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Cops Injured as Berkeley Protests Over Eric Garner Death Turn Violent

Berkeley Police said at least two officers were injured when protesters hurled bricks and smoke grenades at cops.

At least two officers were injured as demonstrations over police killings turned violent in California overnight, with protesters smashing windows and hurling rocks at cops, according to authorities. Berkeley Police said officers used smoke and tear gas after crowds refused to disperse. What started out as a peaceful protest devolved into chaos when "splinter groups broke off and began hurling bricks, pipe, smoke grenades, and other missiles at officers," according to Berkeley Police spokeswoman Jennifer Coats. She said six people were arrested in the melee.

She said "numerous officers" were struck and that one officer who was struck with a large sandbag was treated for a dislocated shoulder at a local hospital. Protesters vandalized cars, smashing windows and looting businesses, according to Coats, who said a Trader Joe's, a Radio Shack and a Wells Fargo Bank were vandalized along with "numerous" police cars. The local police department was reinforced by more than a hundred officers from other local police departments, highway patrol and the county sheriff's office.

Thousands of demonstrators have turned out in U.S. daily since Wednesday's decision by a grand jury not to indict white police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner. Garner died after being wrestled to the ground in what has been described as a chokehold; his last words — "I can't breathe" — have been a rallying cry for protests.

At least one protester was lightly injured when a car drove into a demonstration on Saturday night in Riverside, California, according to NBC Los Angeles.


— Cassandra Vinograd