Dark Night of the Stole 

How looters and vandals derailed peaceful protests and the police accountability movement

Page 4 of 4

Whether by design or not, the looters were stretching local law enforcement thin. In a general sense, the same strategy was employed across the entire East Bay, when the violence visited Walnut Creek and then spread across Alameda County. In the past, when protests and violence were centered in Oakland, Berkeley or San Francisco, mutual aid agreements between neighboring police departments allowed for large demonstrations to be quelled more easily by borrowing manpower. But with the activity spread out in multiple cities, each city was left to defend itself with limited resources on Sunday night.

Meanwhile, reports of looting and violence continued to arrive from Oakland, Berkeley, Hayward, Fremont and Union City, among others. In the early morning hours on Monday, Hayward Police shot and wounded a suspect believed to be looting a CVS Pharmacy on Foothill Boulevard. It would be the department's third officer-involved shooting in the past 10 days.

The Children Shall Lead Us

On Monday, local leaders responded by shutting down the streets at night and instituting curfews. Walnut Creek announced a week-long curfew from 8pm to 5am. It was soon followed by San Leandro and Hayward. Based on the amount of damage San Leandro suffered the night before, city officials chose to begin their curfew at 6pm. More cities followed suit throughout the day; Oakland being noticeably absent from the expanding list, before finally relenting. Mayor Schaaf told MSNBC that she did not take issuing a curfew lightly, in part, because of the city's rich tradition of political protests. The move toward curfews would soon be moot, after Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern used his authority to declare a countywide curfew, starting at 8pm, that will run through June 5.

Not everyone appreciated Ahern's blanket curfew, especially progressives, who fumed that he overstepped his authority. Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin criticized Ahern on Twitter, saying he made the move despite comments from local mayors who wanted to tailor their own curfews.

"We're a Charter City and are subject to emergency orders we issue," Arreguin tweeted. "I will ask the City Attorney to provide further legal clarification, but our order is different from the Sheriff. He issued this order despite other cities saying that they were going to make their own decisions."

Berkeley would later assert its independence and declare a two-day curfew through Wednesday morning.

As the sun set on Monday, a peaceful, student-led rally at Oakland Tech attracted an estimated 15,000 people. The Anti-Police Terror Project partnered with a group of teenagers to create a youth-led protest for the teen and tween set. Meeting at Tech at 4pm, thousands of young students packed the four lanes of Broadway in front of the school for speeches and first-hand accounts before marching to Oscar Grant Plaza as a show of support and solidarity. The energy and love of Oakland's youth for their radical history was a satisfying coda to a stressful and harrowing weekend.

At least for a moment, the focus had returned to George Floyd.


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