On February 3rd, 2015, Yuvette Henderson was or was not shoplifting as she left Home Depot in Emeryville, CA, a small city nestled between Oakland and Berkeley.
She did or did not have a gun, which she used or didn't use (if she had it) in attempting to either carjack some passing autos or not, or maybe she was flagging down a bus.
What we do know is that some minutes after she left Home Depot she lay dead on an Oakland street, shot at seven times by Emeryville police.
No one is sure what happened or why, for two reasons:
- Video surveillance footage of Henderson inside and near the egress of Home Depot has not been released, as well as any other surveillance footage which might exist.
- Emeryville police, while equipped with body cameras, for some mysterious reason did not have them on when they approached and shot Yuvette.
The Anti-Police-Terror Project of Oakland, CA, called a speakout and march for Saturday, February 21st, in memory of Henderson, in protest of police terror, and in spirit with #BlackLivesMatter. The march began at the Emeryville Police station (which shut down for a couple of hours as protesters rallied!) and proceeded to the Home Depot.
What happened next was well planned, but not announced. Sets of protesters proceeded to block Home Depot's doors, some linking arms with tubing. An altar and a protest tower appeared, and the organizers announced their intention to shut down the big box store for five hours - the time Yuvette's body lay on the street.
Their demands were highly visible:
- Release the tapes!
- No military style weapons for police.
- No paid leave when cops kill.
It's not likely that anyone expected them to be allowed to stay for five hours, but stay they did, with the Emeryville police barely interfering and no arrests. At about 5:00 PM, after the all-afternoon event, victory - in as much as something to protest the death of a young woman killed by police can be called a victory - was declared and achieved.
Below is how it all unfolded, told in tweets and tweetpics.
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