Anti Police-Terror Project Holds Rally and Vigil for Yuvette Henderson

February 21st, 2015

(Oakland) – In the early afternoon of Tuesday, February 3rd, Yuvette Henderson, a 38 year old mother of two children, was shot and killed by the Emeryville Police Department on the Oakland-Emeryville border. Concerned that Ms. Henderson was killed because she was a Black woman and that police agencies are involved in a massive cover-up, the Anti Police-Terror Project will hold a rally and march on February 21st at 10:00 am at the Emeryville Police Department. 

Officers shot Yuvette Henderson in response to a report from Home Depot regarding an alleged theft where the suspect appeared to be armed. Police originally stated that officers were “advised (emphasis added) that the suspect was armed with a gun. The officers discharged their weapons striking the suspect.” This statement, issued at the time with authority, has since been edited out of original media reports. Now, the police state they asked Yuvette Henderson to drop her weapon and when she refused, they shot and killed her. Police have never stated Yuvette Henderson pointed a gun at them. Yuvette Henderson fired no shots. 

The officers responsible for her death are Michelle Shepard and Warren Williams. Both are still being paid while investigated. Warren Williams was wearing a body camera which was turned off during the shooting. Yuvette was shot by three weapons, including an AR-15 rifle – a military-grade, automatic weapon; the same weapon used by the United States military in wars throughout the world. 

After investigation, the Anti-Police Terror Project is concerned that the dissemination of information to the public and the media is inaccurate and misleading. Eyewitness testimony collected by the APTP has also raised serious questions about officer conduct. 

Black women are often the invisible victims of police terror. In the shadows, they are consistently devalued, criminalized, and abused by police. Yuvette was killed while being a Black woman. She is not alone; Tarika Wilson, Yvette Smith, Rekia Boyd, Aiyana Jones – just to name a few. And Black trans women throughout the country are being profiled as sex-workers, sexually assaulted, and raped by police officers. 

Two weeks before Yuvette Henderson was killed and half a block away, a white man named Sebastian Ledwick fired on police officers. Ledwick’ was not victim to an extra-judicial execution. In fact Emeryville police responded by not firing a shot and retreating. Ledwick was apprehended, not killed. It seems that the threat posed by a Black woman cornered-in in a parking lot is less than the threat posed by a white male, firing deadly shots at a police officer. 

Yuvette Henderson was killed within feet of video cameras at the Extra-Space Storage facility. The Anti-Police Terror Project has demanded these tapes, currently in the hands of police, be made public; Emeryville Police Department, Oakland Police Department, and Extra-Space Storage have all refused. This refusal results from a violent insensitivity on the parts of both police departments and Extra-Space Storage. While the police departments and their partners in the media are waging a public campaign to degrade the life and memory of Ms. Henderson, they are simultaneously withholding video evidence that would bring the entire case into light. 

When viewed in the context of an uncooperative and manipulative police department, reasonable people must see that a fair investigation will never occur if that investigation is left solely in the hands of the police. The Anti-Police Terror Project recognizes this reality and will be making the following demands on February 21st: 

– Release of the video tapes that contain the shooting or any lead-up to the shooting of Yuvette Henderson 

– Leave without pay for Michelle Shepherd and Warren Williams, the officers involved in the killing of Yuvette Henderson, while they are being investigated and, ultimately, the termination of Shepard and Williams from the Emeryville Police Department. 

– The immediate return or destruction of all military styled weapons and accessories in the possession of the Emeryville Police Department. 

– An account on what happened to Yuvette while in contact with Home Depot security, an explanation regarding how she sustained the head injury on Home Depot property, and a reason as to why she never saw the paramedics as a result of her head injury. 

This Saturday February 21st, there will be a rally, speak-out, and march, all in loving memory of Yuvette Henderson. All aspects of the action are planned to be peaceful. Security and legal support will be available throughout the day. Speakers at the rally will be family members of those killed by police. Following the speak-out, there will be a march. The rally will begin at 10:00 AM at the Emeryville Police Dept at 2449 Powell Street Emeryville, CA 94608. This march is organized by the Anti-Police Terror Project with permission from the family of Yuvette Henderson. 

The Anti Police-Terror Project is a group of committed organizations and individuals committed to creating replicable and sustainable models for eradicating police terrorism in communities of color across the nation.

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