BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer
At 9:15 last night, after a hours-long demonstration over the murder of George Floyd that drew thousands of people to Redwood City, there was one lone protester left blocking the Highway 101 entry ramp from Woodside Road.
In front of him was a line of police officers wearing helmets.
Alejandro, a North Fair Oaks neighborhood resident who declined to give his last name, was the last demonstrator standing at 8:45 p.m. He had been part of a crowd that had been at the Woodside Road location for about three hours after a rally downtown.
The crowd dispersed after Redwood City Policeman Clay Warford kneeled along with protesters.
The crowd had told police that they would leave if at least one of the officers took a knee. Protesters across the country have been asking police to kneel with them as a sign of solidarity.
After everyone left, Alejandro kept kneeling.
He said he goes to college in Minnesota, and during his freshman year, he made friends with black men and women.
“I can’t do much, but I can do this,” Alejandro said, who knelt in front of police officers for the entire three hours that the intersection was blocked.
Ultimately, an officer asked Alejandro “what it would take” to get him to go home and how long he planned to be out.
Alejandro told the officer that since he has work in the morning, the latest he would stay would be 10 p.m.
To which the officer suggested that Alejandro stay for 10 more minutes. And, around 9:15 or so, Alejandro got up and walked home as police officers left the freeway entrance.
Yesterday’s demonstration drew a full police response. Redwood City police got help from officers as far away as Colma. Police said they had received threats of violence, but the protest turned out to be peaceful.
Redwood City police said they had made only one arrest — a young man who had a three-foot-long serrated machete hidden in his protest sign.
The city braced for violence and looting last night, with businesses throughout downtown, most notably on Broadway, boarded up. But at 10 p.m., no boards along Broadway were broken and most of the graffiti spotted were Black Lives Matter slogans, and the names of black men and women killed during interactions with police.
A march down Broadway to the Woodside Road on-ramp followed a two-hour-long rally at Courthouse Square. The rally was started by 14-year-old Tiffany Medrano-Martinez, who circulated a flyer she made on social media over the weekend.
“I thought only 50 people were going to show up,” she said while addressing the crowd of nearly 2,000 yesterday afternoon.
During the two hours, people heard speeches from residents who said the state of policing today is unjust, especially given the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Speakers called for unity between all people, and for the reformation of police into peace officers who help youngsters instead of incriminating them, as one speaker said.
Last night was the second night of protests in the area, with protests occurring on Monday in Palo Alto, Menlo Park and East Palo Alto. Today protests are expected to occur in San Mateo and East Palo Alto.