Story, Photos & Video by Scott Schaefer

A peaceful protest and march – perhaps Kent’s largest ever – filled the streets of downtown on Thursday, June 11, 2020, starting at the Maleng Regional Justice Center and ending outside City Hall.

Organized by Keliesha Lovelace, Kendrick Glover and Jaida Lovelace, the Black Lives Matter protest comprised of a couple thousand people started on the steps of the Justice Center, where several spoke.

The event started with an opening kneel and prayer with Pastor Harvin and Kent Police Chief Rafael Padilla, followed by youth speakers as well as grieving, oftentimes angry family members of local victims of police brutality.

At one point, a cousin of Charleena Lyles – who was killed by Seattle Police in 2017 – verbally attacked Police Chief Padilla to supportive hoots and hollers from the crowd (see around 12:50 in the video below).

“I’m so triggered right now, because I found the police officer … the chief so disrespectful,” Katrina Johnson said. “If you came to listen, listen is all you should’ve done! That was disrespectful! Very disrespectful!”

Katrina Johnson, cousin of Charleena Lyles, verbally attacked Police Chief Padilla on the steps of the Maleng Regional Justice Center.

Other speakers included Kent Mayor Dana Ralph, who had to overcome numerous comments shouted her way as she spoke outside City Hall, Councilmember Brenda Fincher, King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove and state Sen. Mona Das (D-47th).

Also seen outside the Justice Center was King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, who did not speak but carried a sign showing support. Kent Schools Superintendent Dr. Calvin Watts was also present near City Hall.

Far as we know, there were no confrontations with police (other than verbal), nor looting or vandalism during the event. No Kent Police officers were spotted wearing riot gear or anything other than their regular uniforms.

A few businesses took precautions to board up their windows, and most downtown businesses closed around 1 p.m.

The event started at 3 p.m. and we streamed live video on our Facebook page, with over 17,000 views so far (“Like” us here to see future live videos) until our battery died (!) around 5:30 p.m. – watch an edited version below (running time 1:13):

Panoramic photo shows just some the crowd gathered on 4th Ave South outside Kent City Hall.