Bay Area Protests Dwindle, Looting Reported

Protesters against police violence march through Berkeley, California, December 10, 2014. The march extended into Oakland as more than 100 protesters gathered for a fifth consecutive night of demonstration. Noah Berger/Reuters

OAKLAND, Calif. (Reuters) - Police in Oakland, California, said demonstrators broke windows and looted stores and that there was one arrest for assaulting an officer in the latest U.S. protest over police violence.

Oakland and neighboring Berkeley have seen nightly demonstrations since the weekend in response to decisions by two grand juries not to charge white police officers in the killings of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City.

On Wednesday night, about 150 protesters - a smaller crowd than on previous evenings - left the campus of University of California-Berkeley and demonstrated without incident before marching south into Oakland, the city of Oakland said in a statement.

By that point, the protesters' numbers had dwindled to about 50 people, the statement said, some of whom broke windows at a T-Mobile store and a Chase bank. Looting also was reported in an area of small businesses at a downtown intersection, it said.

"An officer outside the Oakland Police Department was assaulted and an arrest was made," the statement said.

A Reuters photographer witnessed an undercover police officer, who had been marching with the demonstrators, pointing his pistol at protesters after he and his partner were attacked.

About 20 uniformed officers were quickly on the scene and detained one man. A spokesman for the Oakland Police Department said only that it had responded to a request for assistance "made by an outside agency," and referred all inquiries about the incident to the California Highway Patrol.

A spokeswoman for the CHP's Golden Gate Division did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Two subway stations in downtown Oakland were shut down for a time late on Wednesday due to the protest, city officials said.

On previous evenings this week in the Bay Area, riot police have fired tear gas and pepper spray to disperse demonstrators, some of whom have thrown stones at the officers.

The protests are part of nationwide actions by activists amid turmoil over the policing of black communities.