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152 Arrests In Oakland After Mehserle Sentencing Protest

OAKLAND (CBS / AP / BCN) — Police arrested 152 protesters who streamed through the streets Friday, some breaking windows and knocking down fences, after a former transit officer received the minimum two-year prison sentence for the slaying of an unarmed passenger.

A rally billed as a tribute to Oscar Grant turned into a march through the downtown area, where people broke car windows and two windows on a bus. After police in riot gear repeatedly blocked and outflanked them, several hundred protesters splintered into smaller groups and entered residential neighborhoods.

Photo Gallery: The Johannes Mehserle Case

A group of about 100 protesters holding a banner reading “Justice for Oscar Grant” was hemmed in with officers on both sides of the street before police started making arrests around 8 p.m. Friday, saying the assembly was illegal.

The action was taken, Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts said, after one officer had his gun taken from him in a fight and another officer was hit by a car and suffered what police described as a non-life-threatening injury. “It’s one thing breaking windows; it’s another thing taking a gun from an officer,” the chief said.

During the arrests, police helicopters with their spotlights shining on the crowd were hovering above. After the protesters were handcuffed with plastic ties, they were being placed on buses for a trip to the county jail.

Officers checking the backpacks of several of those arrested found hammers, pepper spray, switchblades and anti-freeze, according to police spokesman Jeff Thomason.

Nearby, the Fruitvale BART station had been temporarily closed. The station was reopened by 8:30 p.m.

Police officers contained the havoc to that area, Batts said, and did their best to ensure the mayhem didn’t escalate.

“Is it out of control? No. Did it take a while to flank them? Yes,” he said of the crowd.

The disturbance followed a judge’s sentencing in Los Angeles of former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for shooting Grant.

As the peaceful rally broke up at dusk, protesters began walking onto nearby streets, blocking traffic. A heavy police presence was on hand, including groups of officers walking with the crowd.

About 10 blocks from the downtown area, one group of protesters was met by a line of about 40 police officers in riot gear, who blocked their progress.

Dozens of people in the crowd broke through a fence and walked through a grassy area to avoid the officers.

Officers were on alert throughout the day in case there was a replay of the rioting that followed the killing of Grant on New Year’s Day 2009, Batts said.

A handful of businesses were closed, and windows were boarded up as a precaution.

One bar at 510 17th St. had several windows boarded up and posters saying: “Be Cool. Mehserle lost his cool. Let’s not repeat his mistake.” Another sign read: “Violence is not justice.”

Next door at the Center for Elder Independence, employees were boarding up the windows.

Police on Friday recognized people who caused problems at the protests in July. Officers went up to them, telling them they hope they remain peaceful.

“We have identified them, and we are keeping an eye on them,” Batts said.

He said many uniformed and plainclothes officers were being deployed throughout the city to monitor protests and any possible violence or other illegal activity.

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

Earlier on Friday, Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums said he understood the community’s angry reactions to Mehserle’s prison sentence for fatally shooting Oscar Grant III at the Fruitvale BART station in 2009, but he called for nonviolent protest.

Dellums said he would, “look to the (Grant) family to determine whether the standard of justice has been met” with Friday’s sentence.

“It’s very clear to me,” he said, in observation of the reaction of the family and their representative, “that this judgment was met with disappointment, was met with great pain and extraordinary hurt. One can draw from that … that the test of justice was not met.

“I understand the anger, I understand the pain, I understand the hurt, and the disappointment.”

Dellums said the reaction spoke to the community’s “historical experiences,” “cynicism,” and “everyday reality.”

Still, Dellums said he hoped that people would express their anger and their disappointment “in a manner that is nonviolent, in a manner that is not destructive to our community.”

Batts said police would work to ensure that people have the right to free speech and protest, but he warned that anyone damaging property or otherwise breaking the law would be arrested.

He said officers have been trained to try to identify those responsible using video cameras, and also to remove lawbreakers from within the crowd of people while still allowing peaceful protests to continue.

Mehserle could have faced anything from probation to 14 years in state prison.

When Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Robert Perry sentenced Mehserle, he first ruled on a motion by Mehserle’s lawyer, Michael Rains, asking that his client be granted a new trial. That motion was denied.

(© CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press and Bay City News contributed to this report.)

  • mike

    If the Oakland mayor does not want a riot, the he should not remind everyone what to be angry about.

    • RAP

      Where are all the protests for all the other young men killed in Oakland by other young men? Their lives don’t matter?

  • tom

    Ron Dellums view that the “test of justice” is met or not met by how people “feel,” no matter the side, is the sort of absurdity that explains why he soon will no longer be our mayor. Justice is complicated and based on many, many factors.

    • Joe

      Ron Dellums is a black panther from the 60’s, that is why he makes the stupid comments that he does.

