OAKLAND (CBS SF) – Nine people were arrested in Oakland overnight as demonstrators took to the streets for a third night to protest George Zimmerman’s Florida acquittal in the killing of Trayvon Martin.
A number of downtown businesses were vandalized and a server at Flora, a restaurant on Telegraph Avenue at 19th Street, was hit in the head by a hammer-wielding protester while trying to protect the restaurant’s windows. Flora had its windows broken on Saturday night in a similar protest.
The restaurant tweeted Tuesday morning that the server was “doing OK” after spending the night in the emergency room.
Among the businesses that had their windows smashed were a Men’s Wearhouse store, Comerica bank, Foot Locker and Youth Radio.
Dozens of demonstrators briefly blocked Interstate 880 in Oakland at the end of rush hour Monday before lanes were cleared by authorities. Several protesters laid their bicycles on the ground in front of stopped cars.
The rally began at about 6 p.m. in Frank Ogawa Plaza and was initially led by a team of protesters on bicycles—some who decorated their wheels in an Oakland style known as “Scraper Bikes.”
After leaving the plaza, protesters marched past Oakland police headquarters, briefly onto Interstate Highway 880 before being dispersed by Oakland police and California Highway Patrol officers, and then through Chinatown, to Lake Merritt and then into downtown.
There were brief confrontations between protesters and officers at several locations, including at the entrance to Interstate Highway 580 near Lake Merritt, at the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse at 12th and Oak streets and downtown.
KCBS, KPIX 5 and SF Chronicle reporter Phil Matier said part of the problem is the dwindling staff on the Oakland police force and that in many cases, officers feel like their hands are tied.
Matier said officers are concerned that while many of the protesters are just looking to start a confrontation, they can’t fight back for fear that they will be reprimanded or in some extreme cases, the department could even face lawsuits if officers engage with the protesters.
Oakland Police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said those arrested included six men, two women and one juvenile male.- the majority of the arrestees with addresses outside of Oakland.
Protesters were arrested for offenses including two felony crimes and seven misdemeanors. Violations included assault with a deadly weapon, resisting arrest, and vandalism, according to Watson.
Assaults, broken windows, graffiti and small fires were reported. Police also recovered a BB gun from a protester.
Monday night’s protest was the third in three days in Oakland following the announcement Saturday that George Zimmerman was found not guilty of the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin after a confrontation where he followed Martin believing he was suspicious.
In Southern California, Fourteen people were arrested after multiple acts of vandalism and several assaults in Los Angeles’ Crenshaw District overnight
Protesters also broke windows, attacked people on sidewalks and raided a Wal-Mart store. A TV crew received minor injuries in an assault.
Police Chief Charlie Beck said more than 300 officers were called to the scene and at first attempted to allow a peaceful end to the demonstration. But the chief said police would take a much stricter posture in the coming nights.
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