impact daily.”

With Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech blaring in the background, supporters, armed with black armbands, lined Macdonald Avenue holding signs and chanting “Richmond Rises” and “no justice, no peace.”

Many community leaders, from outgoing Mayor Gayle McLaughlin to Mayor Elect Tom Butt and Police Chief Chris Magnus, took their place in the line.

Holding a “#blacklivesmatter” sign, Magnus made sure to attend Tuesday’s solidarity action for a full four hours even though it meant letting his work pile grow.

“We support people’s rights to peacefully protest. We have a lot of respect for all lives in our community, black, brown, everyone,” Magnus said. “Our goal is to promote and build the strongest relationships possible between the police and the community.”

But for Councilman Jael Myrick, who was joined by his brother, the message hit closer to home.

“I am here as a young black male myself, who has been watching for years and years, as society is basically telling young black men that we’re not human,” Myrick said.

The protest brought together all facets of Richmond’s community, even prompting the RYSE Center’s Palestinian American next-door neighbors to buy bottled water for all the supporters because he understood their cause.

The day served as a source of pride for George Mitchell, a young Richmond resident who attends the RYSE Center’s programs.

“I wanted to lend my voice. I’m proud of people coming together in Richmond,” said the 24-year old. “And we are doing it peacefully and so I am real proud of that.”


  1. John Spartan on December 9, 2014 at 11:34 pm


  2. Janie Trafton on December 10, 2014 at 4:47 am

    The Golden Rulers!

  3. Ann C on December 10, 2014 at 7:52 am

    Chief Magnus, seeing you stand there with a #BlackLivesMatter sign makes me so very proud to be a Richmond resident. Thank you for your continued strong leadership! We’re so fortunate to have you here in Richmond.

    • John Spartan on December 10, 2014 at 8:41 am

      Violation of Penal Code Section 830.95!! Also violates any trust he had from Police Officers at Richmond PD!!

      • Danica Von Hartwig on December 10, 2014 at 8:50 am

        As far as I understand it- penal code 830.95 only prohibits picketing in related to a refusal to work or any other un-authorized picketing. Seems to me Magnus was clearly within his rights…

        830.95. (a) Any person who wears the uniform of a peace officer while engaged in picketing, or other informational activities in a public place relating to a concerted refusal to work, is guilty of a misdemeanor, whether or not the person is a peace officer.
        (b) This section shall not be construed to authorize or ratify any
        picketing or other informational activities not otherwise authorized by law.

        • John Spartan on December 10, 2014 at 9:10 am

          Look at the big brain on Danica…people missed work and kids missed school!! Bottom line it was wrong but hey he got on CNN!!

  4. Anthony Alan on December 10, 2014 at 11:22 am

    When blacks stop killing blacks over drugs, gang turf and other stupid reasons, at a far much greater rate than white police officers do, then maybe the white police officers will value the lives of all the same way.

    Secondly, the Ferguson and Staten Island cases are entirely different and should not be used as the norm of “police brutality or murder.”

    I never had a fear of the police even during the few times that I may have been “profiled.” I was polite and respectful to them and they were the same in return.

    One more thing. All the autopsy reports, showed that Michael Brown did NOT have his hands up when he was shot. So stop with this incorrect posturing as a symbol that he was surrendering.

    Please read all the evidence submitted to the grand jury for yourself and NOT believe what you hear second hand, especially from the “news media.”

    • deprogrammed on December 10, 2014 at 5:52 pm

      1. A grand jury hears only one side of any argument. If it were you, wouldn’t you stack the deck in your favor, since it is your job to win?

      2. I’m so glad you were polite. You were also lucky. Your experience is both limited and not at all universal. Did you ask if you were stopped for cause?

      3. The autopsy showed no such thing. Where did your information come from?

      4. What about Oklahoma City? Columbine? You make no such irrational, impossible requirements on others, but if we expect to be able to go outside without being in danger from those in authority we must first eliminate crime among ourselves? Really? White people kill white people, and no one considers it a trend; after all, did they all go helter-skelter because Charles Manson did? What about Oklahoma City? Columbine? Was it OK for Gianluigi Ferri to kill all those people at 101 California because white-on-white crime hadn’t been eliminated? For real? Why would you even come up with that lame excuse? An excuse is a lie trying to go legit and your reasoning (if we can call it that) was weak. weak. weak.

      To sum it up – if I fight with my folks at home, that does NOT mean it’s OK for the neighbors to jump in. I have enough to do cleaning up my own mess; I don’t need theirs too.

      • Anthony Alan on December 10, 2014 at 6:27 pm

        1) So what evidence in Ferguson that wasn’t presented to the grand jury? Where are all the witnesses or other evidence that was left out?

        Please show me where to find it.

