Patrol Cars, Stores Damaged during Violent Protests in Berkeley, California

Protests in Berkeley, Calif. on Sunday Dec. 7, 2014, over the deaths of unarmed black men by police. (Photo: Jessica Guynn/USA TODAY)
Protests in Berkeley, Calif. on Sunday Dec. 7, 2014, over the deaths of unarmed black men by police.
(Photo: Jessica Guynn/USA TODAY)

A peaceful protest in the university town of Berkeley, Calif., Sunday night over police killings of black men was overtaken by a group vandalizing police cars and stores and briefly shutting a local highway.

It was the second straight night that protests over the chokehold death of Eric Garner in New York and shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., turned violent.

A roaming crowd of 300-400 protesters moved between the Oakland border on Telegraph Ave. and downtown Berkeley, leaving California patrol cars and a string of stores damaged, according to California police and local reports. Media reports said eight people were arrested.

The downtown Berkeley BART station was also temporarily shut.

While an air of calm returned as the marchers headed back to the University of California, Berkeley campus, they left a trail of damage and confrontations — both with police and between the groups of protesters, one trying to prevent vandalism.

Police fired teargas at protesters after a group would not leave Highway 24, shutting off the artery between Berkeley and the eastern suburbs of Walnut Creek for 45 minutes.

Groups of protesters set trash cans on fire and lobbed objects at storefronts, looting some. The Cal Student Store’s window was cracked, two bank fronts were vandalized and two cell-phone carrier stores were damaged.

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Source: USA Today | Jessica Guynn and Laura Mandaro

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