Bay Area protests end with dozens detained, businesses damaged

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OAKLAND — Volunteers and cleaning crews were out early Saturday morning picking up after tense protests over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis roiled Oakland and San Jose on Friday late into the night, resulting in dozens of looters detained and damage to businesses.

In downtown Oakland and the auto row area of Broadway to the north, windows were smashed at dozens of buildings, and cars slowly navigated around burned wreckage of dumpsters, a car and a stand of Lyft bikes that littered the streets. Inside a Mercedes-Benz dealership on 29th and Broadway, several cars had been smashed and graffitied, and one appeared to have been set on fire. Several small fires were reported Friday night around Oakland, including the one inside the dealership and another inside a Walgreens.

Law enforcement wearing military-style fatigues as well as an armored vehicle blocked off several streets around the federal office plaza downtown where a Federal Protective Service officer was killed and another injured in a Friday night shooting that the Oakland Police Department initially said appeared unconnected to the nearby protests.The department’s public information office later deleted the tweet, and Oakland police are not ruling out the possibility of a connection.

Water poured from a sprinkler system through the smashed windows of the looted Target store at Broadway and 27th Street, and with no security in sight, a couple of people were still picking items off the shelves at around 8 a.m.

Crews of workers power-washed the graffitied buildings and loaded burned out dumpsters and other debris into trucks to clear the streets and sidewalks. Throughout the morning they were joined by other broom-wielding volunteers from around Oakland who described a mix of civic pride and sympathy for business owners that motivated them to join the cleanup effort.

Among them was 21-year-old Nelson Kudilil, who was sweeping glass from the sidewalk, having gotten up early and grabbed his broom after arriving home in the midst of the protest late Friday night after his shift as an EMT.

“I see people walk around here every day,” said Kudilil, who lives a couple of blocks from the store and walks his dog past it regularly.

“It’s totally validated anger,” Kudilil said of the protests.

Corporate offices, financial institutions and chain businesses appeared to suffer the worst damage Friday night. At 14th and Broadway, people ripped protective boarding from a Chase Bank location and smashed its windows, and ransacked a Walgreens across the street. On the front door of a Wells Fargo branch where several windows were smashed, someone spray-painted “This is what you get.”

But vandals also targeted small locally owned businesses, including a hair salon, jewelry stores and other shops in Oakland’s Chinatown.

“I agree with them and support them, but there’s a minority of people who come in and do the damage,” said Albert, a co-owner of New Oakland Pharmacy on 9th Street, who declined to give his last name.

The pharmacy’s windows were smashed and people stole medications, he said. But they didn’t touch the pharmacy’s computer system, allowing it to reopen Saturday morning and continue filling prescriptions for customers, many of whom are seniors from the neighborhood.

“I’ve got people who need medicine,” Albert said.

Some questioned whether the damage was done by actual anti-police violence protestors, including developer Phil Tagami who said on Facebook that there were protestors of all races and ages in Oakland but that he wants a review of photos and videos from the protest before blame for property damage is placed “at the feet of the wrong people.”

“To the 7 young white males who broke our windows and looted our store last night please do not tell me you did so because of #GeorgeFloyd I saw you!” Tagami, who owns damaged Rotunda Building, wrote. “I was in the middle of the chaos last night and 90% of the vandalism was young white boys and girls.”

In San Jose, crews were putting up plywood on a Chase bank branch with broken glass windows, and anti-police graffiti covered the walls of several buildings including Horace Mann Elementary School and a sign for a strip mall with a Lee’s Sandwiches, both near city hall.

The Oakland Police Department said in a preliminary report Saturday morning that 60 looters were detained for further investigation on Friday. The department arrested 18 individuals and outside police agencies arrested four more. At 10:39 p.m. OPD announced it had increased staffing and requested mutual aid and within the hour, officers from Watsonville and Scott’s Valley police had arrived in the downtown area.

Six Oakland police officers were injured, as well as seven officers from outside agencies, according to the report. It was not clear what kind of injuries the officers sustained. One citation was issued and one vehicle was towed.

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