The Slatest

Police Fire Rubber Bullets, Tear Gas on Berkeley Protesters  

A police officer clashes with a protester during a demonstration over recent grand jury decisions in police-involved deaths on Dec. 7, 2014, in Berkeley, California.

Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images

It began as a peaceful gathering against the recent grand violence on Saturday night. But the protest in Berkeley took a violent turn as windows were smashed and stores were looted by a small group of demonstrators. Another group of protesters threw rocks and bottles at police officers. One officer suffered a dislocated shoulder when he was hit by a sandbag, according to the Oakland Tribune.  

Police hit back and used rubber bullets as well as tear gas to try to break up the protests, reports Reuters. A total of six people were arrested, and three officers were injured.

Protesters complained of excessive force by police, insisting those who looted stores and became violent were a tiny minority of those demonstrating against police violence. And it wasn’t just protesters who suffered the effects of the tear gas. The San Francisco Chronicle explains:

Minutes before the police dispersed the crowd at about 10:30 p.m., several concerts had let out in the area. Well-dressed concertgoers waiting to pay in a nearby garage were enveloped in a cloud of stinging gas, sending them running into elevators.

“I’m not sure that’s necessary,” said Elaine Dunlap, 74, who had just attended a Paul Dresher concert at Zellerbach Playhouse. “I think people have a right to protest, certainly for an issue as big as this.”

She was sitting with her husband, Greg, tears streaming down their faces.

“I’ve never experienced that and I’m an old hippie,” she said.

Two police officers in riot gear walk through a cloud of tear gas during a demonstration in Berkeley, California.

Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images