After Friday’s Oakland protests descended into violence and looting, area residents braced for the possibility of another night of unrest. Some protesters apparently opted to shift their attention to neighboring Emeryville. But from the get go, this group seemed to have a more specific agenda of vandalism and looting.
Social Media posts like the one shown below circulated in an Instagram story showed a picture of Bay Street noting ”we gonna protest hit the Emeryville Target” with two fire emoji’s and “Break every stores” [sic].
Bay Street Property Management got word of the threats and acted to alert their residents and shops. The Shoe Palace was seen boarded up and all the display merchandise at the Apple Store were completely vacated.
Trader Joe’s and Target were also boarded up and many other stores reportedly closed early.
Outgoing Emeryville Police Department Chief Jennifer Tejada tweeted a heartfelt statement decrying the Minneapolis police officer killing of George Floyd that had initiated protests across the country and reiterating her own force’s policies. “We do NOT train our officers to do this. Every fiber of my being is rattled, disgusted, horrified, deeply saddened, & embarrassed.”
Tejada also issued a nixel alert asking for the community’s help keeping the city safe and asking residents to continue to abide by the ‘Shelter in Place’ order.
NO excuses. @EmeryvillePD We do NOT train our officers to do this. Every fiber of my being is rattled, disgusted, horrified, deeply saddened, & embarrassed. Chauvin, Lane, Thao & Kueng need to be held accountable for this injustice against Mr. Floyd #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd pic.twitter.com/Vm5z5GGsAa
— Jennifer Tejada (@ChiefTejada) May 28, 2020
The helicopters and sirens started at abruptly 7 p.m. as a train of police vans including an armored “Bear Cat” could be seen making their way into Emeryville to contain any looting attempts.
Ooooookay here we go pic.twitter.com/G0huirLHnB
— Left Coast Right Watch (@LCRWnews) May 31, 2020
There didn’t appear to be any coordinated marches or signs to draw attention to the plight of these protesters and the their age demographic appeared to lean heavily toward youth.
Unlike last night in Oakland when the violence didn’t begin until later in the evening, the looting began almost immediately. The Gamestop on Hollis was the first store to be breached at about 7:10 p.m. followed by Best Buy and then Decathlon.
About 8:45, protesters could be seen from a helicopter looting UNIQLO and H&M at Bay Street. There were additional reports of looting at Powell Street Plaza including Ross, the Chase Bank branch and Starbucks as well at the Public Market including Guitar Center and Urban Outfitters.
7:30 Pm 05/30/20 Emeryville Ca . It dont stop pic.twitter.com/UkkMJXkiEP
— Libra (@ZootedOffKay) May 31, 2020
BEST BUY IN EMERYVILLE😭😭😭ON ONE pic.twitter.com/nmdde14Vb2
— Kelly💋 (@lov3kelly) May 31, 2020
Uniqlo in Emeryville being looted right now. Seeing at least a dozen people stream out of the store. pic.twitter.com/SGLnzpBOqz
— Dion Lim (@DionLimTV) May 31, 2020
Participating agencies included BART PD, Berkeley PD, CHP, Oakland PD, UCPD and a squad of 15 from Marin County.
As of 10 p.m., there were still scattered reports of looting as EPD joined by neighboring agencies worked to contain the scattered pockets of protesters. Participating agencies included BART PD, Berkeley PD, CHP, Oakland PD, UCPD and a squad of 15 from Marin County.
KTVU produced a video segment with interviews with local Emeryville leaders including 2020 Mayor Christian Patz and Councilmember John Bauters. “This is a just a sign of the frustration that people are having and the challenges and I want to commend EPD for their measured response and being out there and keeping people safe this evening.”
Sunday 5/31 update: As of 3 a.m EPD was still on the scene according to Chief Jennifer Tejada. “We will be assessing the damage soon but I can tell you that almost every store in East Bay Bridge Center, Bay St, and Powell St Plaza, and some at Public Market and along San Pablo were either damaged or looted.”
Since this is breaking news, we will update this story as events unfold and new information becomes available.
Feature Image: @LCRWnews