      • fred

        Precisely! Dellums is basically a Black Panther. the Black Panthers are a dictatorial, undemocratic organization that deprives people of their rights. They are the most destructive element in Afro-American society today next to the criminal gangs. Do these people preach family values? No. Do they preach education? No. They tell people it is OK to take their hatred and rage out on society and that is completely criminal. People need to develop relationships, not destroy them. People need to learn about the world around them, not reject it. That is the key to prosperity. Ron Dellums’s own son is serving a life sentence for murder. Dellums is a terrible example. It is as if he represents the Thieves and Vandals Lobby. He is the Prince of Punks. The legacy of the Black Panthers is one of anarchy, chaos, violence and disillusion. The militancy preached by the Black Panthers is alive an d well in the vandalism, muggings, assaults, robberies, burglaries and murders that plague Oakland and the Afro-American community to this day!!

  • TomB

    good post tom and mike… the bay area politics must be the laughing stock compared to the rest of our country. I feel sorry for the Oakland police force since they will be the ones on the front line, not the Mayor.

  • cocosweets

    Mesherle gets 2 years with 1 year of time already serviced. So he will probably be out in 6-8 months. There is not justice for Oscar. I know some thing that Oscar got what he deserved. But what if it was your son or daughter, would you …still feel this way? I don’t think so. So whether you liked him or not, he deserved better than this. If this had been a BLACK Bart cop, and Oscar was white, it would not have matter about his background. The DA would have gone after the maximum charges. People get more time in jail for their dogs killing people than this murder got for his crime. Mesherle killed a person that was face down on the ground, had no weapon, andwith several other officers surrounding him, Oscar was no threat. If you don’t know the difference between a tazer and a gun, then don’t be on the force.

    What happens to the other cops that were involved? When is their punishment coming? Or is being put on leave with pay (sounds like vacation to me) enough to say someones live if worth it.

    No matter what you think, this country is still divided in black and white. And black is always on the bottom looking up.

  • brenda

    The sentencing was exactly what I thought it would and what it should have been. It was NOT murder. Read the friggin definition. Mehserle did not wake up that morning with the intent on killing anyone, that would be murder. Oscar Grant was a thug and a punk. He was fighting on the train, which is why BART police was called. Maybe if he hadn’t been doing that, or if he had listened to the officers he might still be here. You didn’t get to see all of the videos of what happened that night only what the media wanted you to see. I am so sick of all these rallies for Oscar Grant. Justice was done.

    • Daarina

      Alright Brenda! you sound like the white wearing people!

      • fred

        What was Oscar doing fighting on a Public Transit system designed for all people? What was he doing forcing himself on people and denying them their rights? Why were the police called in the first place? Why didn’t he respond to police requests to desist? Why was he threatening and issuing racial epithets at the police? Why was he espousing violence against society? Because Oscar was a thug, he was a felon, he was part of the criminal environment, he was a tough guy and no one was going to tell Oscar what to do. If you did, he would walk all over you. The problem was there was the inexperienced cop who was not accustomed to being threatened. When someone is threatened, it triggers a defense reflex. The cop wanted to draw his taser, but accidentally drew his gun instead. The problem is that Oscar was accustomed to fighting and threatening people. He did not care if it was a destructive tendancy. Unfortunately and most tragically, he lost his life the process. But, it was Oscar’s actions that started the whole thing to begin with.

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  • Hino Man

    This is clearly a case of Involuntary Manslaughter from the beginning. IF not for the fact this case involves B/W, it’d not even make the 6 o’clock news. This case wasted alot of my tax dollars that could be used elsewhere. IF African American community at large does not believe justice has been served, THEN what justice they seek?

    And lastly, whatever happen to those Chinese family whom lost loveones months back and the African American teens involved in those cases? I recalled last 2 died from the incidents and barely make the news?

    JUSTICE IS BLINDED unless you’re powerful and with money.

  • Puckman

    This is quite the joke. The Alameda County D/A’s office should be ashamed that they even charged this case. As the judge said today, this was an accident plain and simple. John Burris is the most racist person involved in this entire trial. He goats the black people into committing crimes in the name of justice. Ron Dellums, what can you say other that he is a true moron, that is why the families of the slain Oakland officers refused him the honor of speaking at their funeral. This is all about MONEY for the Grant family; they see a big payday coming because their convict of a son was killed while he was being a big jack-ass to people on BART.


  • DAN


    • SARAH


  • Unhappy

    To all the racists & idiots! First off let me say this & that is Oscar Grant did not asked to be killed! For those of you posting these nasty comments needs to get a clue! This clown that killed Oscar will have to live in fear! If this was a white kid that got murdered then it would be a different reaction! Let’s look at all the killings that white kids are committing or have committed! What about the recent rash of suicides these kids are committing! Don’t sit on here & try to pass judgement! Leave this idiot behind bars!

