Downtown Oakland Merchants Clean Up After Looting, Vandalism During Protests

Broken glass, boarded-up windows and spray-painted graffiti dominated Broadway in downtown Oakland Saturday morning in the wake of overnight protests and riots, as residents deplored the violence.

Thousands gathered in Oakland and across the country on Friday night to protest the death on Monday of George Floyd when he was in police custody in Minneapolis .

"I am all for peaceful protesting, but don't come to our city and do damage," said Phillip Johnson, who was born and raised in Oakland. Johnson was standing Saturday morning outside a Target store that opened at 2650 Broadway in October.

Every window in the store was smashed and store display shelves visible from the street were empty.

Johnson believes agitators from outside Oakland were responsible for the violence and looting, a view echoed by several others standing outside the store.

Oakland business leaders echoed that sentiment and a Chamber of Commerce representative said Saturday that "a small band of well-mobilized vandals" had once again targeted the city's merchants and most vulnerable people.

"We will not let out-of-town individuals undermine this legitimate protest and destroy our local economy," said Barbara Leslie, President and CEO of the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

"We stand wholeheartedly with those who are rightfully outraged by the senseless loss of life in Minneapolis and those protesting the economic pain being felt across our region at this time," Leslie said.

The city was again the target of wanting to damage downtown businesses, she said.

A Federal Protective Services officer was shot and killed at the Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building Friday night, according to the FBI.

The Federal Building was eerily silent Saturday morning, cordoned off by yellow caution tape, deserted except for two workers sweeping up broken glass outside and two officers keeping watch.

Outside locally owned Firebrand Artisan Breads at 2343 Broadway, customers stood six feet apart in line wearing masks, but most other businesses were closed, many boarded up, including the popular Luka's Taproom at 2221 Broadway.

Graffiti was scrawled across the plywood boards and building fronts. The Paramount Theater was heavily boarded up and appeared to have escaped damage.

A torched orange message sign lay on its side outside the patient ID Center at 1733 Broadway. Yellow caution tape stretched in front of shattered windows at the Walgreens at the corner of 14th Street and Broadway.

As has been the case in the past, peaceful protests took place during the day Friday. After dark, the riots and destruction began, according to those who were on hand Friday night.

City officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the extent of the damage and cleanup.

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