News


Oakland officials assessing damage from protests over Mehserle sentencing

152 arrests made with more than one-third living outside Oakland

Oakland officials hit the streets of their city this weekend to assess the damage to the community resulting from protests that started after former BART Officer Johannes Mehserle was sentenced Friday to two years in prison for fatally shooting Oscar Grant III.

Police said 152 arrests were made during the protests, mostly for unlawful assembly. More than a third of those arrested live outside of Oakland.

The majority of those arrested were in their 20s and 30s, Officer Jeff Thomason said. Charges will be filed after a report is completed by investigators who are reviewing photographs and video of the protesters.

The protesters began gathering shortly after a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge sentenced Mehserle to a two-year prison sentence Friday afternoon for fatally shooting a 22-year-old unarmed father. Mehserle could have faced anything from probation to 14 years in state prison.

Following the sentencing, Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums said he understood the community's angry reactions to Mehserle's prison sentence for shooting Grant at the Fruitvale BART station in 2009, but he called for nonviolent protest.

Mehserle said he mistakenly used his gun instead of his Taser.

Community & Economic Development Agency employees were canvassing impacted businesses Saturday. They identified one business that had broken windows, according to city of Oakland officials. A few businesses were vandalized with graffiti.

The demonstrations followed the ruling Friday by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Robert Perry to sentence Mehserle to two years in state prison for involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Grant, who was an unarmed passenger.

The sentencing came after a jury convicted Mehserle last July 8 of involuntary manslaughter, with a gun enhancement in the shooting death of Grant at the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland on Jan. 1, 2009.

Mehserle will get credit for the 292 days he's already spent behind bars since the shooting. He could have faced anything from probation up to 14 years in state prison.

Mehserle, 28, resigned from BART a week after he shot Grant, a 22-year-old Hayward man. The former officer says he mistakenly used his gun instead of his Taser.

According to CNN, Mehserle told the judge before sentencing Friday that he would be willing to go to prison if the sentence made his city and family safer.

"I shot a man," he said. "I killed a man. It should not have happened," the CNN report stated.

Before the sentencing, the judge first ruled on a motion by Mehserle's lawyer, Michael Rains, asking that Mehserle be granted a new trial. That motion was denied.

The trial was moved to Los Angeles due to concerns about the extensive media coverage in the Bay Area.

In Oakland Friday, Talia Jefferson, an attorney with www.iamoscargrant.org, which is a website voicing beliefs about unnecessary police brutality, said: "Two years is not enough. It's a step forward. But it's not enough."

"We will continue to build and to organize until the state understands that we will not lie down silently as they murder the people in cold blood," attorney Ann Weills said on the website.

After Friday's sentencing, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O'Malley said she disagreed with Judge Perry's decision to dismiss the prosecutor's argument and the jury's finding of the intentional use of a firearm enhancement.

"Prosecutors presented Judge Perry with legal briefs and arguments advocating that Judge Perry not dismiss or overturn the jury's finding that the defendant Mehserle intentionally used a firearm in the commission of the killing," O'Malley said.

"Since (Mehserle) was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter as well as the intentional use of a firearm, the (prosecutor) urged that the defendant be sentenced accordingly.

"In stating his decision, Judge Perry acknowledged that his rulings are appealable," O'Malley added. "The Alameda County District Attorney's will now evaluate all legal options."

O'Malley continued:

"It is the sincere hope of the District Attorney's Office that our community can continue to build on our strength and our commitment to equal justice so that this tragedy will never be repeated. The District Attorney's Office, along with law enforcement partners, community leaders and community partners, will foster the dialogue that strives for peace and non-violence."

Saul Sugarman, Bay City News, CNN contributed to this report.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Lisa
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2010 at 8:36 pm

I am glad it is over.
I think it was a fair verdict. I truly do not think Mesherle intended any of this...but nonetheless there was negligence. Grant's mother should be a little more humble. After all, raising a child up to have been in jail twice before the age of 22....where were all his loved ones then? And the suing stuff just sucks. They should average his yearly income and give that to his child until he or she is 18 or completes his or her schooling. That child deserves something...but not all these other people who were not dependent upon him. Benefiting from a tragic death is sickening.


Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Nov 6, 2010 at 3:24 pm

He received a fair sentence.


Like this comment
Posted by Jessica
a resident of Happy Valley
on Nov 7, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Lisa, are you justifying this child's (yes, child.) death because he had been in jail before? Did you know the Meyer was paid $44,000 for his testimony? I'm certain you saw Grant had already been detained- Dude had his hands zip tied AND an officer had his knee in Oscar Grant's throat! Secondly, the taser is kept far from the gun holster to eliminate any weapon confusion (which side is personally chosen by each individual). Thirdly, the taser is way lighter than his gun (by almost half) and it's bright yellow and plastic. Most importantly, cops are trained to not make this kind of ''error''. Yes, I do believe there have been instances in which a gun was pulled instead of a taser. Mehsele knew he pulled the gun though. The other officers, unlike Mehserle, immediately reported that they had mistakenly fired their gun instead of their taser.It wasn't a mistake. Rains, Mehserle's attorney, just painted a picture so that people like you would buy his innocence.


Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Amador Estates
on Nov 7, 2010 at 3:12 pm

So Jessica, wow, you're smart. Three questions:

- Why do you say Oscar Grant was a "child"? He was 23 years old.

- The judge in the case cited some letters supporting Grant that contained false info stated as fact, specifically, the erroneous comment that Grant was cuffed. You say his hands were zip-tied. Are you saying the judge was incorrect?

- You seem to be believe Mehserle intentionally shot Grant. What was his motive, and why did he think he could do it without repercussions?


Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 7, 2010 at 5:20 pm

Without repercussions? Hmm... why would a white police officer think he could abuse a black person without repercussions? Hmm...no examples come to mind...


Like this comment
Posted by SteveP
a resident of Parkside
on Nov 8, 2010 at 8:28 am

SteveP is a registered user.

So, Jessica, you think this BART cop intentionally shot this miscreant, who had been fighting with other passengers on the train before being pulled off? Not likely, but you can beleive whatever conspiracy theory you want. If it wasn't Grant, it would have been some other black troublemaker, right? Oh, well...he's out next year...maybe he'll write a book.


Like this comment
Posted by alex b.
a resident of Foothill Farms
on Nov 8, 2010 at 12:20 pm

the racism on this page is apalling. stevep, you are disgusting.while jessica may have incorrectly stated that mr grant was handcuffed, everything else she wrote is accurate.

these are no 'conspiracy theories', but rather facts.

no one has anything to say about the taser expert being paid 40,000 dollars? or that he had a knee to the throat which obviously prevented him from fighting back? officer mehserle was using a brand new taser which is bright yellow. not the older models which only have a yellow stripe.

the government will protect itself and its own.


"The other officers, unlike Mehserle, immediately reported that they had mistakenly fired their gun instead of their taser.It wasn't a mistake. Rains, Mehserle's attorney, just painted a picture so that people like you would buy his innocence."

what do you have to say about that, steve?



Like this comment
Posted by alex b.
a resident of Foothill Farms
on Nov 8, 2010 at 12:22 pm

post script: because someone isn't a stellar citizen and gets into fights, you think that means it's warranted that he's killed?

disgusting.


Like this comment
Posted by Joe Friday
a resident of another community
on Nov 8, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Everybody I know who was not out partying in the city and beating up people on BART and resisting arrest are all still alive so there you gooooooooo!


Like this comment
Posted by Michael Leonard
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Nov 9, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Michael Leonard is a registered user.

