Protesters take to streets of Berkeley for second night running: Violence, vandalism of local businesses, looting

A protester gives the finger to a police officer during a protest that started in Berkeley on Sunday Dec. 7, 2014. Photo: Kelly Owen
A protester gives the finger to a police officer during a protest that started in Berkeley on Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo: Kelly Owen

The Berkeleyside team kept this live blog running continuously from Dec. 7 at 6:35 p.m. through Dec. 8 at about 1:10 a.m. See continuing, comprehensive Berkeleyside coverage of the Berkeley protests.

3:48 a.m.: Officer Jennifer Coats, spokeswoman for the Berkeley Police, sent out a release at 3:37 a.m. saying five arrests had been made in connection with both the Saturday and Sunday demonstrations on various charges. She did not provide complete details. According to Coats, one of the arrested individuals damaged Trader Joe’s on Saturday using his skateboard. Another individual, she wrote, was responsible for throwing a heavy object on Saturday, injuring one Berkeley police officer. Both were arrested for offenses on Saturday and Sunday.

According to Coats, two officers received minor injuries during Sunday night’s demonstrations.

Billy Parlay, owner of the Sandwich Spot on Shattuck, wrote to Berkeleyside that he put out a number of fires Sunday night. He also criticized Jesse Arreguín, councilman for the downtown district, “for not prepping downtown.”


Follow @berkeleyside on Twitter for live updates of the #Berkeleyprotests.

1:10 a.m.: Police appear to be trying to split the group that has been walking south on Telegraph vandalizing stores and looting. Emilie Raguso reports that protesters are “wandering around” and that the numbers are dwindling. Any more updates will be via Twitter from now on. Click #Berkeleyprotests to get latest news, or follow Berkeleyside directly.

12:55 a.m., Monday, Dec. 8: There is a standoff at Jack in the Box, which has been vandalized. Police have split the crowd, telling people to go home.

Standoff at Jack in the Box ; police have split crowd, telling people to go home. Man watches.
A man watches at a standoff near Jack in the Box on Telegraph between police who have split crowd and are telling people to go home, and protesters. Photo: Emilie Raguso

12:37 a.m., Monday, Dec. 8: Rioters have scrawled graffiti on Whole Foods at Telegraph and Ashby as they make their way south on Telegraph wreaking havoc — smashing windows of stores and looting along the way, and setting trash can fires.

Photo: Emilie Raguso
Windows were smashed at Whole Foods and goods were stolen. Photo: Emilie Raguso

12:30 a.m., Monday, Dec. 8: Significant trash can fire on Ashby east of Shattuck; some try to put it out.


Some on the protest march try to extinguish a fire set by rioters in Berkeley. Photo: Emilie Raguso

12:24 a.m., Monday, Dec. 8: The destruction continues, reportedly at Any Mountain, and at Walgreens where windows were smashed by thrown rocks. True Value was smashed at Russell and Shattuck. Police are pushing people south, according to Raguso, with several units and loud sirens.

Photo Emilie Raguso
Vandals smashed the windows at Walgreens in South Berkeley. Photo Emilie Raguso

12:15 a.m., Monday, Dec. 8: Police are trying to get control of the rioters after their destructive tear down Shattuck Avenue:

Smoky fire outside Kirala , police line pushing down crowd to clear block on Shattuck. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Smoky fire outside Kirala — police line pushing down crowd to clear block on Shattuck. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Photo: Emilie Raguso
Police on Shattuck Avenue south of downtown Berkeley. Photo: Emilie Raguso

12:04 a.m., Monday, Dec. 8: Police are catching up with the protest. Bottles are being thrown and police prepared to use rubber bullets, though none were seen deployed, said Raguso, who continues to be on scene. Someone was arrested on Martin Luther King Jr. Way south of Channing, she said. Watch video:

11:46 p.m.: Police have formed a line on Allston west of Martin Luther King Jr. Way. The protest is splitting in different directions north and south:

Photo: Emilie Raguso
A police line in downtown Berkeley. Photo: Emilie Raguso

11:40-11:45 p.m.: Windows at City Hall have been smashed and graffiti has been scrawled on an exterior wall of Berkeley High School. Police earlier came out with rifles that looked like they could shoot rubber bullets or beanbags, said Raguso. People at Allston and Martin Luther King Jr. Way are hurling glass at police; some of the protesters say “keep walking,” others advise to stay put. There are “lots of internal arguments about appropriate tactics,” said one reporter on the scene.


Photo: Emilie Raguso
Windows smashed at Berkeley City Hall. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Graffiti on a wall of Berkeley High. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Graffiti on a wall of Berkeley High. Photo: Emilie Raguso

11:25 p.m.: Emilie Raguso reports that it’s a chaotic scene on Shattuck Avenue. A group of rioters is smashing windows of businesses on every block and setting garbage cans on fire as they go. Some of the rioters are advising others on which businesses to target, including banks, and trying to protect smaller independent businesses. Some of the peaceful protesters are clearing up the spilled garbage. Raguso said, for a while, there was minimal police presence. At a certain point, officers were “coming up Shattuck in force … riot mode, went after man who threw bottle.”

