The incident took place at about 7:30 p.m. Sunday on Hyde Street near United Nations Plaza, according to police.
A video of the altercation, which has been posted on YouTube, shows several people gathered in a narrow sidewalk area, yelling and then being pushed back by police officers.
At a certain point, an officer is seen beating someone with a baton. Later, several more officers, including some from the California Highway Patrol, come to assist and several people are detained. Two women are later seen grabbing at a CHP officer's baton, prompting cheering from the crowd gathered to watch.
At various times, people can be heard yelling, "F--- the police!" A male voice can then be heard saying, "They're just doing their job, man!" and "You don't punch a cop."
Police spokeswoman Lt. Lyn Tomioka said police initially responded to break up a fight between two women, and then the officers were surrounded and attempted to disperse the crowd. Six women were taken into custody; another was cited and released.
Tomioka said the department's internal affairs division is investigating the use of force by the officers.
"It's an ongoing investigation, but use of force...it's why we try to talk to people, but when we have no other option, use of force is required, unfortunately," Tomioka said. "But to the public, it never looks pretty.
"The officers gave commands, which were ignored," Tomioka said. "When an officer gives an order to move or to stop, those are orders, and they need to be complied with."
Arrested were Jasmyne Forte, 22, of San Francisco; Avian Brokaw, 20, of Oakland; Rachel Roberts, 22, of Brentwood; Sophie Meryash, 23, of Berkeley; Fernanda De Lima, 20, Richmond; and Bryttny Hall, 22, of Antioch, according to police. Monique Griffin, 18, of Antioch, was cited and released.
Prosecutors have charged Forte, Brokaw, Roberts, Meryash and De Lima with misdemeanor battery on a police officer and misdemeanor resisting arrest, district attorney's office spokeswoman Erica Derryck said. All were arraigned and are out of custody, and are due back in court Aug. 5.
No charges were filed against Hall and Griffin.