On April 28th, 2021, citizens of Lodi, along with political organization Progressive Unity, hosted a protest demanding for justice for Daunte Wright. Their words were met by All Lives Matter counter-protesters and Proud Boys.
The political organization Progressive Unity, responsible for hosting several protests in Lodi during the summer of 2020, organized a group of about 25 citizens to march in solidarity with Minnesota demanding justice for Daunte Wright, justice for black lives, an end to police brutality, to defund the police, and for no more racist cops. The flyer below was shared on their Instagram page.
Daunte Wright was a 20-year old black man who was shot and killed by police during a traffic stop on April 11th. The officer claimed that she mistook her gun for her taser, and her intention was to stun Mr. Wright after a struggle broke out during his arrest. Mr. Wright was pulled over for expired tags when the police learned of a warrant for his arrest. The tragic event occurred in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, just ten miles away from the court room where Derek Chauvin was being tried for the murder of George Floyd.
Several days before the protest was to take place, a handful of people began spreading false information on Lodi Facebook groups, accusing Progressive Unity of being BLM rioters who would damage small businesses.
When the day finally arrived for the protest to occur, those demanding justice for Daunte Wright were met by a group of counter-protesters at Lodi’s Legion Park. Some of the counter-protesters appeared to be wearing the gear and logos of the Proud Boys.
The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the Proud Boys as a fraternal group that acts contrary to Black Lives Matter and Antifa protests, where they spread anti-political correctness and anti-white guilt. The Canadian Government labeled the Proud Boys a terrorist organization on February 3, 2021, after the Insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 where several Proud Boys were known to be in attendance.
The Grape Vine reached out to a counter-protester that attended the event; however, they declined on answering any questions.
David Diskin, member of the Lodi Improvement Committee, was at the protest that day and had seen several instances of hostility from the counter-protesters. Speaking with The Grape Vine, Mr. Diskin stated that some of the protesters were absolutely Proud Boys, though not all of them. It appeared that their purpose was to harass and intimidate those from Progressive Unity.
Throughout the event the counter-protesters (many appeared to be in their 40s and 50s) would walk up to the Daunte Wright protesters (many appeared to be in their teens and early 20s) to shout “All Lives Matter,” and to instigate trouble. Some even drove their cars to harass the protesters at intersections, blocking traffic and parking illegally.
At the end of the protest, the Daunte Wright protesters returned to Legion Park where the counter-protesters had waiting for them and speaking with Lodi Police. While those with Progressive Unity kept their composure, those from the group of counter-protesters continued causing trouble, yelling rhetorical questions, and brandished their middle fingers.
It should be noted that there have been no riots nor damage to property in Lodi during any protests over the past year. Such fear was spread last September by former Stockton Mayoral candidate Shoua Lo, though he never gave a response for such false reporting, nor did we see any reporting from any other news outlets in the area. Keep your eyes on The Grape Vine for more independent reporting on important issues in the San Joaquin County area.