Demonstrators arrived by the busloads, descending on the California State Capitol Wednesday afternoon to call on Gov. Jerry Brown to support the Racial Profiling and Identity Act, or AB953. Chanting "Shut It Down," hundreds filled the halls outside of the governor's office, blocking access and disrupting daily business.
"We were not going to move and we were not going to allow business as usual to continue to continue at the Capitol," said Rev. Ben McBride, an Oakland based pastor with PICO California.
Protesters locked arms outside of Brown's office refusing to move or let anyone pass as CHP officers stood guard.
"We're here to get Jerry Brown to say that if AB953 passes, he will sign that bill," said Cat Brooks of Oakland. "He says it would take an act from God for him to sign it. Here is his act from God."
AB 953 was introduced by Assem. Shirley Weber, D-San Diego, to help combat racial and identity profiling by law enforcement. According to the ACLU, if the bill is approved it would:
• Update California's definition of racial and identity profiling to be in line with federal recommendations by including other demographic characteristics, such as gender and sexual orientation.
• Require that California law enforcement agencies uniformly collect and report data on stops, frisks and other interactions with the communities they serve.
• Establish an advisory board to analyze stop data and develop recommendations to address problems with disparate policing where they exist.
Currently, AB 953 moved out of the Senate Appropriations Committee and was headed to the Senate floor for a full vote. Demonstrators didn't want to wait for that vote to let Gov. Brown know where they stand.
"Our family members are dying, many of us have been profiled from the time we were 14, 15, 16 years old," McBride said.
"Where I come from, people are racially profiled everyday and there's no data, not nothing and police are getting away with it and it's not right," said Brandy Brown of Los Angeles.
Brown brought her 2-year-old daughter with her to participate in the protest.
"If I'm not going to stand up and fight for her, who is going to stand up and fight for her? Nobody," Brown asserted.
Rose Talivaa of Stockton was at the Capitol to fight for her father, Manutu Nuu. A Stockton police officer shot and killed Nuu in January. His family has filed a suit against the city of Stockton. She was very critical of Gov. Brown and other lawmakers.
"It's just tragic to see how many people are lost," Talivaa said. "Their lives are perfect and they don't see what we see."
"They are like in nice neighborhoods and us, we are in the slums. They get treated different compared to us, we come outside they try to bully us," Talivaa added. "If you guys know what we are going through, you guys would pass this bill."
"Get him on the phone," the protesters chanted outside of Brown's office.
"The people that are locked here together are not planning to go anywhere until Gov. Brown gets on the phone and says he will sign that bill," Brooks said.
"We are planning to sleep here, we are going to make our bed with the bear," McBride shouted.
The standoff between protesters and CHP lasted about three hours. Brown didn't take their call for a meeting, but McBride said they got their point across.
"CHP went back inside the Governor's office and we have called that a victory," he said. "We have brought the power of non-violent energy to the Capitol."
"We are serving notice on all our legislators, this is not a threat but merely a prophetic statement, we are calling on them to do what is right," McBride asserted.
A spokesperson from Brown's office said in a statement, "While we generally do not comment on legislation ahead of action from the Governor, we welcome the voices of Californians on these and other important issues."