“Almost got hit by two glass bottles lobbed at a group of protesters near police by other protesters,” she tweeted at 11:26 p.m.

Watch video, taken by Raguso:

11:15 p.m. Berkeley police are reporting that some protesters are damaging and looting businesses on Shattuck Avenue. Businesses affected include Wells Fargo, Mechanics Bank, and Missing Link bicycle shop.

Photo: Emilie Raguso
Vandals lit garbage fires all through downtown Berkeley. For the most part, police were nowhere to be seen. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Photo: Emilie Raguso
Broken windows at McDonald’s in downtown Berkeley. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Smashed windows at the downtown Citibank. Photo: Emilie Raguso

11:15 p.m. Demonstrators spraypaint Mechanics Bank.

A protester flings a garbage can lid through a window at a McDonald's restaurant during a vandalism spree downtown while protesting police brutality in Berkeley, late Sunday, December 7, 2014. People marched through the streets of Berkeley for the second night in a row Sunday to protest the recent decisions by grand juries in Ferguson, Mo., and New York to not indict white police officers in the deaths of two unarmed black men. Photo: David Yee ©2014
A protester flings a garbage can lid through a window at a McDonald’s restaurant during a vandalism spree downtown while protesting police brutality in Berkeley, late Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo: David Yee

10:55 p.m.: The marching protesters are now back in Berkeley, having spent the past few hours in Oakland. In the area of Telegraph and Channing, Raguso witnessed a group of protesters split off from the main march. They gathered garbage cans and tires and tried to set fire to them. Other protesters tried to talk them out of it, saying “It’s not the point.” Those trying to set the fire countered, “It is the point,” adding: “Think about Ferguson.” Watch a video of what happened, shot by Raguso:

A splinter group of protesters tries to light a fire with tires and garbage cans. Photo: Emilie Raguso
A splinter group of protesters tries to light a fire with tires and garbage cans. Photo: Emilie Raguso

At ice cream sandwich shop CREAM, staff stood outside the store trying to protect it. Wells Fargo, Mechanics Bank and Radio Shack are among the Berkeley businesses that have had windows smashed during protests.

10:15 p.m.: When Berkeleyside’s Emilie Raguso last reported in, protesters were at Telegraph and 61st and they were heading north on Telegraph toward Berkeley. A CHP cruiser was vandalized under the Highway 24 overpass in Temescal. Watch these three short videos, shot by Berkeleyside’s Emilie Raguso, of protesters destroying the cruiser. Raguso describes the crowd as “wild” and said there were many aggressive and violent protesters:

At around 10:10pm a police cruiser was vandalized. Photo: Emilie Raguso
At around 10:10 p.m. a CHP cruiser was vandalized by a group of aggressive protesters. Photo: Emilie Raguso

9:58 p.m. Protesters are circling around Telegraph and 56th, according to Emilie Raguso. Some sat in the street.

Protesters sitting in street at 52nd and Telegraph.
Protesters sitting in street at 52nd and Telegraph.

9:52 p.m.: Now that they have left Highway 24, a crowd of protesters is now back on Claremont Avenue and Telegraph and appears to be starting to head north on Telegraph, according to Berkeleyside’s Emilie Raguso.

Photo: Emilie Raguso
Protesters on Claremont Avenue after Highway 24 was cleared of demonstrators. Photo: Emilie Raguso

9:32 p.m. CHP is reporting that Highway 24 eastbound is now reopened. Police confronted protesters gathered on the freeway and used tear gas to drive them back, according to police reports and a CHP sergeant. Some protesters tried to light a police cruiser on fire. Police also confiscated rocks and bottles.

Photo: KGO live feed
Photo: KGO live feed

Here is video, shot by Berkeleyside’s Emilie Raguso, of police cars going up the onramp:

9:11 p.m. CHP and police meet up with protesters on Highway 24.

ferguson9:05 p.m. Photo of protesters on Highway 24.

Ferguson8:55 p.m. Protesters have made their way on to Highway 24.

It looks like cars are stopped on Highway 24. Photo: KGO live feed
It looks like cars are stopped on Highway 24. Photo: KGO live feed

8:52 p.m. It looks like cars are stopped on Highway 24. Not sure of the details, but will try to find out. Unconfirmed: police cruiser set on fire.

Photo: KGO Live feed
Photo: KGO Live feed

8:40 p.m. One group of demonstrators is heading south on Telegraph toward the Highway 24 onramp. CHP is out in force at 51st and Telegraph.

8:10 p.m. Ben Bartlett, a member of the Berkeley Planning Commission and the former owner of Bartlett’s Cafe on Kittredge, says in an interview: “People cannot take advantage of these moments to inflict harm upon our citizens and on our stores.” Hear the interview.

