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BART verdict: Oakland damage extensive from unrest; at least 80 arrested

Oakland officials on Friday morning were trying to sort out the damage after serious looting in the downtown area following the BART verdict in which an ex-officer who killed an unarmed man was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

Crowds of people roamed the streets following Thursday’s verdict into early Friday, smashing storefront windows, stealing merchandise, setting trash fires and tagging walls.

According to Oakland police, more than 80 people were arrested. Among the stores looted included a Foot Locker, Sears, 24 Hour Fitness as well as jewelry stores. 

As of Friday, officials said calm had returned, and BART service -- which was stopped at some stations during the unrest -- had resumed.

Men sprayed graffiti on walls and windows on Broadway; one outside Tully’s Coffee read: “You can’t shoot us all.” Large fires billowed out of dumpsters on 20th Street and Telegraph Avenue.

At 20th Street and Broadway, authorities released smoke to disperse a crowd that was overrunning police and throwing bottles at officers, according to Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts.

Batts said there were probably about 100 troublemakers out of up to 800 people who showed up at 14th Street and Broadway after Thursday’s verdict, in which former transit Officer Johannes Mehserle, a white man, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the fatal shooting of Oscar J. Grant III, an unarmed black man, at the Fruitvale BART station on Jan.1, 2009. Prosecutors had sought a stronger conviction of second-degree murder.

Batts described the troublemakers as “anarchists” who came to Oakland to cause trouble and not peacefully express their views on the verdict.

“This city is not the wild, wild west,” he said. “We will allow people to protest, but we will allow it to be done peacefully.”

Workers in Oakland evacuated the downtown core after news broke that the verdict was to be read, and store owners boarded up windows.

The demonstration throughout the early evening was largely peaceful but tense. People held up photos of Grant as police equipped with helmets and riot gear looked on. A sign draped over a light post read: “Oakland says guilty.”

As darkness fell about 8 p.m. and most of the demonstrators went home, a group of people dressed in black and wearing black masks moved toward police.

“It was clear that they were taking an aggressive posture. ... We started taking a number of rocks and bottles,” Batts said. “We then made a dispersal order.”

By 8:30 p.m., the looting began. People broke windows at a Rite-Aid drugstore. A California Highway Patrol car window was smashed, as was the window of a news television van.

Residents could be heard yelling at the younger protesters in the street to “go home. This is our city. Don’t destroy it.”

The reaction in Los Angeles, where the trial was moved because of intense publicity in the Bay Area, was peaceful. A group of people upset with the verdict gathered in Leimert Park late Thursday, but the event was so peaceful that even the police left before the end. 

Grant’s uncle, Kenneth Johnson, 48, came to see the rally but did not stand up to speak. Johnson, who lives in Los Angeles, said he was unhappy with the verdict and thought justice had not been served.

He was, however, glad to see Angelenos rallying for Grant.

“L.A., Oakland, the same things go on both places,” he said.

-- Maria L. La Ganga in downtown Oakland; Abby Sewell in Leimert Park; and Rong-Gong Lin II and Louis Sahagun in Los Angeles

Photo: A demonstrator taunts officers in downtown Oakland. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (139)

It doesn't surprise me that those kinds of people would use the death of a fellow peer as an excuse to commite a crime for personal gain. Its typical behavior from those kinds of people who dilute the real issue at hand with their primative caveman like behavior. I don’t really know what STEELING has to do with anything.

Seeing these images makes me forget about the inital issue to begin with.

I wish all buiness would pack up and leave the scum area let them find they own good , i am refuse to deal with these kind of poeple , these not human , they are low live animals and will always be a drain of the society .

It doesn't surprise me that those kinds of people would use the death of a fellow peer as an excuse to commite a crime for personal gain. Its typical behavior from those kinds of people who dilute the real issue at hand with their primative caveman like behavior. I don’t really know what STEELING has to do with anything.

It is quite funny all the general statements that everyone always says. Just because some people destroyed some stores doesn't mean everyone is destroying the properties and are gang members. It's like me saying I hate the Lakers and Lakers' fans because they ALL riot after winning a championship. Which we know like ~5% of Lakers' fans are rioters.

