Local activists in The Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP) are seeking answers to what happened between Emeryville police officers and Yuvette Henderson, who was shot down by police on Feb. 3 after being suspected of shoplifting and carjacking.
According to police, Henderson was seen stealing in Home Depot by security officers and later attempted to carjack at least three cars.
According to police reports, she allegedly had a gun and pointed it at police before they fired shots, hitting and killing her on 34th and Hollis streets in Emeryville.
A witness at the scene said Henderson did not appear to be armed as she tried to wave down a bus, news reports have said.
Local activists say if Henderson – a mother of two – was shoplifting, that does not mean a death sentence.
“Our police officers are not judges, juries and executioners,” said Cat Brooks, co-chair of the Onyx Organizing Committee. “If she was breaking a law, she had a right to be taken into the criminal justice system and be processed like everybody else – not that we expect African Americans to find real justice or fair treatment there either – but at least she wouldn’t be dead.”
Last week, the APTP sent letters to Home Depot, Sports Authority, and Extra Space Storage – stores in close proximity to the incident – inquiring about any video footage they had and if it was turned over to police.
Extra Space Storage, where Henderson was killed, did not reply, while Home Depot directed all questions to the Oakland Police Department, Brooks says. Sports Authority said they had no footage of Henderson at all.
The Emeryville and Oakland police departments also received requests to make footage available to the public. Those requests were denied.
The underlying issue is the war on Black lives and, more specifically, the war on Black women and Black trans women, Brooks says.
“Women of color are often invisible victims of state violence. Black women and Black trans women remain victims of a wide range of police terrorism – physical assault, sexual assault and murder,” she said.
On Saturday, Feb. 21 at 10 a.m., APTP will rally at the Emeryville Police Department demanding release of the video footage of the shooting.
The APTP, which is on Facebook, is also raising funds to assist Henderson’s family.
The group meets every third Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Eastside Arts Alliance, 2277 International Blvd. in Oakland.