Oakland protest demands Ferguson justice

About 500 people gathered in downtown Oakland Monday evening protesting a grand jury’s decision to not indict a police officer in a fatal Missouri shooting.

The organized protest was in response to the grand jury’s decision announced shortly before 6:30 p.m. in the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Missouri.

The protesters started gathering at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza at 14th Street and Broadway earlier in the evening before the announcement chanting:

“The whole damn system is guilty as hell. Indict, convict, send the killer cop to jail.”

More people started gathering at the intersection around 6 p.m. and yelled, “Hands up don’t shoot” and “Black lives matter.”

Many protesters held a “die-in” in which they laid down on the street before the decision was announced.

A large crowd continued to march up Broadway, walked through Chinatown and headed east on Seventh Street. Small groups of people stayed at the plaza calling for peace in light of the grand jury’s decision.

Protesters attempted to enter Interstate Highway 880 from Seventh and Jackson Streets only to be blocked by police and made their way back to 14th Street and Broadway.

Shortly after 7 p.m., protesters were seen on top of an unmarked police car and spray-painted it at Seventh and Jackson streets. Oakland police said 14th Street at Broadway has been closed.

The intersection of Seventh and Jackson streets was briefly blocked off but was reopened as of 7:15 p.m., police said.

Dogwood, a bar located at 1664 Telegraph Ave. and about two blocks away from the plaza, was boarded up in preparation for protesters who may damage the business.

In a statement Rep. Barbara Lee said:

“My heart continues to go out to Michael Brown’s family and community. I am beyond disappointed in today’s verdict. Like everyone in our community, I am devastated by the senseless murder of yet another black man. … I urge protestors to be peaceful and for the police to respect people exercising their First Amendment rights.”