By Mara Van Ells
The Berkeley City Council will meet twice this week, once Tuesday for a special meeting on several zoning board appeals, and also Saturday for a special meeting to discuss community relations with police after protests that wracked the city in December. There are a number of additional community events and council decisions coming later this month related to the protests. Scroll down for details.
On Dec. 6, the first night in a wave of demonstrations in Berkeley related to the police-involved deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, Berkeley Police officers used tear gas to disperse crowds on Telegraph Avenue. Many individuals involved with that first night’s protest said the use of force, which also involved baton strikes and less-lethal projectiles, was unwarranted. Police said officers only took those steps after making dozens or even hundreds of dispersal orders, and being attacked themselves with a range of projectiles thrown by members of the crowd earlier in the night.
Hundreds of protesters who took part in anti-police and Black Lives Matter demonstrations in the East Bay in December will need to wait, possibly up to a year, to find out if they have been charged after they were arrested during the protests, some of which turned violent.
More than two dozen African-American students, many from UC Berkeley, tried to disrupt “business as usual” on Saturday by staging a protest in Berkeley’s upscale Fourth Street shopping district.
A man who collapsed while waiting for Berkeley paramedics to arrive later died at the hospital, city employees have told Berkeleyside, after large protests that wracked the city earlier this month delayed first responders.
“We believe ‘tear gas’ is a misnomer for a group of poisonous gases which, far from being innocuous, have serious acute and longer-term adverse effects on the health of significant numbers of those exposed.”
Berkeley’s major commercial districts are awash with plywood — some of it covers broken glass, some has been erected as a preventive measure to protect vulnerable windows.
An emotional crowd nearly shut down the Berkeley City Council multiple times Tuesday night during a public comment period that lasted the better part of four hours.