NEW YORK —Authorities say a protest in California turned violent when masked demonstrators smashed windows and threw objects at police. Demonstrations around the country continued over a New York City grand jury’s decision not to indict a white police officer in the chokehold death of an unarmed black man.
Officer Jenn Coats, a spokeswoman for the Berkeley Police Department, said one officer had minor injuries Saturday evening after some of the protesters threw rocks and other objects at police.
She said several businesses were looted and damaged. KCBS reported that tear gas and smoke bombs broke up the crowd.
Thousands of demonstrators have protested peacefully in New York and elsewhere since the announcement Wednesday that a grand jury would not indict a white officer in the death of Eric Garner, a black man who repeatedly gasped “I can’t breathe” while he was being arrested for selling loose, untaxed cigarettes. The arrest was captured on video.
Other protests followed a Missouri grand jury’s earlier decision not to indict a white officer in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old.
Garner’s mother and widow said Saturday they found the scope of the demonstrations and the lack of violence moving.
“It is just so awesome to see how the crowds are out there,” said Eric Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, who added that she ended up stuck in her car after protests shut down traffic.
“I was just so proud of that crowd,” Carr said. “It just warmed my heart.”
Garner’s widow, Esaw Garner, said she saw demonstrators from her apartment window and told her son, “Look at all the love that your father’s getting.”
Officers have said the outcry over the grand jury decision has left them feeling betrayed and demonized.
Protests continued in New York City for a fourth day with several dozen people lying down on the floor of Grand Central Terminal and marching into stores in Times Square. There were no reports of arrests.
In Seattle, several hundred people marched downtown to police headquarters Saturday. Authorities said a group split off from the main protest and tried to get onto a roadway. Police say some protesters threw rocks at officers who blocked them from entering it. Seven were arrested.
Looking for more?
Get the best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.