2nd night of Berkeley protests turns violent

Author: Associated Press
Published: Updated:
Twitter/ Delonte/ MGN

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) – Merchants are cleaning up broken glass and taking stock of what was looted from downtown Berkeley stores Sunday night after protesters angered by police killings in Missouri and New York clashed with officers, vandalized stores and fought with each other, police said.

Berkeley police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats said police arrested five people in connection with the Sunday night demonstrations.

Two officers sustained minor injuries. One protester was injured when he was assaulted with a hammer when he attempted to keep other protesters from looting a downtown electronics store.

He was transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries, Coats said.

The police statement said there was “significant damage” to several Berkeley businesses and that many had windows smashed and several stores were looted.

One person who was arrested was responsible for throwing a heavy object on Saturday, injuring an officer, Coats said.  Another went to jail for using a skateboard to break windows and damage a grocery store.

Sunday’s protest began peacefully on the University of California, Berkeley campus but grew rowdy and spilled into neighboring Oakland. Activists forced their way onto a freeway and blocked traffic, but officers chased them off, police said.

The California Highway Patrol said officers fired tear gas after protesters threw rocks and bottles at them and tried to light a patrol car on fire. Police also said explosives were thrown at officers, but information was not immediately available on how potent those explosives were.

The demonstrations were the latest of several in the Bay Area – including in Oakland, where protests over the last few weeks have been violent and led to nearly 200 arrests. Protesters are rallying against a recent grand jury decisions in Missouri and New York not to indict white police officers in the deaths of two black men.

Police said groups of protesters late Sunday began roaming through the downtown area, throwing trash cans into streets and lighting garbage on fire, smashing windows on buildings, and damaging and looting businesses. There also were reports of vandalism at Berkeley City Hall.

At one point, a downtown Radio Shack was ransacked and later a Whole Foods on historic Telegraph Avenue was looted, with people stealing bottles of champagne and passing them around the crowd.

Meanwhile in Seattle, seven people were arrested Saturday night after protesters threw rocks at police and attempted to block a highway. Politicians on both sides have been calling for calm while activists push for police reforms. NAACP president Cornell William Brooks, appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” called for outfitting police with body-worn cameras and changing law enforcement policy.

“We have to change the model of policing,” Brooks said.

Ohio’s Republican governor said the unrest underscores the need for political leaders to be inclusive and to unite, not divide.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich said on ABC’s “This Week” that a “significant percentage” of the country believes the system’s not working for them and can be working against them.

“They need to be listened to and they need to be responded to,” Kasich said. “In our country today, there’s too much division, too much polarization – black, white; rich, poor; Democrat, Republican. America does best when we’re united.”

The unrest in Berkeley follows violent disruptions of demonstrations in Oakland and San Francisco in recent days. Five San Francisco police officers sought medical treatment after sustaining injuries during a protest in downtown San Francisco on Black Friday. But the protest Saturday, which included several hundred people, was the most serious for Berkeley in recent days.

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