Justice march shuts down Pacific Avenue

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Dionne Smith Downs speaks about her hopes for awareness to come from the march that strength along a large portion of Pacific Avenue. PHOTO BY KATHERINE GREY

Protesters marching against police brutality shutdown Pacific Avenue near the Delta College campus for a couple hours Tuesday.

Dionne Smith Downs speaks about her hopes for awareness to come from the march that strength along a large portion of Pacific Avenue. PHOTO BY KATHERINE GREY
Dionne Smith Downs speaks about her hopes for awareness to come from the march that stretched along a large portion of Pacific Avenue. PHOTO BY KATHERINE GREY

More than 50 marchers, which included families who lost loved ones to police brutality, student activists and concerned citizens in the community, who wanted their voices heard on this national matter.

“No justice! No peace!” was chanted by the crowd.

Dionne Smith Downs, mother to James Rivera Jr. who was killed by members of the Stockton Police and San Joaquin County Sheriff’s department after a high-speed chase through Stockton in 2010, led the group.

Downs said police brutality in the city of Stockton needs to stop.

“I know my city is asleep. If my city was awake, I wouldn’t even be marching today because I would have already been educated to educate my children that police terrorism is real,” she said.

Downs clutched a poster board that displayed her son’s death certificate, autopsy report and photos of the scene where he was killed while marching.

“I have not just been in Stockton. I have been traveling, getting my son’s story out and gaining support from more organizations on how to deal with this cancer that is going on. This cancer will kill if you don’t get the root of it,” Downs said, expressing discontent with recent and past police shootings.

As protesters made way down Pacific Avenue, Stockton Police dispatched officers to control oncoming traffic to prevent accidents.

The march shut down several intersections including Pacific Avenue and Robinhood Drive, Pacific and Yokuts Street, Pacific  and March Lane and Pacific and Alpine.

“The police department had information there may be a demonstration today and we had officers monitoring the event. Our department balances public safety and the right to assemble and freedom of speech. Traffic officers provided traffic control so there would be no major traffic congestion in the area for uninvolved vehicles and pedestrians,” said Stockton Police Department’s Public Information Officer Joe Silva in a news release.

Emotions ran high as protesters took turns using the bullhorn microphone. One female protester held onto the arm of Downs as she cried out for the city to protect children and to stop gun violence.

Onlookers, nearly blending in with the protest crowd, lined the sidewalk near Weberstown Mall and watched as the procession gained more numbers and ground.

Not all took to the protest kindly. Bottles were thrown from passing cars in the protesters direction at the intersection of Robinhood and Pacific.

Not discouraged, the marchers carried on until finding a resting spot at Eden Park, located behind the S-Mart store near the University of Pacific campus. Those who protested were treated to a barbecue lunch donated by other members.