SAN LEANDRO (KPIX 5) – San Leandro City Council is moving forward with plans to build a memorial named after Steven Taylor, who was gunned down by a San Leandro police officer last April.
At a February 16 board meeting, board member Fred Simon presented one of the main design concepts, a stone column surrounded by stone markers, each representing a different virtue.
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“One is reflection, two… remembrance, healing, justice, learning, empathy, strength and caring,” said Simon. “We want to heal our community, we want to unite our community and I think we’re really struggling to do our normal job until we can fix this problem.
The initial design of the stone column would be located on the jetty of the small boat lagoon near the marina. All council members present at the meeting expressed their support for the project, including Mayor Pauline Russo Cutter, who wanted to see more community feedback on the design.
“But for some people, they will really take the effort that has gone into it and recognize the feelings that some in our community have about it. And I think that’s really what it is. It’s about being heard, ”Cutter said.
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Taylor was shot and killed with a mental health issue on April 18, 2020 at the Walmart at 15555 Hesperian Blvd., after he was seen on video swinging a bat and threatening customers.
San Leandro police officer Jason Fletcher shot and killed Taylor approximately 40 seconds after arriving at the scene. Fletcher has retired from the department and will be tried on March 10 for intentional homicide. The entire incident was captured on the officer’s body camera video.
Board member Simon worked with Taylor’s family on the stone column design concept. Addie Kitchen, Taylor’s grandmother and longtime community activist, did not want a statue of Taylor, but instead sought to expand the symbolism of the memorial to include all victims killed by police.
“And not just for Steven, but for everyone who has been murdered by the San Leandro Police over the years. He’s not the first, and he won’t be the last if we don’t do anything about what’s going on in our cities, ”Kitchen said.
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The project was handed over to staff for further study and analysis. There is no set schedule or budget, but board member Simon hoped to complete the project within 15 months.