by Chinyere Tutashinda
Emeryville – Activists locked down several entrances to the Emeryville Home Depot to demand answers about the murder of Yuvette Henderson, a 38-year-old Black mother of two children who was shot and killed by the Emeryville Police Department on Feb. 3, 2015, allegedly accused by the store of shoplifting.
Approximately 17 activists from Black Lives Matter, Anti-Police Terrorist Project, Asians4BlackLives and Xicana Moratorium Project chained themselves to multiple store doors, blocking access, as supporters rallied outside. Protesters successfully shut down the store for five hours, the amount of time Yuvette Henderson lay in the street after being shot by police.
“We are here because on Feb. 3, the Emeryville Police Department murdered Yuvette Henderson,” said Carrie Leilam Love, Black liberation activist. “We want the video tapes released so we can find out the truth. We want the officers suspended without pay and we want complete demilitarization of Emeryville Police Department.”
“We are here because on Feb. 3, the Emeryville Police Department murdered Yuvette Henderson,” said Carrie Leilam Love, Black liberation activist.
Eyewitness accounts of Yuvette Henderson’s shooting contradict the statements released by Emeryville police and Home Depot. There has been no clear account of why Home Depot called the police and escalated the situation, especially since Yuvette sustained a head injury in the store and an ambulance was called.
Instead of treating her, police arrived, chased down Yuvette and killed her. Eyewitnesses also saw Yuvette with both hands in the air, waving down a bus. They did not report seeing her with a gun.
Most disturbingly, Yuvette Henderson was shot with three different weapons, one of which was an AR 15 semi-automatic rifle, a military-grade weapon used in war.
“We want the video tapes released so we can find out the truth. We want the officers suspended without pay and we want complete demilitarization of Emeryville Police Department.”
“This is not just about Yuvette Henderson, Mike Brown, Oscar Grant or Eric Garner,” Kharyshi Wiginton with Black Lives Matter said. “Their murders are part of a larger national and global war on Black people. These are not just individual acts; it’s systematic genocide. Today is crucial because the lives of Black women victims of state sanctioned violence go unspoken.”
Protesters are demanding the release of the Home Depot security tapes from the day of the killing. They are also calling to end the use of military style weapons by police and to stop paid leave for officer-involved killings.
A march from the Emeryville Police Department of approximately 150 supporters marched to Home Depot to support the shutdown.
Yuvette’s death was a result of racial profiling. Just two weeks earlier, a white man by the name of Sebastian Ledwick was arrested after shooting at Emeryville police. The police did not fire at him but took him into custody. This was a half a block away from where Yuvette took her last breath.
Yuvette’s murder reinforces the pattern of violence that Black women and young people face at the hands of police. Aiyana Jones, Tarika Wilson, Yvette Smith, Rekia Boyd are just some of the other Black women and young people who have been murdered by police across the country.
Chinyere Tutashinda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Bay View staff contributed to this story.