Berkeley Protest Takes Violent Turn

Dennis Culver (BCN)
Sunday December 07, 2014 - 01:07:00 AM

A protest in Berkeley turned violent Saturday night when a small group of protestors began hurling bricks, pipes, smoke grenades and missiles at officers, police said. 

The protest, one of several in the Bay Area over the past few nights, is in response to a New York grand jury's decision on Wednesday to not indict a white police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man. 

Police spokeswoman Jennifer Coats said the protests began peacefully, moved from Telegraph Avenue into the downtown area and then to the front of the Police and Fire Public Safety Building. 

Coats said small splinter groups then broke from the peaceful demonstrators and began throwing rocks, pipes and bottles at officers. 

The projectiles struck numerous officers, and one officer hit with a large sandbag was treated at a local hospital for a dislocated shoulder. 

Coats said the groups went through several Berkeley neighborhoods and vandalized cars, broke windows and looted businesses. 

The crowd continued marching to Martin Luther King Jr. Way and University Avenue, where protestors vandalized businesses on University Avenue, including Trader Joe's, Radio Shack and a Wells Fargo Bank. 

The crowd moved west, splintered and regrouped several times as it moved to University Avenue and then to east of San Pablo Avenue and nearby streets. 

Coats said Berkeley police used smoke and tear gas after crowds refused to disperse and protestors continued to vandalize local businesses and pelt officers with rocks, bottles and pipes. Several police vehicles were vandalized as the crowd moved through the south campus area. 

Police were still working to disperse the crowds just before midnight. 

More than a hundred officers from the Alameda County Sheriff's Office, Oakland Police Department, Pleasanton Police Department, Hayward Police Department, Alameda Police Department, California Highway Patrol and BART Police Department responded to support Berkeley police. 

The exact number of arrests and injuries during the protest was not immediately available. 


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