Today was totally uneventful, until, in the middle of dinner, I saw four or five cop cars go the wrong way down 7th Street (a one-way street) outside my building. Then I saw helicopters circling and went up to the roof, where I determined something was going on further up Broadway than I could see from that vantage point. I set out for the intersection of 14th and Broadway, camera in tow, where I found the protest against the shooting of Oscar Grant by a BART police officer on New Year’s Day.
While I was standing there taking this picture, the guy in the left of the frame was asking the police officer whether he could join the protest. The officer told him very politely that he could not, because it was an unlawful protest and the police officers were now just trying to contain it. The guy in the left of the frame asked about his Constitutional right to assembly. “I understand how you feel,” the officer said, “But these people have already committed acts of vandalism. Right now, our job is just to contain them.”
Shortly after I took this, protestors broke out the window of either a police car or a business nearby — I’m not sure which, but I heard the breaking glass — and every officer in the vicinity donned gas masks. I got the hell out of there at that point and went back to my apartment.