A small group of protesters caused gridlock traffic by blocking buses carrying media personnel and staffers going into the NBA-Disney bubble last Saturday night. They are holding a peaceful protest as a response to the police shooting of Slaythis Melvin.
The protesters closed down the intersection going into the Coronado Springs Resort, which serves as the temporary home of the Los Angeles Lakers, media staffers, and other personnel since the NBA 2019-2020 season restart in July.
Melvin is a 22-year-old Black man who was shot and killed by Orange County Sheriff's office agent James Montiel on August 7th. He was fired upon after running away from deputies serving a warrant for another man wanted for a shooting. Other police officers investigating the incident revealed that Deputy Montiel fired on Melvin after establishing he had a firearm and turned to face the officer. The handgun was later revealed to be a stolen Glock handgun.
Protesters have been calling for justice since the shooting. Over two dozen Black Lives Matter protesters blocked buses coming from Game 5 between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets. The Lakers smothered the Rockets, finishing the series 4-1 and advancing to the Western Conference finals.
In both the first and second rounds, the championship-favored Lakers lost the first game and won four straight games afterward.
The other team favored to win, the Milwaukee Bucks, was eliminated early by the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
According to the Washington Post, protesters are carrying signs such as "LeBron stand with us," and "Orlando Needs You." The sigs are addressed to the jersey numbers of Anthony Davis, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook.
The protesters claim they are angry because there was no justice served for Salaythis Melvin. Deputy James Montiel has yet to be charged. Black Lives Matter protesters say that Orange County Sheriffs' department has shot and killed another innocent black man. However, carrying stolen firearms is a felony in the state of Florida.
The protest is the first of its kind in the NBA bubble. There are other protests by players themselves inside the bubble, including a boycott that started after the Milwaukee Bucks refused to play after the shooting of another black man, Jacob Blake, in Wisconsin, the Bucks' home state. Blake was shot by police after resisting arrest. Blake has an outstanding warrant for domestic violence.