Members of the Oakland Police Department have confirmed that officers responded to calls about riots after the Zimmerman verdict was announced. A jury of six women found the defendant not guilty of second degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
Protests were held in at least three California cities. Other incidents were peaceful, they said, but Oakland residents resorted to violence, arson and vandalism. A restaurant employee recalled hearing glass shatter as a protester threw something through the business’ front window.
Oakland Police Department officers said they received information about fires being started in the streets. A spokesperson said a group of unknown individuals is also said to have vandalized a parked squad car. Some protesters continued to walk the streets into the early morning hours.
Several officers formed a line in order to prevent demonstrators from progressing into other areas of the street. One attendee said the crowds did not begin to disperse until after 2 a.m.
An area newspaper reported their office windows were shattered. A news station’s helicopter was able to capture footage of angry people trying to ignite fires throughout the city. Others used graffiti to voice their distaste with law enforcement. Oakland Police Department officers also said they saw individuals burning an American flag.
A California flag was also scorched. The Alameda courthouse was vandalized with spray paint. This demonstration is far different from one held in San Francisco. The latter was very peaceful, according to attendees. Marches in Los Angeles and San Diego were also held without incident.
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan reportedly condemned the local violence. He said this type of activity will not be tolerated. Those who engage in violent actions are dishonoring the memory of Trayvon, she said, and that their actions do harm to local businesses and residents.
Jail representatives said they were not detaining any protestors. The Oakland Police Department is not believed to have made any arrests.