Protesters march for racial equality in downtown GR

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Demonstrators took the streets of downtown Grand Rapids Friday evening, calling for racial equity within the criminal justice system.

Justice for Black Lives, a Grand Rapids-based organization aiming to make legislative and community-based changes for people of color, hosted the event, called “We Will Not Be Silenced” on Facebook.

The demonstrators met Rosa Parks Circle around 4 p.m. and started to march shortly before 6:30 p.m. They went by the Kent County Courthouse, where officers looked out from inside, then went to Grand Rapids Police Department headquarters. There, Breonna Taylor’s cousin, Tawanna Gordon, led a chant in Taylor’s honor.

Taylor, a Grand Rapids native, was shot and killed by police in Louisville, Kentucky, in March. Earlier this week, a grand jury determined one of the officers involved would face charges of wanton endangerment for blindly firing his weapon, but not for killing Taylor.

The marchers headed back to Rosa Parks Circle shortly after 7 p.m., then marched back to GRPD around 8 p.m.

Hours before the march, city vehicles were moved to block off streets downtown. Grand Rapids officers were also standing guard outside headquarters.