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Protesters March Through North Park Demanding Police Reform, Justice – NBC 7 San Diego

In the last 48 hours, San Diegans found out about the murder convictions for former officer Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd, the deadly shooting of a 16-year-old girl by police in Ohio, and the killing of a man by police in Escondido.

Those incidents and countless others like them inspired a protest Wednesday through the streets of North Park. Marchers said they showed up to keep the social justice conversation alive and remind their community that justice is a long way away.

“The day it happens to you, will you say that’s enough?” asked Eddie Alvarez with the Brown Berets.

The protest group, around 100 people, gathered at North Park Community Park before marching peacefully through North Park streets. Chants of “No justice, no peace,” and “Power to the people,” were heard over marching drums.

Signs seen in the marching group referenced Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and also Alfred Olango, a Black man shot and killed by El Cajon police in 206.

Protester Tucker Reed said Wednesday’s march was partly a show of support for the family of Floyd’s family and the families of all those who have lost their lives at the hands of law enforcement.

Tucker, with the Party for Socialism and Liberation, said he’s experienced racial profiling, and said he saw Floyd’s killing, and the killing of other Black people through a familiar lens.

“I grew up in west Massachusetts. I got profiled at 12. It hurts. How many years has this been going on? Emmet Till, Trayvon Martin, Jacob Blake, Tamir Rice. This doesn’t end,” he said.

Many participants acknowledge the guilty verdict for Chauvin as a small victory, but said it alone wouldn’t signal change.

“Either way, there’s still a lot of things to be done. I’m glad that man is going to jail, but on the same day someone else died, and in pretty much the same kind of way, so these things happen every day. We need to come together as a community and do for self. We need to demonopolize the public safety role,” protester Devaughn Walker said.

Alvarez agreed.

“Regardless of the outcome, it doesn’t change the fact of the trauma, it doesn’t change the fact of the pain, it doesn’t change what was already done,” he said.

Walker said he is in favor of taking funds away from law enforcement agencies and putting them toward community-based solutions, and programs that give the public equity in policing and public safety.

“People are dying every day, and we need to figure out how to embolden the community to take upon itself, to do for self, to protect itself, to grow in those roles, and they should be supported if they want to do that,” he said.

Alvarez, who claimed he has been on the wrong side of justice in dealings with police, said he believes change can come with reimagining policing.

“There’s that saying, ‘There are a few bad apples.’ I believe it’s a rotten tree, and no one is willing to kill that rotten tree so there’s going to be a lot more bad apples in that rotten system,” he said.