Protesters shift tactics, block the Oakland Federal Building

Amy Hollyfield Image
ByAmy Hollyfield KGO logo
Thursday, December 11, 2014
Protesters block the Oakland Federal Building
Protesters shift tactics and block the Federal building in Oakland.

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- A group of white Oakland residents have been angry ever since the recent decisions not to indict two white police officers in the deaths of two black men. They have been meeting and holding vigils in their Oakland neighborhood. But on Wednesday they changed tactics and decided to block the federal building in downtown Oakland with their message.

"I feel good that we came out. I think that white people need to speak out for racial justice," said Jenn Biehn of Oakland.

"And it can't change without white people being involved speaking out and partnering with black people," said Sue Morgan of Oakland.

Security locked the doors to the buildings main entrance, forcing employees to find another way in. Some seemed agitated, others appreciated the activists stance. This group hopes federal officials get the message.

"The federal government needs to step up and say that our police force needs to represent our communities. Why don't we say our police force needs to be same ethnic make-up that our communities are," said Biehn.

While they quietly made their statement, businesses in Emeryville cleaned up from a rowdy night of demonstrations that moved from Oakland to Berkeley to Highway 24 to Emeryville. Four businesses in Emeryville were vandalized and looted. Police say protesters also smashed the windows of some cars parked in front of homes. Officers say they don't know why.

"It's totally frustrating. This is something we don't expect in Emeryville. We aren't a focal point for any of this. I understand people's frustration for and upset about what's happening in other parts of United States, but Emeryville doesn't have part of that," said Emeryville police officer Brian Head.

For full coverage on the Eric Garner protests here in the Bay Area and across the country, click here.