Police use tear gas to disperse crowds as hundreds march in Berkeley

Bay City News
Sunday, December 7, 2014
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About 400 people are marching in downtown Berkeley along Shattuck Avenue.

BERKELEY, Calif. -- Police used tear gas to disperse protesters blocking roads and made arrests as hundreds marched through Berkeley on Shattuck Avenue Saturday evening. It's the latest in a series of protests following a New York grand jury's decision not to indict a white police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner.

Some in the crowd turned violent, smashing windows of a Trader Joe's grocery store and damaging a Radio Shack store.

Protesters tried to get to the freeway, but police blocked the on ramp. BART shut down several Berkeley stations to avoid conflict with protesters.

Berkeley police say demonstrators threw rocks and other projectiles at officers - one officer suffered minor injuries.

There are also reports of businesses being vandalized in the area of University Avenue and MLK Jr. Way. Police warned people to avoid the area.

Officer Jennifer Coats said the crowd started out moving north on Shattuck Avenue.

Demonstrators began gathering in Berkeley as a part of a series of protests in the Bay Area against a New York grand jury's decision and as a show of support following the events in Ferguson.

Protests erupted in San Francisco and Oakland earlier Saturday as well.

Photos on Twitter showed police arresting demonstrators on Market Street in San Francisco Saturday after a "die-in" and demonstrators holding signs that read, "Stop racist police terror" and "Justice for Mike Brown."

In Oakland, photos and reports on Twitter this afternoon showed demonstrators walking into businesses and in some cases, reading the names of people slain by police.

ABC7 News reporter Sergio Quintana contributed to this story.