The only racism around the Oscar Grant issue is all of the people who think a white BART officer would intentionally shoot a black person in front of dozens of people. Watch the video, Grant is trying to get up while Merserle is trying to cuff him. After he is shot you can see the shock in Merserle's face. It was obviously an accident by a rookie cop who was being told by the other cop to taze Grant while other people were taunting the police and creating a tense situation. I'd like to know how many people who think they know it all would manage to handle the situation and not fumble and grab the wrong weapon when dealing with people in an area where cops get shot all the time.


Like this comment
Posted by lauren hiller
a resident of Apperson Ridge
on Nov 10, 2010 at 1:00 pm

cops get shot at bart all the time? daaaaaang. i didn't know that!

mehserle had the new model x26C taser. you should look it up. it's BRIGHT yellow.

Web Link

TELL ME HOW YOU CONFUSE THAT WITH A GUN


Like this comment
Posted by lauren
a resident of Apperson Ridge
on Nov 10, 2010 at 1:03 pm

"I'd like to know how many people who think they know it all would manage to handle the situation and not fumble and grab the wrong weapon when dealing with people in an area where cops get shot all the time."

UMM, THE FACT THAT COPS DO THIS EVERY DAY.


michael leonard must have super sonic eyes to see the ''shock'' in mehserle's eyes from those cell phone videos! please post the link of that HD video you must have seen.


Like this comment
Posted by Michael Leonard
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Nov 11, 2010 at 11:33 am

Michael Leonard is a registered user.

Lauren, I'm not sure what your issue is, but your notions go against what the judge and jury determined and you don't seem to know the facts. You seem intent on playing the race card and cops are bad card. I'm talking about the greater Oakland area, where many cops have been shot and killed. Are you kidding me? Read the news. People who might shoot cops can get on BART.

Merserle was a rookie. Do you know that that means? He didn't do this ever day. He was new to the job. You can rationalize all day about the weight and color of the tazer. He wasn't looking at it to see the color and he was under pressure from his superior to taze Grant, and being taunted by the crowd so he wanted to get Grant cuffed and removed before things got worse.

Meserle grabbed for his weapon as Oscar Grant was trying to get up and get away. Grant was not cuffed. Grant had several friends with him who might have followed his lead and resisted.

A few facts that you many not be aware of, Oscar Grant was found to be under the influence of alcohol and drugs. He was fighting on the BART and people called the police. Meserle had reason to be wary of him as it turns out he was a convicted felon who was violating parole and had resisted arrest and fled from the police before.

Maybe to you he would have appeared to be a nice young kid and that's why you should not be a cop.

As far as his family that are all outraged at what happened, his father is in prison for murder.

The lesson to be learned here is that if you put your self in a bad situation bad things happen. Cops make mistakes. If Oscar Grant was simply a BART passenger sitting in his seat he would still be alive.

Creating this false notion that he was shot on purpose is only creating problems for Oakland with the riots and destruction. It's time to stop inciting people.


Like this comment
Posted by Michael Leonard
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Nov 11, 2010 at 11:37 am

Michael Leonard is a registered user.

As far as you other comment, in the video you can see that Meserle recoils and is frozen for some time and his eyes look wide. That body language says shock to me and I think it did to the jury too.


Like this comment
Posted by lauren hiller
a resident of Apperson Ridge
on Nov 12, 2010 at 5:53 pm

"As far as his family that are all outraged at what happened, his father is in prison for murder"


What relevance is this to Oscar Grant III?



i think you have an issue with everyone who doesn't share you view points and opinion.


Like this comment
Posted by Michael Leonard
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Nov 13, 2010 at 10:07 am

Michael Leonard is a registered user.

Lauren I have an issue with people like you who ignore the facts and promote falsehoods like saying that Grant was cuffed when he was not and ignore that he was a convicted criminal engaged in troubling making when this incident occurred.

As far as the family they are making statements that perpetuate unrest in Oakland, and they are trying to benefit financially from this incident but they are in no position to judge anyone.


Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Nov 17, 2010 at 11:12 pm

The case is over, the judge has sentenced the officer and grant is dead...it's time to moveon.com.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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