By Julietta Bisharyan
CLAYTON, Contra Costa County – Footage shows police officers opening fire on young, peaceful protestors in the East Bay suburb of Clayton for curfew violations.
The scene has been repeated throughout the state of California, from Sacramento to Southern California, as police fired tear gas, concussion flash grenades, pepper balls, pepper spray and rubber bullets—all identified as “non-lethal.” Despite that, several people in recent days have lost eyes, been concussed and received other serious injuries.
The violence toward nonviolent and unarmed demonstrators comes as cities claim they are trying to prevent looting and violence during the protests over police brutality. Contra Costa’s night curfew between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. was lifted June 4.
One video, which was posted on Twitter, is shot from a far distance, and captures large purple clouds of smoke surrounding the area of protestors and police officers. Shouting and popping sound are in the background. The video currently has over 54,000 views.
“This has been happening for 400 years, and people have tried to be polite and that doesn’t get anywhere,” says the person taking the video.
Another man in the background can be heard questioning the root of police brutality, to which the camera holder candidly replies, “systemic racism.
“White privilege is the issue here, and I don’t think people realize that,” said the man holding the camera, adding, “You can right now go down there, and you can talk and yell at them [the police] and nothing will happen to you. If an African American goes up to that officer’s face, you don’t think he’d get arrested or detained for it?”
2️⃣0️⃣6️⃣ Clayton, CA: distance view of police opening fire on kids for curfew violations
— T. Greg “Bouquet of F*ckery” Doucette (@greg_doucette) June 3, 2020
Right as the man finishes his sentence, sounds of gun firing echo from below. Multiple individuals flee the area while shouting.
“Do you think that [tear gas] is wanted right now? They are 20 ft away sir, there is not a threat whatsoever to that situation,” states the camera man.
“Yes, I do because they are instigating it,” responds the other man in protest.
Behind several tree branches and away from the main area, an individual waves an American flag.
“We as white people have to stand up for the voices that don’t have the privilege in order to stand up for themselves. It started with our ancestors, and we have to do something about it,” concludes the camera man, behind ending the video.
A video of the same incident, in field view, gives an up-close account of the altercation between the protestors and police officers. This view was also posted on Twitter and has garnered over 84,000 views.
Demonstrators and officers stand face to face at a great distance on a grass field, with the protestors shouting at them. Many of them are wearing backpacks, suggesting that they could be teenagers.
Several officers shoot tear gas and diversionary smoke grenades at the ground to break up the crowd, and a cloud of purple smoke begins to form as the protests back up.
“Clowns! It’s on fire!” shouts a young woman in the background, as the small fire begins to spread. “This is why y’all need more school, damn. Y’all dropped out of high school and got your GED, for what?”
News reports indicate that the police confronted the crowd at around 6 p.m., along with other people who were trying to protect local businesses. The protest ended at 7 p.m. after many protestors retreated. No arrests were made.
“I think the protest is fully warranted and it was very peaceful until they started throwing canisters,” said a father of one of the protestors. “That’s unwarranted.”
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