Oakland police expect more Ferguson related arrests

Laura Anthony Image
ByLaura Anthony KGO logo
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Oakland protest arrests
Oakland police say they expect to make more vandalism and looting arrests stemming from the Ferguson protests once they review surveillance videos.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Nearly 200 people were arrested in Oakland last week for various crimes related to a series of demonstrations, but only a very few have been charged with serious crimes by the Alameda County District Attorney's office.

Police say they expect to make more arrests and the city expects to file civil lawsuits.

Three nights of demonstrations in downtown Oakland left tens of thousands of dollars in damage, especially to local businesses.

While Oakland police arrested 170 demonstrators, only four have been charged with felonies.

"It looks like the District Attorney has decided not to charge most of the people," said attorney Dan Siegel.

Siegel represents a group of demonstrators arrested last week and kept in jail through the long holiday, with no charges filed as of Monday.

"The DA knows that going to trial against people who stood up against racism and stood up against racism and police abuse is likely not to be very popular with local juries," said Siegel.

Jeff Wozniak is a defense attorney who represents one man charged with a felony. Shawn Gatison faces second degree commercial burglary of a Smart & Final store.

"I think that the issue here is not some lost bottles from a $3.2 billion corporation, Smart & Final, but really why people, thousands of people across the country were shutting down freeways, protesting in the streets," said Wozniak.

Police say their investigation is just beginning as they continue to review police body cameras and other video sources.

"If we didn't arrest you that night, if we didn't arrest you later in the week, we're certainly going to find you and arrest you," said Oakland police spokesperson Johnna Watson.

Police are asking business owners and the public to submit videos they may have that could help in the investigation.