Oakland Mayor Denounces Vandalism As Protests Of Zimmerman Verdict Continue

OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Protesters that vandalized businesses in downtown Oakland Saturday night in a demonstration over Saturday’s verdict in the George Zimmerman trial “dishonored the memory” of the boy Zimmerman killed, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said Sunday.

Protests occurred in both Oakland and San Francisco Saturday night after a not guilty verdict was announced in Zimmerman’s trial.

Zimmerman had been charged with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was unarmed. Zimmerman had argued self-defense in the death, which sparked national controversy because of its racial overtones.

While a protest march in San Francisco’s Mission District remained peaceful Saturday night, a march in Oakland turned destructive.

Around 70 to 100 protestors marched from Frank Ogawa Plaza through the downtown area, vandalizing multiple buildings and businesses. Members of the group allegedly spray-painted anti-police slogans, lighted garbage cans on fire and smashed several windows, police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said.

Officers in riot helmets that included BART police, the California Highway Patrol and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office responded to the protests, but no arrests were made, police said.

Quan said her hearts and prayers were with Trayvon’s loved ones and that she recognized the case had raised “powerful, incredibly difficult issues that affect us all,” including racial profiling.

“Oakland is a community that grapples with many of these issues,” Quan said. “I know many of us are living with hard emotions as we continue working toward solutions in the wake of the verdict.”

Nevertheless, Quan said the protesters had dishonored Martin’s memory by engaging in violent activities that hurt people and the city’s economy.

Protesters Sunday blocked streets around San Francisco’s Union Square, according to city officials.

More demonstrations occurred in downtown Oakland on Sunday.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed)

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