Protests against police violence spread from New York City to the West Coast over the weekend as demonstrators clashed with officers and each other while protesting a grand jury’s decision not to indict a New York police officer in the chokehold death of Eric Garner.
CNN reports protests in California turned violent, with demonstrators hurling objects at police officers and vandalizing storefronts.
In Oakland, a crowd swarmed a highway Sunday night, prompting a standoff with the California Highway Patrol. Protesters reportedly threw Molotov cocktails and firecrackers at officers, who responded by firing tear gas canisters into the crowd. Eight protesters were arrested and two officers reportedly sustained minor injuries.
Students from the nearby University of California, Berkeley, also witnessed violence as a peaceful Sunday protest got out of hand.
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“People were vandalizing police cars and jumping on the cars,” university student Gurpreet Heer said.
Protesters in downtown Berkeley reportedly vandalized and looted stores.
Peaceful demonstrators confronted the groups of vandals, reports USA Today. One group of protesters surrounded two men seen looting a Radio Shack and reportedly grabbed the stolen boxes and threw them back in the store.
Sunday’s demonstrations were the fifth night of protests following the Wednesday grand jury decision to not indict the white police officer who placed Eric Garner in a chokehold on a New York street. Garner, an asthmatic, died shortly after being wrestled to the ground by the officer.
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That decision, following closely after a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to an indict a white police officer for fatally shooting Michael Brown, a black teenager, in the city of Ferguson, has sparked a number of protests and demonstrations nationwide.
Police clashed with protesters in Seattle on Saturday when protesters reportedly hurled rocks at officers.
More peaceful protests took place in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and Miami, according to Reuters.
New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Sunday his department was conducting an internal investigation into Garner’s death but that could take up to four months.