  • Edgar Madison

    Where was the OUTRAGE when O.J. Simpson was acquitted ofviolently murdering two WHITE people???

    • Henry

      Thank you to jury in Nevada for housing OJ until his death in prison!!!

  • Unhappy

    Where’s the news coverage when the state of New York allow their officers to kill black men on a norm! Their justice system is just as worse!

  • Ron

    You Morons!! Do you actually think Mesherle shot Grant in the back on purpose in front of hundreds of people, many with cell phone cameras rolling?? It was a horrible accident! Everyone turns everything into a race thing when it was really just an unfortunate accident.

  • Ron's daddy

    Ron, you are the moron my friend. It wasn’t racially motivated, but explain something to me: Why did Mehserle refuse to make a statement if an accident? Why did he resign from his job? That’s right, officers involved in accidents resign all the time. This is an injustice plain and simple.

    • Rod

      Ron’s daddy,

      I appears you are the moron after all. He quit because he did not want to make any statements that would be taken out of context and used to attack him. He was most likely advised by his lawyer to quit because if he was still an officer, he would have been required by law to give a statement and seeing how BART would throw him under a bus in a heart beat, I think it was a very wise move. Even the biggest idiot could see after accidentally shooting someone that he would be in trouble. He did the absolute smart thing regardless if you people think he should have or not.

  • Bryn

    Where is the outrage when dozens on non blacks are killed in Oakland by black thugs?

  • tn

    To say “justice wasn’t served,” is a very unintelligent comment. Grant you, there was a death involved, neither you nor I heard BOTH sides of the story and key facts. All we’re going on is a video clip. Also saying this decision was a bad or wrong decision, is saying the jurors, who heard both sides of the story, aren’t very smart either. So, let’s learn and continue to learn to progress civilly. Also, why aren’t these protesters saying anything about the 2 Oakland murders this past year, where 4 blacks robbed and killed 2 Asians? Did the Asians provoke it, or threatened the blacks? No, I seem to remember these Asian dudes (one old guy) were minding their own business and blacks did what they did because “they felt like it.” Where are those voices now?

    • Daarina

      Ummm sorry tn, your comparing apples to oranges we’re talking about the police here! the authority’s! not the regular street gang people! that will do anything! to any body! any day! get it together tn! gee wizz!

  • Real Girl

    Maybe all you racists that want to come out and vent about blacks being “thugs” should realize that the majority of serial killers and kids shooting up schools are white. What is the problem that you raise such sickoes coming from such disfunctional and unbalanced famiilies, yet want to blame everything on black people? Maybe if you would spend more time being compassionate human beings, stop caring so much about money, stealing what’s not yours, and teaching hatred, then your kids would be better people. I have nothing against good white people, but I hate racists!

    • Don Wright

      So, Real Girl, you’ve acknowledged that you’re a hater. And Real Girl, how many “serial killers” and “kids shooting up schools” have there been since the founding of our country compared to the number of thugs who came out tonight? And who is it who is stealing what isn’t theirs? Every time there’s an excuse to create havoc, you have black people looting. Is stating a fact racist?

      • Daarina

        Hey their just trying to get back that forty acres & a mule they were promised! Lol U JERK!

  • Jacob

    LMAO at all the people calling Mehserle a murderer. You think he just woke up that morning, brushed his teeth, had breakfast, and asked himself, “Hmm…how can I ruin my life and the lives of my family members today? I know! I’ll purposely shoot an unarmed man in front of a bunch of BART passengers and hope I’m found guilty of murder!” Yeah…totally makes sense.

  • Good Riddance

    Grant was a serial felon and had a long history of resisting arrest as well as carrying a gun in at least one instance. Grant and freinds must have done something pretty bad to anger the cops that night. Anger management therapy obviously did not work. When taking responsibility for your own actions is not an option, holler Racisim!

    • dm

      Or maybe there are people taking responsibility for their actions. They are going to jail. You don’t deserve to die for resisting arrest face down on the ground.
      Racism permeates our society from the bottom up. Why do u think we can’t even handle a Black president that’s more intelligent than many Presidents we’ve had before, but still human?

  • uncle tim

    avother day in oakland
    oscar was just a reason to act normal

  • Karl

    Nearly every poster here is a cop. Cops are a blight on humankind.

