Saturday, August 29, 2020

Arrests in Night of California Protests

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Protests against the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin returned to California’s streets with small crowds marching in several cities. But there were few arrests, and no reports of major violence, authorities said Saturday.

More demonstrations were planned over the weekend.

In Oakland, about 250 people marched and rode bicycles through downtown and blocked streets before dispersing by midnight. Police arrested more than a dozen people for crimes, including assault on an officer, as well as pointing a laser at police and at a television news crew, the Oakland Police Department said in a tweet.

Some chanted: “Whose streets? Our streets” and “No ICE, Black and brown must be free,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

At one point, the paper said police deployed smoke bombs into a crowd. A police officer who declined to identify himself to the Chronicle said protesters were assaulting officers who were trying to make arrests.

Police had increased staffing for the protest. On Wednesday night, protesters set fires, broke windows and vandalized businesses.

In San Jose, a crowd spray-painted graffiti on Mayor Sam Liccardo’s home with phrases that included “BLM,” Jacob Blake and profanities, fired paintballs and burned a flag. His neighbors quickly banded together to clean Liccardo’s home.

Liccardo said in a statement Saturday he was away visiting a relative at the time of the incident. The mayor said the vandalism does not detract from his support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“Many of these same neighbors’ homes bear ‘Black Lives Matter’ signs, and they represent the true spirit of the movement, and of our San Jose community,” he said. “They contrast sharply with the roughly hundred so-called ‘protesters’ who stood by silently — or even cheered — as a flag was burned and while ‘f(asterisk)ck you’ and other messages were scrawled on our home.”

The San Jose Police Department said that it is investigating the vandalism at Liccardo’s home and at City Hall, where a suspect was arrested for felony vandalism.

At least six people were arrested in San Diego after police stopped a car that had run a red light while following the protesters, police said.

The crowd “surged” to the spot and several people were held after shining lasers at officers and a helicopter, punching an officer and spraying a “chemical irritant” at officers, according to police tweets.

In Sacramento, police tweeted that 150 to 200 people were marching and said many had “helmets, shields, armor and weapons.”

However, live helicopter reports from KCRA-TV appeared to show far fewer people. No sweeping violence or vandalism appeared to have been committed by late Friday night, although police tweets said some motorcycle officers were struck by rocks and lasers were pointed at a police helicopter as the group marched.

Sacramento police said in a tweet it arrested one person after a report of someone carrying a gun. The weapon was found to be a BB gun, the department said.

Earlier in the day, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones said he had asked for the deployment of National Guard troops in the state capital after scattered violence Thursday night that included spraying graffiti on City Hall, smashing some windows and vandalizing government buildings.

The violence came from a second group of marchers that followed an earlier, peaceful protest.

Blake is the 29-year-old Black man who was shot in the back seven times on Sunday by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, as he pulled away from an officer and leaned into his SUV, in which three of his children were seated. A family attorney on Tuesday said Blake was paralyzed, and it would “take a miracle” for him to walk again.

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