The Bakersfield Police Department is asking anyone who was a victim of an attack during Friday night's demonstration for Breonna Taylor to report it to the department for investigation.
The protest was organized by the local activist group Black Lives Matter Kern. It started at 5 p.m. in front of the Bakersfield Police Department on Truxtun Avenue.
At around 7:30 p.m., a parade of trucks, many with Trump 2020 flags, drove by the protesters several times before stopping. The counter-protesters then got out of their trucks, jumped the barricades and started chanting “USA, USA.”
Bakersfield Police Sergeant Robert Pair said the riot police were called in to disperse the crowd after fights occurred.
“There were multiple fights that broke out that we were monitoring via CCTV and we saw there was potential for violence on both sides,” Pair said. “And it appeared that several subjects were injured and that forced us to respond.”
But Pair said there were no serious injuries. When riot police arrived at the corner of Truxton and Chester Avenue, the counter-protesters immediately dispersed.
Police said force was not used to move the crowds but police did declare over a loudspeaker that the protest was an unlawful gathering due to the violence. Two people were arrested for not cooperating when police asked them to disperse. They were later released.
The department said in a statement Saturday, it will “investigate and pursue criminal charges against anyone engaging in criminal behavior.”
“Every person is afforded the opportunity to express their views in a peaceful manner,” the statement said. “The ability to peacefully protest is a fundamental right to everyone in this country and is a cornerstone of our democracy.”
Twenty-year-old Malia Jackson was one of about 100 protesters who came out to honor Breonna Taylor. Jackson said she was also there to shine a spotlight on injustice in Kern County.
“I feel like being out here and protesting is the only way to get their eyes open and their ears open so that something can happen and justice can be served,” Jackson said.
Others echoed her sentiment drawing back to a June Black Lives Matter protest where a driver hit a protester who died a few days later.
Carrington Prichett, 20, said he doesn’t think the Bakersfield Police Department has a good relationship with the black community.
“It’s not healthy,” Prichett said. “I told my friend I get nervous when a police officer drives beside me or I’m in the same presence as one in Bakersfield.”
Several counter-protesters declined to comment.