Here’s a video of that confrontation in front of Radio Shack on Shattuck (a high-definition version is here):

Man hit in the head with a hammer while objecting to the breaking of the windows of Radio Shack on Shattuck. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Man hit in the head with a hammer while objecting to the breaking of the windows of Radio Shack on Shattuck. Photo: Emilie Raguso

7:50 p.m. Some demonstrators just tried to break the windows of Radio Shack at Shattuck Avenue. When some other protesters complained and started to take pictures to document the violence, they were challenged, according to Emilie Raguso. One of those objecting to the violence was struck in the head with a hammer, she said.

The man who was hit with a hammer is a Berkeley resident. He was transported to Highland Hospital.

Tensions rose after the man was assaulted. There was a series of aggressive interactions between protesters who wanted to keep the peace and stop those who were breaking windows at Radio Shack and those who were encouraging the vandalism. Several of the aggressive protesters who saw people taking photos and videos became very menacing and ordered them to stop recording.

Police and protesters on Sunday Dec. 7, 2014. Photo- Kelly Own
Police and protesters on Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014. Photo- Kelly Own

7:30 p.m. The crowd has gathered on the steps of Old City Hall and is chanting “killer cops.”

At around 7:20 p.m. a police officer swatted at Berkeleyside reporter Emilie Raguso with his baton. She was near a railing taking photographs. Several police officers were behind the railing saying people should not cross the railing, that it was “theirs.” One officer, whose badge number could not be read, struck the railing, brushing Raguso and telling her to stay away.

While people complain about the noise of news media helicopters overhead, they do provide a good perspective. These shots are from the live feed of KGO News:

A shot from the ABC news helicopter hovering above the protests.
A shot from the KGO news helicopter hovering above the protests.
This shot from ABC news shows demonstrators swarming up the stairs.
This shot from KGO news shows demonstrators swarming up the stairs of City Hall.

7:15 p.m. Berkeley police say demonstrators have now arrived at the Police Department, at barricades set up at the intersection of Addison and Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

7:05 p.m. Berkeley police have sent out an advisory saying that the number of demonstrators has swelled to 500-600. Police state that the helicopters swirling overhead belong to news media outlets, not police.

This Berkeley High School teacher was protesting to protect his students, he said.
This Berkeley High School teacher was protesting to protect her students, she said.

Update, 6:50 p.m.: The protesters have now arrived at Shattuck and Allston and have swollen in number after call-outs for more to join them.

Original story, 6:36 p.m.: The day after Berkeley police sprayed dozens of protesters with tear gas — their strongest use of force on Telegraph Ave. in years — a group of demonstrators is marching down the street to complain about police brutality.

A group of protesters gathered at around 5 p.m. Sunday on the Cal campus at Bancroft and Telegraph to demonstrate against the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Several protesters tonight were expressing frustration about what they describe as unnecessary police brutality at the protests last night.

The 500-strong group of mostly young people began marching down Telegraph and through the Southside neighborhood. Police are warning of traffic disruption. By 6:30 p.m. the march stopped at Channing and Dana.

As of 6:30 p.m., police presence was low-key, according to Berkeleyside senior reporter Emilie Raguso who is on scene.

Marchers chanted and carried signs with slogans such as: “I can’t breathe.” “No justice, no peace,” and “Racist police.”

Demonstrators gathered at around 5 p.m. at the Cal campus. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Demonstrators gathered at around 5 p.m. at the Cal campus. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Some protesters were giving a bicycle police officer a hard time. According to Raguso, who spoke to several protesters, there is a lot of anger regarding how Saturday night’s protest was handled. Many say police instigated the violence last night, though police said it was protesters whose actions prompted the use of force.

(Listen to the interview with Yvette Felarca from the group By Any Means Necessary above.)

Organizers are urging tonight’s protesters to stay together, and not let themselves be surrounded.

Crowd has started shouting "Eric Garner, Michael Brown, shut it down, shut it down
Just after 6 p.m., a crowd of protesters were shouting “Eric Garner, Michael Brown, shut it down, shut it down.” Photo: Emilie Raguso

Occupy Oakland had announced a “possible meet up” of protesters in Berkeley at 5 p.m. Sunday, at Telegraph Avenue and Bancroft Way. A small group of about 15 got together Sunday at 1 p.m. on Sproul Plaza to discuss how to promote their concerns and spread the word.

Berkeley Police Lt. Dave Frankel said Sunday that local officers were preparing for additional demonstrations Sunday evening: “We’re prepared to respond and ensure that the First Amendment is safely able to be practiced, and that violence and criminal activity is not allowed.” He said other police agencies would be available to assist Berkeley officers should that be required.

Attendees at #berkeleyprotests are being asked to get more people to come out; some wearing Guy Fawkes masks. Photo: Emilie Raguso
Attendees at #berkeleyprotests are being asked to get more people to come out; some wearing Guy Fawkes masks. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Berkeleyside updated this story regularly as events unfolded.

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