Calm returns to Oakland after night of protests over Mehserle verdict of involuntary manslaughter

Units from the Pleasanton PD, Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department joining in backup efforts that quelled violence

Police arrested about 83 people in Oakland Thursday night and this morning as officers responded to protests following the Johannes Mehserle verdict, Oakland police Chief Anthony Batts said.

Units from the Pleasanton Police Department and the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department joined in the back-up support efforts to quell violence.

The evening started off peacefully with about 800 people gathering downtown to voice their opinions, but at about 8 p.m., a small, hostile crowd began moving toward a police line that had been held for several hours, Batts said.

Pleasanton Weekly reporter Glenn Wohltmann who has been on the scene said concerns about protesters growing violent in demonstrations prompted police from throughout the area to block the protesters in and keep others from entering shortly after the verdict was announced.

Police set up a blocks-wide corridor near Broadway and 14th Street in Oakland. Closer to the protests, they were suited in full riot gear; those manning the perimeter weren't wearing body armor, but were forceful in turning onlookers -- and potential additions to the protest -- away, Wohltmann reported.

Oakland Chief Batts said that about 50 people wearing black masks, bandanas, hooded sweatshirts and backpacks threw rocks and bottles at the officers, Batts said.

He described the protesters as anarchists and said their goal was to go into crowds and cause people on both sides to overact.

At 20th Street and Broadway, officers dispersed smoke to break up the crowd, but no tear gas was used, Batts said. Police issued a dispersal order and said over a loudspeaker that the protest had been declared an unlawful assembly, Batts said.

The crowd was reduced to about 300 people by 9:30 p.m.

"A number of protesters failed to adhere to that legal mandate," Batts said at about 10:30 p.m. "We have them boxed in and are making arrests since we gave them ample time to leave."

Batts said looting and vandalism occurred, particularly in the 1700 blocks of Broadway and west Franklin Street, and near the intersection of west Grand Avenue and Broadway.

A Foot Locker at 14th Street and Broadway was broken into, vandalized and robbed, witnesses said. Nearby, protesters broke windows of a Subway sandwich shop and a Far East National Bank.

They also pushed large trash bins into the street and set them on fire, Batts said.

Still others threw M-1000 fireworks at law enforcement officers and other demonstrators, Alameda County sheriff's Sgt. J.D. Nelson said.

Batts said he was proud of the way police responded, but he admitted to being disappointed by the minority of protesters who damaged property and attacked police and other protesters.

"To come to this city and destroy this city and to do the damage is something I frown upon," he said. "We deserve better. This city is not the wild, wild West. We will not tolerate it."

A Los Angeles jury Thursday convicted Mehserle, a former BART police officer, of involuntary manslaughter for fatally shooting unarmed passenger Oscar Grant III on New Year's Day 2009.

The jury also found true the allegation that Mehserle deliberately used his gun.

Mehserle now faces between five and 14 years in prison when he is sentenced.

After the shooting, a riot broke out in downtown Oakland. Batts said about 75 percent of the people arrested during the riot were from outside of Oakland.

He said he expected many of the people arrested Thursday night would turn out to be residents of other cities.

Mayor Ron Dellums emphasized that the response to the verdict was generally constructive despite the violence that erupted late in the protests Thursday.

He especially thanked the area's young people for expressing themselves in a "courageous" way.

"This was a positive event given the pain and agony in the Bay Area in response to this," he said.

Tony Coleman, a community organizer with Oakland Assembly and the New Years Movement for Justice for Oscar Grant, said the violence was preceded by a peaceful, productive rally.

"The speak-out was a total success, everybody got a chance to speak. We did our thing," Coleman said. The speeches were heartfelt and emotional, he said.

"It was going so good, we left at a high point, and that way folks will be more interested in maybe coming to the community meeting," Coleman said.

He said the group will hold a meeting next Thursday at the Continental Club at 1658 12th St. to discuss the next steps in light of the verdict.

Members of the Oakland General Assembly for Justice for Oscar; Community Working for Peace, Healing and Justice; and By Any Means Necessary also joined peaceful rallies downtown at about 6 p.m.

The rallies included religious leaders, family and friends of Oscar Grant, elected officials and live music. Community centers around Oakland and San Francisco accommodated youth and other residents who wanted to discuss the verdict.

"I want to thank the residents of Oakland who went out there to express themselves passionately, vocally, even angrily, but in a way that was respectful of Oscar Grant, his family and the community," Dellums said.

Mehserle now faces between five and 15 years in prison when he is sentenced.

Pleasanton Weekly staff. Bay City News contributed to this report.

