California unrest: Dozens arrested after Michael Brown decision
Dozens of people were arrested in California protests after the grand jury decision in Missouri not to indict the police officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.
Forty-three people were arrested in Oakland on suspicion of crimes including assaulting police officers, burglary, resisting arrest and vandalism.
About 2,000 people took to the streets in the Bay Area city Monday night, and the protests turned violent.
Crowds forced the closure of Interstate 580, and authorities reported rocks and bottles thrown at CHP officers. Oakland police said Tuesday that several officers were injured in the melee.
Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent said, at one point, police found people on bicycles were riding around and stocking up on rocks, which they distributed to protesters.
“I think our officers exercised tremendous restraint,” he said.
City and police officials in Oakland said demonstrators looted a Smart & Final in downtown Oakland and 10 merchants reported their storefront windows were shattered.
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said on Facebook that a crowd of people smashed windows and broke into downtown Oakland business, spray-painted graffiti and set garbage cans on fire.
“For several hours the protest in Oakland Monday night was peaceful,” she said. “It’s unfortunate that some demonstrators then decided to close down the freeway, placing themselves, our officers and many uninvolved motorists at great risk.”
Michael Brown, who was African American, was shot and killed by a white Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson. The shooting touched off weeks of unrest in the St. Louis suburb and a national debate about the use of force by authorities.
In Los Angeles, a peaceful protest Monday night turned into a shoving match outside the Los Angeles Police Department’s downtown headquarters and three people were arrested. Protesters who gathered downtown dispersed about 2:30 a.m.
Local protests extended from Beverly Hills -- where demonstrators lay down in the street to memorialize the slain teenager -- to Leimert Park.
At one point, about 150 demonstrators broke through a fence and walked onto the 110 Freeway near the 10 Freeway interchange.
The freeway was shut down for about an hour until the crowd broke up, said Officer Peter Bishop of the California Highway Patrol.
LAPD Deputy Chief Bob Green said nonlethal projectiles were used to help California Highway Patrol officers disperse the crowd, which was declared an unlawful assembly.
Los Angeles County Sheriff-elect Jim McDonnell urged those angry about the grand jury decision to “respect the outcome and processes of our legal system.”
“The greatness of our nation comes from our ability to come together peacefully and lawfully, to speak up about what is on our minds, and to respect one another,” he said in a statement.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson, president of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable, said civil rights leaders delivered a petition calling for federal criminal charges to be filed against the Ferguson officer.
Darrin Johnson of Redlands signed the petition on Change.org, but expressed frustrations with the justice system.
“Can’t even say I’m tired at this point,” he wrote. “I’m frustrated beyond belief. Signing this petition is at the moment the closest thing I have to taking action.”
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