MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A protest in front of the Shelby County Jail blocked a portion of Poplar Avenue Thursday.
Protesters gathered in “Solidarity for Breonna” around noon in the parking lot across from 201 Poplar, first speaking to the media before moving to the street.
“We need justice,” one activist said. “We need it today, we needed it months ago.”
With signs in tow, protesters laid out what they want to see in order to create change.
“The same thing that Louisville is asking for is the same thing that Memphis is asking for since 2016 when we took that bridge,” said organizer Amber Sherman.
Demonstrators took to the streets blocking both directions of Poplar in front of the jail.
Law enforcement officials could be seen standing at the jail doors with riot gear which caused tension.
The protest had heated moments with people of opposing views, but demonstrators say they just want justice for Breonna Taylor and all Black lives.
“In this case we emphasize the beauty and the majesty of black lives here in front of this criminal justice system and this big building that is here to oppress so many poor black people.”
The sentiments of many activists were frustration, exhaustion, and disappointment.
Pyschologist Dr. Karen Streeter said people have every right to be frustrated and angry.
Streeter says many people are experiencing what’s known as “complex trauma” when people go through a certain trauma repeatedly which can often times lead people to question their self-identity.
She encourages anyone who may be experiecing these feelings to talk to someone.
“Express your feelings. Get it out of just running around in your heads,” Dr. Streeter said. “Let it come out of your mouth. Sometimes just being able to say ugh I’m so mad and frustrated, I’m angry and to have someone validate those feelings for you to say yes I hear you, yes this frustrating. No, no it’s not all in your mind.”
The group dispersed around 2 p.m. with another protest planned for 6 p.m. on South Main Street.
This follows similar protests Wednesday night in Memphis and other U.S. cities in response to a Kentucky grand jury’s decision not to charge three Louisville police officers with killing Breonna Taylor. A handful of protesters walked down Beale Street chanting and carrying signs Wednesday night.
A Memphis attorney voiced his opinion on the fact that no charges were filed in the case. Walter Bailey has years of knowledge when it comes to trying police officers, including the landmark Tennessee vs. Gardner case, which barred officers from using deadly force on a fleeing suspect.
Bailey says the Breonna Taylor case is a tough call to make because it depends on how officers perceived the situation. But he added that the officers should have done more surveillance to see who was in the home.
“At that point, it seems to me, that’s where I assess blame on the officers,” said Bailey. “You don’t know whether there’s innocent people in there and yet you just start firing. Now that’s where I think the culpability of the police officers are.”
Tennessee State Sen. Raumesh Akbari, D-Memphis, vowed on Twitter Wednesday to bring forth legislation to do the same in Tennessee.
It’s worth noting that the Memphis Police Department has already banned “no-knock” warrants.