New York set for fifth day of protests over police violence after West Coast clashes

(Reuters) – A fifth day of demonstrations over police use of excessive force with minorities was set for New York on Sunday after 13 arrests in a night of violent protests in Berkeley, California, where stores were looted and tear gas fired, and in Seattle.

Clashes on the West Coast contrasted with relatively calm demonstrations on a rain-soaked Saturday in New York, after mourners held a funeral for an unarmed black man shot dead by a white police officer in the stairwell of a Brooklyn apartment house.

Sunday was expected to see protests again in New York as well as Chicago, Philadelphia, Miami and Minneapolis and dozens of other cities.

In Berkeley on Saturday night, one man smashed a grocery store window with a skateboard as others proceeded to loot the store, video from KTVU-TV showed. At least two other businesses were looted, said Officer Jennifer Coats of the Berkeley Police Department.

Police were pelted by missiles from a splinter group of protesters and fired tear gas, Coats said. One officer hit by a sandbag suffered a dislocated shoulder, she said.

Several police vehicles were damaged, she told Reuters on Sunday.

The disturbance forced the closure of the local Bay Area Rapid Transit station.

Six people were arrested, Coats said.

In Seattle, protesters threw rocks and attacked police who blocked them from marching onto State Route 99, resulting in seven arrests for assault and other charges, said Seattle Detective Patrick Michaud.

The shooting of Akai Gurley, 28, at a Brooklyn public housing project last month was the latest in a series of incidents fueling outrage over what protesters say is a pattern of excessive force being used by law enforcement officers against African-Americans.

The killings and decisions by grand juries to return no indictments against officers involved in them have rekindled a national debate over race relations in the United States.

The district attorney in the New York City borough of Brooklyn said on Friday a grand jury would consider charges against Peter Liang, the officer who shot Gurley. Police have said Liang may have accidentally discharged his gun.

Demonstrations began on Wednesday after a grand jury decided to bring no charges against Daniel Pantaleo, a New York City police officer, in the July death of Eric Garner, a 43-year-old father of six.

That decision was announced nine days after a Missouri grand jury chose not to indict a white policeman for the shooting dead in August of an unarmed black teenager, spurring two nights of violence and arson in a St. Louis suburb.

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