California protests continue following Eric Garner decision

Police fire gas after being targeted by what they called ‘explosives’ in Berkley, California

Protesters have demonstrated daily in several US cities since a grand jury’s decision on Wednesday not to bring criminal charges against the white police officer whose chokehold contributed to Eric Garner’s death in New York City in July.  Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Protesters have demonstrated daily in several US cities since a grand jury’s decision on Wednesday not to bring criminal charges against the white police officer whose chokehold contributed to Eric Garner’s death in New York City in July. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

 

Angry crowds hurled objects at police who retaliated in a second night of clashes in northern California following the death of Eric Garner who was put in a chokehold by a New York police officer.

Police fired gas after being targeted by what they called “explosives” and moved in to clear roadways as protesters swarmed freeway overpasses in Berkeley in northern California.

Police made several arrests among the demonstrators who numbered well over 500, and a number of stores in Berkeley were looted. One demonstrator who tried to prevent the looting was assaulted, police said.

Some demonstrators claimed on Twitter that police had fired rubber bullets.

Protesters have demonstrated daily in several US cities since a grand jury’s decision on Wednesday not to bring criminal charges against the white police officer whose chokehold contributed to Eric Garner’s death in New York City in July.

The killings of Garner and of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen, in Ferguson, Missouri, have highlighted the strained relations between police and the black community and rekindled a national debate over US race relations.

New York was quieter over the weekend, but West Coast cities had braced for trouble after clashes in Berkeley and Seattle, Washington on Saturday.

On Sunday, police in Berkeley fired gas after some demonstrators began hurling objects, the California Highway Patrol’s Golden Gate division said.

Arrests were made, but exact numbers were not available. Patrol vehicles were vandalized, the division said on Twitter, where it also displayed photos of rocks it said were hurled.

Authorities closed the local Bay Area Rapid Transit station for a second night due to the unrest.

The two nights of looting and rock-throwing on the West Coast contrasted with mostly peaceful demonstrations elsewhere.

New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said on Sunday the department’s internal investigation into Garner’s death could last four months. He said he would review the results to decide if officers involved in Garner’s arrest had violated department policy.

The Justice Department is doing its own investigation.

In Chicago, church-affiliated protesters marched through the city, carrying signs and chanting, “I can’t breathe” and “Hands up, don’t shoot,” television news footage showed.

Protesters in Miami blocked a portion of Interstate 195 on Sunday afternoon, clogging traffic to the Art Basel show in Miami Beach, CBS-TV Miami reported.

Reuters