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Protest erupts in Oakland following Ferguson grand jury decision, shuts down freeway

on November 25, 2014

Planned protests erupted in Oakland Monday night, disrupting freeway traffic and leading to a handful of arrests as a huge crowd demonstrated against a grand jury decision to not indict Ferguson, MO, police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.

A crowd of several hundred filled the intersection of 14th and Broadway in downtown Oakland by 5:50 p.m., chanting “No justice, no peace! Fuck the police!” Protesters marched east on Broadway shortly after 7 p.m., with the crowd swelling to about 1,000 as the march headed toward Lake Merritt.

Police formed a barricade at Grand Avenue and MacArthur Blvd. to stop the crowd from crossing onto Lakeshore Avenue. Several hundred protesters instead pushed forward onto the 580 freeway onramp at MacArthur, halting traffic for miles as police formed a barricade on the freeway and helicopters circled.

By around 9:30 p.m., the protesters dispersed from the freeway and turned back towards downtown Oakland. Another group attempted to enter the freeway at the Grand/Lakeshore Avenue exit ramp, chanting, “Shut it down for Michael Brown!” and setting a mattress on fire.

Police said there were scattered reports of vandalism downtown, but the damage paled in comparison to the looting and torching that engulfed parts of Ferguson after the decision was announced.

Ronald Cruz, an organizer with By Any Means Necessary, announced on a megaphone around 10:45 p.m. that six to nine people had been arrested during the earlier attempt to block the freeway.

Brown, 18, was shot and killed by Officer Wilson in Ferguson, MO, on Aug. 9. Brown’s death ignited a storm of protests in Ferguson and around the world. Brown, who was unarmed when he was shot, was black; Wilson is white.

A Missouri grand jury was convened to review evidence and to decide whether to charge Wilson with a crime.

The long-awaited grand jury decision was anticipated throughout the month of November, with tensions mounting as cities across the country prepared for post-announcement marches. In Missouri, Governor Jay Nixon preemptively declared a state of emergency. Oakland joined more than 100 cities in actions on the evening the grand jury decision was released.

For more coverage of the protests in Oakland, see Oakland North’s updates at




  1. Anthony Alan on November 25, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    The recurrent expression of outrage by critics and the mainstream media about the use of deadly force by police officers against unarmed individuals fails to recognize that since 2000 at least 57 suspects have taken officers’ weapons and murdered the police officer with it.

    That means that about every three months in the USA, one officer’s family gets a knock on the door and is told that a husband, father, son, or daughter won’t be coming home ever again. Although you won’t see a rally in the street when it happens again, or see five hours a night of news coverage dedicated to the ongoing developments surrounding the incident, it will surely happen again.

    While statistics for officers murdered with their own weapons are difficult to research, we know from the Los Angeles Police Protection League, the FBI and that between 2000-10, at least 51 officers were killed by alleged perpetrators who used the officer’s own gun. Four officers were killed in 2011, one officer was killed in 2013. Moreover, so far in 2014, it has been confirmed that Johnson City (New York) Police Officer David Smith was murdered in March with his own weapon. Smith had served in the police department for over 18 years.

    In Smith’s case, according to the Officers Down Memorial Page report, before he was able to exit his patrol car or radio for help, the alleged assailant was able to disarm Officer Smith and shoot him while he was still in the patrol car.

    Perhaps those that are quick to jump to conclusions in the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson and the death of Ezell Brown in Los Angeles could show some restraint. All the facts are not in and a rush to judgment may be unfair to the innocent as well as damaging to local store owners. August 30, 2014

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