        2) Luck had nothing to do with it! My experience spans 50 plus years, at least four different states and 3 countries!
        You make it sound like all white police officers mistreat all blacks. No, your position is NOT universal.

        3) Read the evidence presented to the GJ. Its available online. Read it! If the autopsy reports showed his hands were up as if he was surrendering, why hasn’t the feds filed charges? They viewed the same information and did their own autopsy. They have not issued one word contradicting the GJ verdict.

        4) Of course whites kill whites, brown kill brown, etc and so on. The only time blacks get all bent out of shape is when a white kills a black.

        Did you know that a black police officer in Salt Lake City killed an unarmed white teenager the same week that Brown was killed in Ferguson? No up roar there. No calls of racism there.

        How about the black police officer that killed a unarmed white student in Alabama? Did you hear about that one? Of course not, because the media and the Sharptons don’t care about those cases of “police murder.”

        I am sure you are helping “cleaning up” your house in Chicago, DC, Detroit, and other cities where the killings of blacks is ignore by the media and president.

        No your reasoning that all white police are corrupt and only want a chance to kill a black male is weak.

        But everyone has a right to their opinion. But you don’t have the right to make up your own facts.

        To everyone else, don’t take my word it, do your own research into the incidents I mentioned and read the GJ evidence for yourself!

  5. […] in Oakland stands in contrast to a peaceful protest against police violence held in Richmond on Tuesday, which drew the participation of Richmond Police Department Chief Chris Magnus, Mayor Gayle […]

  6. John Spartan on December 10, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    Mr. Alan 2 – Deprogrammed 0

  7. John Spartan on December 10, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    Deprogrammed – Brown and Garner have nothing to do with Columbine or Oklahoma City and your reference makes no sense.

    FACT – Brown and Garner broke the law and were lawfully being arrested.

    FACT – Browns DNA was located on officers gun which proves Brown was trying to take gun away from officer.

    FACT – Browns blood trail from first gunshots show Brown walking away from officer and then stop, turn around and approach officer.

    The above are facts that can not be disputed but facts no one wants to talk about.

    Brown and Garner were both being lawfully arrested and it is a tragedy they died but if the would have submitted to the lawful arrest they would still be alive today.

    These are not two people the a African American Community should protesting for!!

  8. John Spartan on December 11, 2014 at 10:04 am

    Last night in Oakland a black California Highway Patrol undercover officer was identified as an officer by persons protesting in the crowd. He was physically assaulted by a black male and a white female. So…I guess # black lives matter but not black police officers lives matter!!!

    • John Spartan on December 11, 2014 at 10:07 am

      Semany Gashaw I challenge you do write a story on the assault on the officer!!

      • oaklandite on December 11, 2014 at 10:57 pm

        The officer who was outed and subsequently pulled a gun wasn’t black. He was a CHP officer under cover and by accounts he was encouraging people to throw rocks, setting protesters up for a violent reaction.. He was not assaulted, he pushed someone and that person pushed back.

        • John Spartan on December 12, 2014 at 2:27 am

          WRONG!!! I was there and you are not even close to the truth but that does not stop you from saying half truths and flat out lies!! The black officer was attacked from the back by a coward who ran up behind him and punched him in the back of the head. After the black officer fell to the ground a white female kicked him in the head. The Black officers partner then came to his assistance, first displaying his baton and then firearm. The coward was arrested and officer was not seriously hurt.

          And by saying “by accounts” does NOT make it true and is a gross in justice!! Oaklandite think before you type and stop spreading the propaganda! !

  9. Richard E. Stollings on December 11, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    What about the Richmond Police Officer shooting of a person in Richmond? Let’s talk about that police officer shooting.

  10. Stu Pidazzo on December 12, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    What a complete mess. Let’s start with the RYSE center. A socialist, anarchist indoctrination center for juveniles. A mini militant training center. How fitting that the “protest” was held just feet away from it.

    It is rumored that the chief of police is slated to be on a committee to determine if Ferguson, Mo will be subject to some degree of federal oversight due to alleged abuses in that police department. How can the chief provide fair and impartial discourse when he is collaborating with anti American, anti police militant protestors? He is certainly aligned with the RPA. Gayle stands feet away from the chief with her hands up. Gayle’s influential heroes are the likes of Che Guevara, Hugo Chavez and Black Panthers. One must wonder if Gayle will insist that those who disagree with her and the chiefs views be subject to the same fate as those who resisted Che Guevara’s rule. Will they be lined up and executed by firing squads? Will the chief hold signs to “protest” this?

    What an embarrassing mess. Welcome to Richmond comrades.

  11. […] with less than 12 hours to prepare, the RYSE Youth center in Richmond organized a solidarity action to stand with Ferguson, Missouri. The action lasted 4½  hours, the amount of time Michael Brown’s body was left in the […]

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