As a crowd that grew to about 200 people gathered in front of Bakersfield Police Department headquarters Saturday evening to protest the Memorial Day killing of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, some people took to the street in a literal sense.
For eight minutes, approximating the time Floyd's neck was held down by a police officer, people lay down, many on their stomachs, and said, "I can't breathe." There was also chanting of "What's his name? George Floyd!"
It was just one aspect of the second day of protests in Bakersfield in the area of H Street and Truxtun Avenue, where people chanted "this is what democracy looks like" and "no justice, no peace."
People drove by honking in support, bringing cheers from the crowd.
Signs bore words ranging from "Justice for Floyd" to "Black Lives Matter every day" to a quote attributed to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: "To ignore evil is to become accomplice to it."
Sirens frequently pierced the chants, and a law enforcement helicopter flew over the area early in the evening.
Eight orange barriers closed off Truxtun Avenue between H Street and Chester Avenue. For about 13 minutes, including when some people lay in the street, the intersection of Truxtun and H was blocked off.
The night appeared peaceful as of The Californian's print deadline. Around 9:10 p.m., some demonstrators shouted at others to keep everything peaceful. At about 9:25 p.m., some people began dispersing, moving east on Truxtun Avenue, away from a line of police officers. That was much the same as the night before. Around 10 p.m., people were congregating at Truxtun and N Street, in front of the Mechanics Bank Arena.
Jesslynn Williams, 18, of Bakersfield, said that for a long time she has wanted to stand up for civil rights, and she admires people who have done that in the past. She was not at Friday's protest, but upon seeing what took place Friday, she went out Saturday. She said she fears police and never feels safe around them.
"However, I feel I have to be here," Williams said.
The assembled protesters took a lap of about two blocks from Truxtun and Eye Street to 18th and H streets shortly after 7 p.m. A leader of the group told the people not to misbehave, because media had "given them a bad name" on Friday by saying some protesters were "rowdy."
"We are being peaceful, including the time we were chest to chest with police," Nuwanda Alejandro, 21, said Saturday, describing the events of Friday.
Friday night ultimately saw the arrest of one person on suspicion of attempted murder after he allegedly drove into a crowd, injuring a 15-year-old girl, and the arrest of 10 others on suspicion of resisting and obstructing officers. Earlier that night, bottles and rocks were thrown at officers, the memorial was vandalized and people did not follow an order to disperse, police said.
Bakersfield police said Saturday night that two people were caught on video vandalizing the memorial. One suspect was seen writing "Kill More Cops" in white paint, police said, while another suspect used a protest sign to attempt to conceal him.
At a distance from the crowd Saturday, two 13-year-old boys were hanging out in front of the police station, saying they were just there to check it out. They both called it "crazy."
One, Marco Moreno, of Bakersfield, said, "Never seen nothing like this."
His companion, Jesus Flores, said, "It's about time that people heard about the police brutality like that."
At about 5:50 p.m., a man who appeared to be painting on the back of the Bakersfield Fallen Officer Memorial was detained, police said.
"It was determined he was painting a sign and released,” Sgt. Nathan McCauley said.
Bouquets of flowers were also seen at the memorial, which had been vandalized during the Friday night protest.
The majority of protesters both nights have been young people, but one woman who was older, Wanda Turner, 55, said she was there for justice for her people. She said she came to a rally once before, for Trayvon Martin. She thought Saturday was organized and peaceful, and was glad to see many young people becoming involved.
"This is necessary, because if you don't protest, it just gets thrown under the rug, it just happens again and again," Turner said. "Hoping we get some sort of results from this."