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Like this comment
Posted by Lydia
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Jul 8, 2010 at 11:20 pm

Watching the media just wait for trouble and focusing on this since 4 PM all was calm but they kept it on all local news stations like they were expecting and wanting something to happen so finally they got their wish. Drawing attention to this basically incited the looters and out of town anarchists to get attention. The media has detiorated so badly that instead of reporting actual news, they try to create the news. They really added fuel to the fire. Spending way too much time on Oscar Grant's uncle. Of course, if this were my family I would be just as mad but no one would be interviewing me for 45's a jury trial and is supposed to be a trial with disinterested parties. Of course, anyone would be upset but why create more trauma by spending so much time interviewing upset people? They were dying for a story and their bosses told them to get one so they all tried to create more drama than necessary.

Let's say people were home and put on the TV...hey this is where the action is...anarchists can get their publicity and create havoc in an excited crowd, looters can steal and destroy Athletic Shoe Store. It brings out the criminals and our attention starved society with reality TV, it is a sad situation when the media needs to make up news and hope it happens.

They reported one street to be a mess and panned on 5 pieces of litter..It's a jury trial and they were all salivating to get the story yet most were to chicken to be closer than 5 blocks from the action. They interrupted people who were actually there trying to jazz up the story. Makes me sick. The media in this country is so desperate for news they would add fuel to the fire.

Like this comment
Posted by Born in Oakland
a resident of Val Vista
on Jul 9, 2010 at 8:35 am


With or without the media the riots would have happened, ask any Oakland Police Officer. With a mayor like Oakland has who is suppose to be bias and promote calm, his statements were just the opposite. He wasn't even allowed to attend the funerals of the slain officers last year per their families request. I myself was watching t.v. all night long to see if my son and my friends son and extended family of OPD were okay. Before you blame the media on this one you should know the politics of Oakland first. The media were not allowed to be too close per Oakland P.D. Not that they were "chicken" per you. The police have their hands tied behind their backs because of the city council. Per Jane B., city councilman, there should be no more riots and will continue as planned to cut 80 police officers on Monday. So the fuel is being brought to you by the Mayor and invites protestors and stated he will do everything for the victim family while his city and police officers are in harms way.

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Posted by susan
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jul 9, 2010 at 9:59 am


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Posted by JOHN
a resident of Downtown
on Jul 9, 2010 at 10:32 am

2010 and nothing really changes! Even if the verdict came back differently the events of last night still would have taken place! What would be wonderful in my opinion for the future is when arrests are made and we have these ignorant young criminals in our jails...have the sheriff or the local authorities load them on a bus or buses and take them to the nearest airport and send them off to Afghanistan! Once in Afghanistan they either fight for or against America! Radical idea sure...but its a hell of alot better then Mayor Ron Dellums shooting his mouth off about how unhappy he and the community felt about the verdict! He has his opinions...I have my who is being more responsible? At least my way helps deal with the destruction of property in oakland...what does dellums do for his community?

Like this comment
Posted by Julia
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 9, 2010 at 10:35 am

The trial should have been in Simi, California. No justice for Grant was the cry. fast we forget about the OJ...Killing 2 and going to play golf the next day...Justice, believe me, they are right. Mehserle, should have been found NOT GUILTY AS CHARGED. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. And as far as the looting. Well lets just say, a new pair of tennis shoes will always help those low life's feel better. Thanks For Listening, Julia from Alamo - PS... your turn Cholo...this should be good.

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jul 9, 2010 at 12:46 pm

I support the verdict of the court because I support the US justice system.

It's time for everybody to

tee hee hee, eeh eeh eet...

Like this comment
Posted by HardlySurprised
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jul 9, 2010 at 1:01 pm

This is how the people of Oakland like it. If they felt otherwise, they would elect different people for local, state, and national offices. The merchants just put up with the vandalism as a necessary cost of doing business. Prices of goods are simply increased to cover this expense. People of Oakland like it this way.

Like this comment
Posted by Former Resident
a resident of another community
on Jul 9, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Oakland has been this bad for decades. You can not blame the Mayor, or the Council members, the President or even Sharpton and Jackson. You must blame the irresponsible people who have kids and don't raise them with morals and principles and RESPECT for authority. Those people are the ones who rob, rape, steal, destroy their own community and kill our police officers and our neighbors. Oscar Grant was a criminal not a victim. As sad as his death may be for his own family, he was a criminal by choice. The police didn't cause him to be that way. They try to stop people from breaking the law. If he were an upstanding citizen, he would be alive today and the officer would still have a career and both of them would be raising their children today. No matter how you look at it, Oscar is NOT a victim. Everyone else is because of his criminal choices.

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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jul 9, 2010 at 3:51 pm

I saw lots of white kids doing bad stuff...the agitators all appeared to be white...Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...

Like this comment
Posted by Former Resident
a resident of another community
on Jul 9, 2010 at 4:06 pm


I don't recall anyone mentioning color. So why are you? Oakland is a city...not a color. Why are you assuming everyone is referring to anything other than white?

It sounds like you were there during the protests. So, would one consider you part of the problem or the solution? I'm thinking by your comment... part of the problem.

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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jul 9, 2010 at 5:26 pm

I meant to say: I seen lots of white kids doing bad stuff...the agitators ALL appeared to be white...eeh eeh eet, eeh eeh eet...

