Black Lives Matter rally blocks 405 Freeway in Inglewood

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A Black Lives Matter rally attracted hundreds of protesters in Inglewood Sunday, blocking traffic in front of Randy’s Donuts and briefly shutting down the 405 Freeway, according to local television and media reports.

The rally started as a regular meeting of a group that identified as the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter but soon spilled out into the streets.

About 100 people began gathering on the freeway at about 9:50 p.m., according to the California Highway Patrol.

At some point all lanes were blocked and traffic was stopped, but officers were able to get the lanes cleared by 10:47 p.m., CHP Officer Edgar Figueroa told KPCC.

The incident was handled peacefully, with no injuries, no arrests, and no damages, Figueroa said.

In all, several hundred protesters gathered at Inglewood City Hall, where they expressed anger over the recent fatal police shootings of Philando Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Louisiana, NBC LA reports.

Actor Kendrick Sampson, who has had recurring roles on "How to Get Away With Murder" and "The Vampire Diaries," shared video and photos from the scene:

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“We stand up as a people united, not by race — as people,” Irvine resident Daniel Fisher told NBC LA.

“I’m here because I’m black. I’m mad. I’m tired of slayings in streets. I’m tired of numbers,” said Fontana resident Kirsten Goudeau.

The protest was reportedly peaceful. It was one of several throughout Southern California on Sunday.

Earlier in the afternoon, hundreds gathered in Pan Pacific Park in Los Angeles for an event that felt more like a group therapy session than a protest.

As people of all races and ethnicities stood in a circle, they shared their thoughts on the deaths of Sterling and Castile, along with the Dallas police killings.

Then Millie Chung, addressing the crowd, asked the question on many people's minds: "What can we do?"

A variety of responses could be heard: Demilitarize the police. Don't send police officers to places where they're afraid to enforce the law. Hold a pancake breakfast, so members of Black Lives Matter and police officers can connect from a place of love.

"I just felt frustrated," Chung said later. "I felt like this has happened a lot, and I didn't feel like just feeling sad was enough."

The feeling of frustration — and needing to do something to end police violence against people of color — was on a lot of participants' minds.

Several hundred people gathered at Pan Pacific Park in LA to discuss the recent shootings by police and shootings of Dallas police.
Several hundred people gathered at Pan Pacific Park in LA to discuss the recent shootings by police and shootings of Dallas police. Rebecca Plevin/KPCC

"What we can do is not be afraid to talk about it," Rochelle Brown said. Once the gathering in the park ended, she and others marched and chanted through the streets near The Grove shopping center, as people in cars honked their horns in support.

Like Chung, Brown said she was motivated to participate because she was, "just getting sick and tired of hearing the same stories and nothing seems to be done."

Atiya Strothers offered one idea for how to change things: "I think that every person has a platform and everybody needs to use that platform for justice," she said. That justice, she added, is for all people.

For Talia Hess, that platform is voting. She's asking lawmakers to stop gun violence and support equal rights. She said she needs to see this change soon.

"My wife and I are having our first child, and the way that the world is now, it's just not good enough," Hess said. "It's not the world I want to bring him into."

Their son is due in October. A group of Black Lives Matter supporters will meet again in Pan Pacific Park next Sunday at 5 p.m.

The group that rallied in Inglewood planned to demonstrate outside of L.A. Police Headquarters on Tuesday morning.

This story has been updated.

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