    • ElJuan

      Come on Karl, grow up will you? Leave the country and go to Venezuela

    • fred

      What was Oscar doing fighting on a Public Transit system designed for all people? What was he doing forcing himself on people and denying them their rights? Why were the police called in the first place? Why didn’t he respond to police requests to desist? Why was he threatening and issuing racial epithets at the police? Why was he espousing violence against society? Because Oscar was a thug, he was a felon, he was part of the criminal environment, he was a tough guy and no one was going to tell Oscar what to do. If you did, he would walk all over you. The cops protect society from people like Oscar. The problem was there was the inexperienced cop who was not accustomed to being threatened. When someone is threatened, it triggers a defense reflex. The cop wanted to draw his taser, but accidentally drew his gun instead. The problem is that Oscar was accustomed to fighting and threatening people. He did not care if it was a destructive tendancy. Unfortunately and most tragically, he lost his life the process. But, it was Oscar’s actions that started the whole thing to begin with.

  • Dean A

    Over a hundred black males are murdered every year by other black males in Oakland, where is the outrage and protests? When is the community going to stand up and take responsibility and stop blaming everone else? When is the community going to take responsibility for the way they are raising their children?

    • dm

      How do you raise your children when you have no house, no job, no food to eat, no financial aid or spaces to go to college, not much productive to do in a poor economy?

      • fred

        You need to raise children when you have the means to do so. You don’t have children then try to raise them when you do not have the means. That is irresponsible and is one of the reasons for problems in the first place because people do not properly care for their children.

      • dm

        Raise your children when you have the means to do so because people don’t lose their jobs. The first one fired the last one hired.

  • unknown

    It’s kids parent responsibility to teach their kids. their responsibility could have easily change his death. his time being shot and killed was late. where was his curfew? bad parenting = deaths. common in the black community since there’s hundreds of you hanging out on corners selling drugs or using them.

    • dm

      Curfew lmao he was an Adult.

    • dm

      Yes because white people don’t make plenty of money off of drugs. They don’t do drugs either like well known actors that keep getting paid and they act a fool.

  • tn

    Since when is it acceptable for blacks to kill other blacks in Oakland? Or when blacks kill Asians- like the 1 old man minding his business while his son parked the car and the young man getting his teeth cleaned preparing for an interview and was robbed? Although some did not agree with the outcome, justice was served. You and I cannot intelligently judge without information from both sides, and not a 2 minute youtube video clip. Pulling the race card again, is a slap in the face to the jurors who served on this case. We must use our brain more and our emotions less. Remember that this is what separates us from animals. If I were Oscar’s parent, I wouldn’t like this outcome either. As a parent, one has to (or should have to) ask themselves, am I an effective and good role model to my child? If Meserle were dishonest and a royal f-up, he’ll do it again, get caught and face a different consequence. Justice again, will be served. Great job OPD for your restraint to allow the 1st amendment and successful control of the crowd, given some destructive idiots. OPD Chief Batts deserves a raise for not only doing his job but for his success. Please get it from Ron Dellums’ salary.

  • Your Mom

    Why would you break windows of small businesses that pay for your welfare money? We are dealing with “humans” that maybe have 3rd grade educations.

    • dm

      “Humans” are you serious? Are the law abiding people that kill Blacks everyday in this country humans? It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that people kill blacks and ask questions later, and get off for it all the time.
      If they have a 3rd grade education you should wonder why. The system is set up that way. If we fail them out of school by the third grade they will end up in jail and we’ll make more prisions and more money.
      Oakland is one of the most diverse cities in the nation. Those aren’t just black people getting arrested. Check out oakland’s history. This is not new. Poor people have always fought for justice here, when will they get it? Really people have been complacent too long and they are waking up. 152 people don’t get arrested by looting a store and running. They get arrested because they are fighting for justice. If there is any left.

      • dm

        If teachers were talking about real life issues that kids are having everyday. If teachers care about their kids, I mean care like I will buy you breakfast because I know you didn’t eat. If teachers are interesting and not talking kids to death. If the drop out rate is 30% anywhere you have to consider that its not the kids. Only 30% go to college so you know its only set up for some and for others to fail. Some of us are blaming all on one source and there are so many obstacles in the way of kids graduating. If you create a street economy and people have no way to make it. You have to survive. If you are barely surviving nothing else matters.

      • fred

        The criminal element is the Afro-American community is overwhelming. That is because it is easier, and simply more fun, to just beat people up and take their money than it is to go to school, get an education, develop relations with people and try to get a good job.

        The reason they have third grade educations is because instead of listening to the teacher, they threaten the teacher. Instead of deloping relations with others, they assault fellow school mates. Instead of taking advantage of the school resources, the vandalize those resources so no one can use them. As a result, when they graduate they don’t know how the world works, they don’t know how to get along with society and no one wants anything to do with them.

        Oakland has always been a tough guy’s town. People come here with the express intent of doing criminal activity because no one cares. Oakland has one of the highest murder rates in the nation simply because it has so many murderers. Those 152 people that were arrested were not fighting for justice. This is just a fraud, just like you. They were part of the criminal environment that was out to cause trouble, just like you and just like Oscar Grant.

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