Story and photos by Chris Stone
Fueled by rage over actions in Ferguson, Missouri, as many as 150 people Wednesday night took to the streets of City Heights, blocking traffic briefly and chanting slogans against police brutality.
Clusters of San Diego police officers stood on the sidelines and quietly watched despite obscenities being hurled against them.
A male protester in his 20s who identified himself only as “Tennessee” said: “Tonight’s activity is to bring about awareness and let people know that people are fed up and tired of dealing with nonsense of local police agencies.”
He continued: “The young are seeing people being stopped and harassed for almost no reason. They’re seeing people being shackled, handcuffed and shot in the head.”
Joseph Nieto, another marcher in the 3-hour protest, said, “It’s not right for cops to think they can shoot us as Americans. We want freedom in the community.”
Another protester demanded psychological testing for all police officers and added, “They need to filter the police to make sure ones who care for us actually are working for us.”
Marchers blocked the intersection of Wightman Street and Fairmount Avenue as they walked in circles with signs shouting “Our street.” Police on motorcycles and bicycles remained on the perimeter.
Police Capt. Keith Lucas told U-T San Diego: “It all went smoothly. Our main goal was to make sure no one was hurt in traffic.”
Mostly young marchers took part in what was called the 19th National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation — drawn by Facebook postings and other social media.
It was the latest such protest in San Diego, which included one Aug. 30 “to demand justice for 17-year-old Michael Brown, in solidarity with cities across the nation that are calling for justice in Missouri.”
Protests also were scheduled in Los Angeles, Anaheim, Fresno, Santa Barbara, Oakland and Sacramento — along with dozens of other American cities.
Listed as local organizers were groups such as San Diego District of the International Socialist Organization, Activist San Diego and Students Against Mass Incarceration.
Although the intersection of Wightman and Fairmount was blocked around 8 p.m., no arrests were made, San Diego police Officer Rob Heims said just before 10 p.m. The march ended north of the San Diego Police Department’s Mid-City Division.
Marchers later moved to the nearby park in City Heights Urban Village.
“We Say No More! Black lives matter! Latino lives matter! All lives matter! In October, 2014, our resistance to mass incarceration and police terror must reverberate across the country and around the world. We will NOT be silent! We WILL resist!” said one posting.
The group* known as United Against Police Terror – San Diego was formed in 1999, said a Workers World posting, “when football player Demetrius Dubose was killed by the San Diego Police Department. In that year, CAPB recorded 14 people killed by ‘law enforcement.’”
At the end of the rally, protestors returned to the City Heights park. Using a bullhorn, they shouted demands for better police treatment and obscenities at police who were watching from across the street.
*An earlier version of this story listed the wrong name of the group.