Stockton, CA – Hundreds of students who walked out of high schools in Stockton on Friday, protesting for more gun control in the wake of the recent Florida school shootings, vandalized cars – four of them police vehicles – and attacked police officers (video below).
KCRA reported that students from Stagg High School, Edison High School, Chavez High School, Lincoln High School, and Village Oak High School walked out of class and took to the streets on Feb. 23, creating massive traffic problems in the areas surrounding their schools by walking in the streets rather than on sidewalks.
Five students were arrested in the chaos, during which Stockton police said students threw rocks and damaged both police and civilian vehicles.
Stockton Police said the students they arrested ranged in age from 14 to 18, and were charged with crimes that included battery on an officer, resisting arrest, taking an officer's baton, and vandalizing vehicles, including four patrol vehicles, KCRA reported.
The students who were under 18 year of age were cited and released into their parents’ custody. The 18 year old was booked into the San Joaquin County Jail.
In one incident, about 100 students were attempting to leave the Stagg High School campus by jumping over a fence while the school was in lockdown.
When a police officer approached them to tell them to stop, students fought with the officer and took his baton, police said.
A passerby who witnessed the incident jumped to the officer’s defense and helped him until more officers arrived to back him up, KCRA reported.
Caslita Jones, whose personal vehicle had three huge holes smashed through its back window during the protest, was angry with the students.
“If you want to protest, it’s supposed to be a peaceful protest,” Jones told KCRA. “Breaking out windows doesn’t help anything.”
Hundreds of students from the Lincoln School District ran through Sherwood Mall, disturbing shoppers and disrupting business, but nobody was arrested.
Stockton Unified School District officials called the violent protest “peaceful.”
"Stockton Unified is proud of the peaceful, well organized protests carried out by students on its high school campuses this week. We regret that on Friday some students from one of the high schools left a peaceful protest, walked off campus and created a disruption in the neighborhood. Such activity is not reflective of the values of the overwhelming majority of SUSD students and will not be tolerated,” the district said in a statement.
The Stockton Police had a slightly different take on the students’ activities.
“We do support the freedom to protest peacefully and freedom of speech,” Stockton Police Department’s Public Information Officer Joe Silva told KCRA.
“While the majority of the students were peaceful today, we don’t condone the violence which was committed by a small handful of students. It’s unacceptable to batter a police officer and especially to take an officer’s baton,” Officer Silva said.
Watch the mayhem students caused on the streets and shopping mall in the video below: