Demonstrations continue to roil Berkeley
For a week, thousands of protesters nationwide have taken to the streets, demanding a change to policing following recent grand jury decisions not to indict white police officers in the deaths of unarmed black men in Missouri and New York.
In Berkeley, California, demonstrators this week continued to block traffic on major interstates, stopped an Amtrak train in its tracks and shut down a subway station. Marches have turned violent as protesters threw rocks at police, vandalized California Highway Patrol vehicles, jumped on top of police cars and set fires near crowds of people. More than 1,000 demonstrators confronted police outside of their Berkeley headquarters before blocking traffic on a major interstate on Monday night. Authorities have deployed tear gas, a scene similar to those in Ferguson, Missouri, in the weeks following the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9.
Last month, a St. Louis grand jury decided not to indict Wilson in Brown’s death. And last week, a grand jury in New York City decided not to indict a police officer for placing Staten Island man Eric Garner in an apparent chokehold, which led to the man’s death. Garner’s mother on Saturday urged the public to continue protesting.
Seventy percent of African-Americans said they think the decisions not to indict police officers in the killings of unarmed black men have decreased their confidence in the country’s legal system, according to a recent NBC News/Marist poll. Just 9% said the outcomes have increased their confidence. For white people, the split was smaller: 35% said their confidence has lessened, and 21% said it has risen.