ST. LOUIS – Protesters marched onto Interstate 64 early Thursday evening, temporarily blocking westbound traffic at Jefferson Avenue in Downtown St. Louis. Their actions come in the wake of nationwide protests and demonstrations over the Breonna Taylor case.
The group ExpectUs organized a candlelight vigil outside of St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department headquarters downtown at 6 p.m. to remember the life of Taylor. They walked from police headquarters toward the interstate.
The protesters entered I-64 around 7:30 p.m. and held a moment of silence for Breonna Taylor. They left the interstate by 8 p.m. and marched back to Jefferson Avenue.
Taylor was shot and killed by members of the Louisville Police Department in Kentucky during a March 13 raid on her boyfriend’s apartment. On Wednesday, a Kentucky grand jury charged only one of the officers involved in the raid; however, the officer was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment for shooting into neighboring apartments and not for Taylor’s death.
The decision brought protests across the country and in the St. Louis area as well. On Wednesday evening, six people were arrested for blocking traffic outside the Florissant Police Department. That night, demonstrators blocked roads in Downtown St. Louis before marching to city hall and then to St. Louis police headquarters. Multiple fires were set outside the building and two people were arrested and charged.
In Louisville, two officers were shot during protests there. They are expected to recover. Police have a suspect in custody.
Late Thursday afternoon, Governor Mike Parson declared a state of emergency and activated the Missouri National Guard as a precaution about potential civil unrest. Under an executive order, the governor declared the national guard and the Missouri State Highway Patrol can assist local law enforcement if necessary to protect life and property.