San Jose protest demands justice after police killing of Demetrius Stanley
San Jose, CA – Protesters gathered at San Jose City Hall, June 1, for a candlelight prayer vigil, as well as a march, after the murder of Demetrius Stanley by the San Jose Police Department. San Jose residents, including the family and friends of Demetrius Stanley, arrived at around 7 p.m. Led by B.L.A.C.K. Outreach and HERO Tent, they introduced the program, explaining what led to the murder of Stanley by SJPD. In addition, they allowed community members to express their anger. One community member stated, “The same laws that allow those pigs to kill us, were written 300 years ago. The whole system has to go.”
SJPD murdered Demetrius Stanley at 9:43 p.m. on Memorial Day night, May 31. Two SJPD officers, dressed in plain clothes and in an unmarked civilian style vehicle, stalked Demetrius Stanley at his home. Stanley had stepped out of his home to move a car when he noticed one of the plainclothes officers. A neighboring security camera footage showed one of the plainclothes officers running away from Stanley’s home, past the unmarked car, down the street and out of sight.
Stanley continued scoping out his neighborhood with his gun drawn, to make sure the suspicious man he just saw wouldn't harm him or his family. Nia Stanley, his niece said, in her speech, “In defense of my family, in defense of me, he went out there to keep us safe.”
As he walked down the street, he noticed the unmarked SUV with tinted windows. Observing that there was someone in the car, who also seemed that they were watching his home, he had every right to be suspicious and fearful of these two strangers that were stalking him and his family. Stanley approached the unmarked police vehicle with his gun in hand to ward them off; then to the door of the car, to confront those in the car. The door swung open and the officer drew his gun at him, whilst still not announcing his identity as a police officer.
Stanley, startled and scared for his life, raised his gun to shoot, but before he could, the police had shot him three times, killing him and leaving him to bleed out on the street for six hours. After killing him, SJPD stormed his home, handcuffing his girlfriend, uncle and his grandmother while Stanley’s body was still lying on the street. The police had wrecked the inside of his home while doing the illegal search. According to his family, they were only given a search warrant at 1 a.m., after the SJPD handcuffed his family and ransacked their house.
At the vigil, protesters had placed their candles and flowers for Demetrius Stanley, and a moment of silence was taken. Shortly after, at around 7:45 p.m., organizers announced that they would be leading a march from San Jose City Hall to the San Jose Police Station. With over 300 people, protesters were able to take the nearby Highway 87, blocking traffic for several minutes, on the way to the police station. Protesters chanted, “No justice! No peace! No racist police!” “Black lives matter!” and “Say his name! Demetrius Stanley!” as they made their message heard to other San Jose locals.
Protesters arrived at the SJPD police station around 8:45 p.m. As the huge crowd of protesters gathered outside the police station, chants continued. There were demands by protesters and organizers for abolition of the police, as well as the jailing of Demetrius' killer cop. At one point, protesters broke out into song for several minutes, singing, “No justice! No peace! Take it to the streets and fuck the police!” The San Jose Police Department, however, is, unsurprisingly, filled with cowards, as none of them came out of the police station to address the protesters' questions nor their demands.
After the chanting subsided, speeches were given by Demetrius' family, including his niece, Nia Stanley, who said Demetrius was her “best friend.” She states, “I would like the bastards who killed my uncle, my best friend, the only reason that I stayed in this state, to bring their coward faces out so I can see the men who allowed my uncle to bleed and die on the street I called home for so long! But they will not do that, because they're cowards. They hide behind guns! They hide behind bulletproof vests! They hide behind a badge and a title! They are nothing!”
She thanked protesters for coming out to demand justice, adding, “He's not alone now, even in death because of all of you standing here today, have shown that you cared about a man who lost his life too soon.” She continued by denouncing the origins of police and their training that only escalates situations. She called on protesters, “In the name of Demetrius, my uncle, I ask that we never stop fighting. Fighting for all the thousands of Black lives that have been lost, that have been taken by the ones who do nothing but support this system that has kept us under since we were brought here on ships! They will pay, even if it means that I fight for the rest of my life, they will pay.”
After an hour of gathering outside the police station, protesters marched back to San Jose City Hall to disperse, while playing loud songs down the street, such as Revolution by Kirk Franklin.