Store owners frustrated with vandalism from 'Black Lives Matter' protests

Saturday, December 27, 2014
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Oakland's BevMo store general manager says 23 windows were broken, forcing the store to be closed most of Friday - during one of their busiest shopping periods of the year - just before New Year's Eve.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- It was a small group out protesting on Thursday night, but small does not mean quiet.

They called the march "No Time Off," saying that even though it was Christmas, they were not going to take time off from protesting the deaths of black men at the hands of police officers.

But the group turned destructive in Oakland's Jack London Square, tearing lights and ornaments off of the Square's Christmas tree, tagging the windows of a restaurant and breaking windows at a Subway restaurant and BevMo liquor store.

Subway was damaged.

Police did not stop the attacks or make any arrests.

Friday morning, work crews were cleaning up broken glass and boarding up windows.

"Hopefully it was a learning experience for police, staying a little in front of them," said one person.

BevMo General Manager Mark Fragova says he lost 23 windows. Unsightly boards replace the missing windows until the new, custom-made windows arrive - all of this during the busy champagne season of New Year's Eve.

"We have a lot of customers who come from neighboring cities. This is not the look we want to display. It doesn't really look like protests. It looks more like vandalism to me," said Fragoza.

Raymond Moreno is one of those customers. He drove in from Alameda Friday morning to get ingredients for a special family gathering. He left empty handed because BevMo is closed.

"I understand everyone's frustration but I don't know what this proves or how this helps any of the families," said Moreno.

BevMo was planning to be open late Friday afternoon.

The group first gathered at Broadway and 14th Street and at 6 p.m. on Thursday. They walked down the middle of the street, inconveniencing a few cars and AC Transit buses. Their message: black lives matter. The demonstration lasted about 90 minutes.