‘Black Lives Matter' Protesters Shut Down Southbound I-15

Hundreds of "Black Lives Matter" protestors marched through the streets of City Heights Friday night, shutting down southbound Interstate 15 at University Avenue.

The protest follows a series of marches across the country and in San Diego after two black men were shot and killed by police in Minnesota and Louisiana. 

Alton Sterling, 37, was killed in Baton Rouge after being shot by two police officers. Authorities said he was armed. In Minnesota, Philando Castile, 32, was shot and killed by an officer during a traffic stop on July 6.

Friday night's march shut down local businesses and part of I-15.

When asked about inconveniencing others for their cause, protester Katrina Anderson said: “Many people are inconvenienced by the cause we’re fighting for. Being harassed by police and unnecessary violence, a few more minutes of their inconvenience is worth everyone’s life.”

The marchers also staged a sit-in on Fairmount Street in front of the City Heights Precinct police station.

The group was calling for San Diego Police Department (SDPD) Chief Shelley Zimmerman to hear their concerns and to highlight the shooting deaths of people of color killed by police in America.

In addition to Castile and Sterling, the group also marched for Hispanic teenager Pedro Erick Villanueva, shot and killed by police near Los Angeles. 

Marchers said the culture of how police treat people of color needs to change. 

“I want everyone to be treated fairly across the board,” explained Sammie Scales. I don’t want my heart rate to change when the police pull up behind me. I don’t want to get nervous.”

“Current police brutality and people being murdered by police recently is not a matter of individual decisions by police acting rationally and according to procedure,” said Jordan Mills, a member of the Party for Socialism and l Liberation and a college professor.

“We think it's built into the system. That, in fact, there is structural racism in the United States,” Mills added.

Despite some tense moments with obscenities directed toward police, officers said there didn’t appear to be any arrests made. 

It was a peaceful demonstration that made a big impact.

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