Berkeley students march to push for police reforms

Protestors walked along Shattuck Avenue Tuesday night in a march meant tp pressure City Hall to take action on police use of tear gas on Dec. 6. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
Protesters walked along Shattuck Avenue on Tuesday night in a march meant to put pressure on City Hall to take action on police use of tear gas at a demonstration Dec. 6, 2014. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel

About 150 students from UC Berkeley, Berkeley City College and Berkeley High, along with a few community members, marched from the university to the city council meeting Tuesday night to insist that “Black Lives Matter.”

Read complete Berkeley protests coverage on Berkeleyside.

The march was timed to put pressure on the city council to consider a series of actions in response to the Berkeley Police Department use of tear gas during a Dec. 6 protest. (The council voted to require the police department to refrain from using tear gas during peaceful protests until after the Police Review Commission completes its investigation into the matter. We will have a complete report later today.)

A lit up "Black Lives Matter" sign was set up on the steps of Old City Hall on Tuesday night. Photo: Ted Friedman
A lit-up “Black Lives Matter” sign was set up on the steps of Old City Hall on Tuesday night. Photo: Ted Friedman

The group left a grassy area on Oxford Street, walked down Addison, took a left on Shattuck Avenue, then made its way along Milvia, Allston Way and Martin Luther King Jr. Way before arriving at Old City Hall. The protesters walked behind a group of students carrying a “Black Lives Matter” banner. They interrupted the flow of traffic, but only briefly. The only police around were traffic cops in their traffic vehicles.


“No justice, no peace, no racist police,” was just one of the slogans the group chanted on the march.

The protesters arrived at Old City Hall around 6:20 p.m.. A “Black Lives Matter” blue electric sign was set up on the stairs. There was a brief rally where Berkeley City Councilman Max Anderson and others spoke. Anderson commended those gathered for continuing to place pressure on local officials.

The march was organized by the Black Student Unions of UC Berkeley, Berkeley City College and Berkeley High School.

Before the march, all the non-black participants were asked to take a lesser role in the event, and to let African Americans lead.

“I see a lot white ally faces,” Kadijah Means, a senior at Berkeley High and the school’s Black Student Union president, told the group before the march. “We are going to ask you not to lead chants, but to join in chants because — no offense — these are your streets. It’s not about being exclusive. It’s about being sure black voices are heard.”


The protestors ended their march with a rally at Old City Hall. Photo: Ted Friedman
The protesters ended their march with a rally at Old City Hall in downtown Berkeley. Photo: Ted Friedman

Nancy Schimmel, a well-known Berkeley performer, said she was marching to protest the police use of tear gas. She said she is concerned about how tear gas can affect people who suffer from asthma and others. A number of people not associated with the Dec. 6 march, such as patrons leaving Zellerbach Hall after a performance, were affected as the gas drifted down from Telegraph Avenue, she said.

Tom Luce, a former teacher who said he has long fought for justice, said he was frustrated by the city council’s inaction on the Dec. 6 and other protests.

“I want Berkeley to be on the right track and they are not,” he said.

Related:
Police release redacted reports on Berkeley protests (02.10.15)
Exclusive: 23-minute delay for paramedics during Berkeley protests, patient later died (02.05.15)
Black Cal students repaint The Big C to reflect African flag (01.26.15)
Citizen panel on police to launch Berkeley protests probe (01.29.15)
Berkeley town hall examines race, police relations (01.18.15)
Residents air concerns about police staging to Police Review Commission (01.15.15)
For black students at UC Berkeley, protests are about Ferguson — and their own lives (01.15.15)
Berkeley Police Q&A: Tear gas use, protest costs, more (01.08.15)
Protesters stage ‘Black Brunch’ on Berkeley’s Fourth Street (1.05.15)
Man died after Berkeley protests delayed help (12.19.14)
Police Review Commission asks for suspension of tear gas (12.12.14)
2 officials demand investigation into police tear gas use in Berkeley protest Saturday (12.10.14)
CHP arrests 150 protesters after they block I-80 freeway (12.08.14)
City of Berkeley told police to use restraint, avoid tear gas, on second night of protests (12.08.14)
Protesters take to streets for second night: violence, vandalism of local businesses, looting (12.07.14)
Ferguson demo: injuries reported, tear gas used, property vandalized; arrests (12.06.14)

Get the latest Berkeley news in your inbox with Berkeleyside’s free Daily Briefing. And make sure to bookmark Berkeleyside’s pages on Facebook and Twitter. You don’t need an account on those sites to view important information.