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Posted by Rick
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 10, 2010 at 5:36 pm

He didn't realize it was his gun, how dumb is he and how dumb is the jury to believe him. He killed and he knew it was a gun and he pulled the trigger. So what does that make him? A killer.

Like this comment
Posted by Larry
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 10, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Isn't it amazing how little attention has been given by the media to the fact that Oscar Grant was a habitual criminal and the reason the police were called in the first place were the fights and hulliganism that he and his cronies were perpetrating on other BART passengers? Isn't it amazing how little attention the media paid to the fact that Oscar Grant and his cronies were resisting arrest and a gang of three of them were attacking a female BART cop? The media just sopped up Grant's family's pronouncements that he was close to being a saint. Just like the media painted Rodney King as a virtual saint when the reality was that he was a habitual criminal both before and after his resisting arrest with mulitiple cops required to get him under control. The next passenger these west-of-the-hills thugs decide to victimize might be you, and the BART police likely will be a bit less willing to save your butt.

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Posted by are you kidding?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 11, 2010 at 2:55 pm

@ Larry and all the other ignorant posters: a "habitual criminal"?? Really? Then YOU are a habitual liar. Oscar Grant got in trouble 2 times. Once at age 16. A saint? No. But a habitual criminal? Absolutely not! I know the mother of his daughter. That boy made a change in his life as soon as he had her. Was he still paying for his last mistake (aa petty crime)? Yes. He wanted to go out with his friends, and was murdered on the way home. You, and many of you posters, obviously did NOT read what happened. There was another group of peole on bart causing trouble that night. No one knew which group it really was, then you get an insane officer like Pirone involved, and all hell breaks loose.

You know - it would be a sad day if any of you people do something wrong, and when you pass on, THAT will be what you're remembered for. Larry: you will be remembered as the habitual liar you are for posting lies on this message board.

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Posted by Rick
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 11, 2010 at 6:42 pm

Larry you are one very sad human being, if that. The guy did not deserve to die.
Mehserle just isn't qualified to have a gun or probably any responsibility other than picking up litter.

Like this comment
Posted by SteveP
a resident of Parkside
on Jul 12, 2010 at 9:14 am

SteveP is a registered user.

One thing is for sure---Oscar won't be committing any more crimes.

Also, the BART officer had no reason to 'murder' the 'victim'. Why would any of you bleeding hearts think that the kid was murdered? Why would the office choose to do that, in front of dozens of witnesses? Your ignorance is apparent in your comments claiming this was a murder.

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Posted by Former Resident
a resident of another community
on Jul 17, 2010 at 10:42 am

@ Are you kidding me,

As I said earlier, I know his death was sad for his family. But wearing the blinders that only allow you to see what he was "caught" doing, but to never acknowledge there were things he wasn't caught doing is why there are gangs and dangerous people. You can not equate the lack of habitual criminal behavior by how many times he was caught. How many times was he NOT caught, seriously! I read many different articles about what happened and I NEVER believe all of what the media writes because I know they are in it to sell papers not tell the truth. But I do find that the arrest records don't lie...the company one keeps speaks volumes about ones character. I raised my boys to know "guilt by association" You don't want to be a thug, stay away from thugs!

A child always changes someone, but a leopard is still a leopard no matter how much you try to cover up the spots. Nothing will change the fact of what he and his friends were doing before he was shot. Nothing. A good father, decent person would have been home with his daughter at 2 AM or with his girlfriend on New Years Eve, not carousing with a bunch of guys on BART, terrifying passangers and resisting arrest.

Again, I am sorry for your loss, but there wouldn't have been a loss if he was being an upstanding citizen.

Like this comment
Posted by Letsy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 17, 2010 at 1:59 pm

are you kidding? wrote:"Oscar Grant got in trouble 2 times. Once at age 16. A saint? No. But a habitual criminal? Absolutely not!...his last mistake (aa petty crime)"


CBS 5:
"Grant also had a criminal record; according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Grant served several months in state prison in 2007 and 2008. The Department of Corrections didn't disclose the offenses for which Grant was sentenced.

Records at the main Alameda County Courthouse in Oakland indicate that Grant had 12 separate cases between April 12, 2004, and May 8, 2008. But the records for all of those cases are at the Hayward Hall of Justice and weren't immediately available."

Associated Press:

<Judge> Perry read from a police report accusing Grant of running from San Leandro officers during a traffic stop in October 2006. He was shot with a Taser stun gun and resisted arrest as officers tried to handcuff him, the report states.

Authorities suspect Grant was carrying a gun that he tried to get rid of during the foot pursuit. A .380 pistol was found about 20 feet from the site of the arrest.

Perry said the incident would help shed light on Grant for jurors.

"I must allow some evidence of this prior incident," Perry said. "The fact he resisted before, and the way he did it before," is important.

Perry, however, refused to allow testimony that Grant, 22, may have had a gun or that he was on probation.

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