Just hours after a Kentucky grand jury brought no charges against Louisville police officers for the death of Breonna Taylor, nearly a dozen people gathered at the downtown square in Tyler with protest signs.
“I think it’s time for us to start having conversations,” Jes Adams, of Tyler, said.
She had organized the protest earlier on Wednesday when she made a Facebook post detailing her plans for an evening on the square.
She said the charge against the officer had nothing to do with Taylor’s death.
According to the Associated Press, the only charges filed were three counts of wanton endangerment against fired Officer Brett Hankison for shooting into a home next to Taylor’s.
Adams said there needs to be accountability for police officers and first responders who made a mistake.
“There’s no accountability there,” she said. “We’re not here to fight by any means. I would like the officers to face some repercussions. They made so many errors with this. If we support first responders, we need to support real charges to hold people accountable.”
Following the police-involved death of George Floyd in May, hundreds came to downtown Tyler to speak out against against racism and police brutality. Adams said she’s been walking alongside them ever since.
“This is a really great group of people that want to help,” Adams said. “I’m proud to know them.”
She believes there will be more protests soon, and she emphasized that these gatherings will be peaceful.
“We’re not here to fight people; we’re here to fight for them," Adams said. "We want everybody to have equal treatment. We don’t want to tear up our community; we want to build it up.”
Delia Gray, of Tyler, said Taylor has not gotten justice and she will be out protesting until Taylor does get justice for her death.
“I came out here because I’m fighting for my life and Black people’s lives,” Gray, who is Black, said. “Black lives are human lives and until people realize that it won’t change.”
Gray added that it’s sad to see the same protests happening in 2020 that were going on 100 years ago.
Tyler Russell, of Overton, also came out to protest about the news regarding the Breonna Taylor case. He said he was disappointed in the decision, but not surprised.
Russell, who is a UT Tyler student, said he’s participated in protests regarding various topics recently and has even organized one.
“I think it’s definitely important to get ideas out there,” he said. “It builds a community of people that are willing to fight for something.”
After the announcement of Hankison’s indictment on Wednesday, demonstrators came together in Louisville, where at least one officer was reported wounded in a shooting, and in other parts of the country.
In Tyler, the protest remained entirely peaceful. The rain sent most demonstrators home around 7:30 p.m.