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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Eric Garner Verdict: Oakland Braces for More Protests

Posted By on Wed, Dec 3, 2014 at 2:21 PM

click to enlarge Ready - STEVE RHODES
  • Steve Rhodes
  • Ready
It took all of a few minutes for political organizers in Oakland to rally the troops, after a Staten Island grand jury voted not to indict the white police officer who held Eric Garner in a choke-hold, resulting in the 43-year-old African American man's death.

The news comes roughly a week after a jury in St. Louis voted not to charge Officer Darren Wilson, who shot Michael Brown, an 18-year-old unarmed black man, to death in the middle of a street in August. It comes about two weeks after another white cop, Timothy Loehmann, fatally shot a 12-year-old black kid named Tamir Rice, in Cleveland.

The spate of police killings has stoked massive rage across the U.S., and helped fuel a now-ubiquitous protest campaign known by its hashtag, #BlackLivesMatter. Last week, protesters took to the streets in downtown Oakland and San Francisco for several days, staging marches that started out peacefully but routinely erupted in violence. 
Last Friday, demonstrators staged concurrent actions at West Oakland BART and Union Square, intertwining the #BlackLivesMatter message with a traditional Black Friday boycott. Of the 79 protesters arrested, only about 30 percent were from San Francisco, SFPD reported. Roughly the same proportion came in from Oakland. 

The next rally is scheduled for today at 5 p.m. in Oakland's Frank Ogawa Plaza, which Occupy protesters rechristened Oscar Grant Plaza three years ago, in light of yet another high-profile cop shooting — that of 22-year-old Oscar Grant. With this Friday also marking Oakland's popular monthly art walk, expect more protests afoot.

Update: Oakland Mayor Jean Quan issued a kind note to the community, reminding everyone that there will be plenty of police downtown tonight.

Per the mayor:
You will see increased police presence to facilitate peaceful expressions. Keeping peace on our streets and protecting the safety of Oakland residents and businesses is our top priority and we will be prepared. We are providing this information to raise awareness about these events, not to alarm, and so that you may plan ahead. Note that traffic in downtown could be intermittently displaced if demonstrations occur. OPD will facilitate traffic to ensure pedestrian and vehicular safety. If traffic and/or transit impacts occur, employers, employees, and residents are advised to visit or call 511 for up-to-date transition information.

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About The Author

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan was a staff writer at SF Weekly from 2013 to 2015. In previous lives she was a music editor, IP hack, and tutor of Cal athletes.


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