Tear gas used, arrests made as hundreds march through Berkeley

Bay City News
Sunday, December 7, 2014
Over 400 people marched through downtown Berkeley to protest a New York grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer in the death of Eric Garner.

BERKELEY, Calif. -- Police used tear gas on protesters after they ignored orders to disperse and continued to block intersections in the area of Telegraph Avenue and 66th Street in Berkeley.

Police also made several arrests as hundreds marched through they city along Shattuck Avenue Saturday night. It's the latest in a series of protests following a New York grand jury's decision not to indict a white police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner.

Over 400 people took part in part in the relatively peaceful protest that started at 5 p.m. The march moved to Telegraph Avenue and then into the downtown area ending in front of the Police and Fire Public Safety Building. There, police say a small portion of the group splintered from the peaceful demonstrators and turned violent as they began smashing windows including that of a Trader Joe's grocery store, Wells Fargo Bank and damaging a Radio Shack store.

These splinter groups also ran through several Berkeley neighborhoods vandalizing cars and breaking windows and looting businesses.

Protesters tried to get to Interstate 80, but police blocked the freeway ramp. BART officials closed the downtown Berkeley and North Berkeley BART stations to avoid conflict with protesters.

Berkeley police say demonstrators threw rocks and other projectiles at officers. Two BPD officers were injured, including one officer who was treated at the hospital for an injury to the shoulder when a demonstrator threw a sandbag into their skirmish line.

There was at least one person injured and transported by ambulance to the hospital with what seemed like minor injuries.

Police warned people to avoid the area once crowds started to vandalized businesses in the area of University Avenue and MLK Jr. way.

Numerous police vehicles were vandalized as the crowd moved through the south campus area.

The Berkeley Police Department was assisted by over 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 the BART Police Department.

Officer Jennifer Coats said the crowd started out moving north on Shattuck Avenue at about 5 p.m.

Protests erupted in San Francisco and Oakland earlier Saturday as well.

Photos on Twitter showed police arresting demonstrators on Market Street in San Francisco Saturday after a "die-in" and demonstrators holding signs that read, "Stop racist police terror" and "Justice for Mike Brown."

In Oakland, photos and reports on Twitter this afternoon showed demonstrators walking into businesses and in some cases, reading the names of people slain by police.

PHOTOS: Police clash with protesters in Berkeley march

ABC7 News reporter Sergio Quintana contributed to this story.