Yesterday's behavior was deplorable and unfortunate. While the fairness of the verdict is open to debate, last night's display of response and retaliation was distasteful. For those who were arrested - your acts were not for justice. They were for self-gratification that ultimately served nothing but causing chaos and disorder in Oakland.

Ok here go's: I am in my 50's and have never ever been arrested for anything, not even a misdemeanor. I have 2 teenagers who look up to and respect me and generally emulate my stance and opinions on social issues. It is a chanllege to teach your kids to be respectful of the authorities when you yourself (me) don't trust them. But I still tell my kid's "don't ever do anything stupid in re: the cops, their bigger, meaner and they have tazers (AND GUN's). I tell them respect them not because they have earned respect but for the following 2 reasons: 1-if you disrespect or incite them in any way, they will treat you 'overly harsh' and or trump up violations to add to your arrest or ticket.2- Respect them, not because they are respectable, but because you (the detained person) are respectable; you might as well take the higher road and at the same time minimize the potential for their dishonest and arrogant treatment. I did see and {I watched over and over and over and over and over} the video of the BART incident, and I gotta tell you that especially after seeing the cop's immediate reaction (both the shooter and his colleagues) I'm convinced it was a 'murderous' mistake that deserves the maximum punishment under the law. The sudden freezing moment of the shooter and the confused look and body language shows (in my opinion) that he was shocked at the instant he realized what he had just done, even the accompanying officer seems to slowly and clumsily react not sure of what had just occured. Ok that's my take on the video, however! The guilt lies in the 'mentality, carelessness, disregard for another human's dignity AND LIFE! This is the precursor to purposeful or negligent murder, not the act itself. The thing that needs to be done is not 1 in a 100 prosecutions when they're caught redhanded, but what needs to be done is for someone of intelligence and authority to 'look at, ponder, and to conclude' that there is definitely something wrong w/ today's police officers. They are mean and heartless to all versus in being selective towards the obvious bad-ass characters out there. Remember the good old days when cops were allowed to use {discretion, common sense, and to 'treat others} as they'd want others to treat their mother, brother or son". I wish I had the money and time to finance, produce and to pass out free a bumper sticker that said: "Remember when it was only the thugs that disrespected people's dignity; today it's the 'cops and thugs that do so!'

Wasn't the cops called there in the first place because the "innocent victim" Oscar Grant got in a fight on the train? Its funny some black get mad at the cops when they do something wrong but constantly ignore the facts. If Oscar Grant was in his backyard planting flowers and this had happend I would feel differently about. But he wasn't. If you do something that results in the cops getting called to you area you give up control of the circumstances around you. Period. Thats why I left the hood in the first place.

As wasn't he on parole for gun charges? MOST innocent people aren't on parale for gun charges and resisting arrest. Most menaces to society usually are on parole

a little property damage to protest the murder of an innocent man by a cop is TOTALLY JUSTIFIED! i bet all of these comments are from white people who have never even encountered a cop....

Three factors come into play here:

1) Cops in California (read the USA) are NEVER adjudicated guilty. The evidence was too ovepowering in this case for it to be shoved under the carpet.

2) The positive factor is that it was not a jury of the culprit's peers. If all the jury were cops then he would havebeen awarded a medal and promoted.

3) Rioting and looting merely serves to degrade the unfortunate victim
and his peers.

As for the forthcoming lawsuit, the bad cop will be walking the streets b efore it comes to trial.

One law for us and another law for cops

I was up SF yesterday to visit Indian Consulate and saw a morning TV story on the deliberations and an "Asian" substitute being placed on the jury and the jury wanting explanation on "voluntary manslaughter.” I think the correct verdict should have been voluntary manslaughter. But that is no excuse for looting.
This is bad news for the Democrats. Indian and Chinese shopkeepers are often victims of young Black thugs (racists) who hold-up Asian businesses. Obama's AG Eric Holder appears to have implemented a racist policy in the federal government and Republicans are being favoured by voters who want security. Moreover, Gov Jindal of Louisiana and Nikki Haley in SC (Indian-Americans) are showing visions that appeal to Asians who own businesses. The Democrats are becoming the party of Hispanics and Blacks who are under-achievers and despise achieving immigrants. This is bad for Democrats like Jerry Brown and Boxer. Indians want security. Oakland looks like Uganda under Idi Amin – overrun by young Black racist thugs. That is the root cause of the problem. The American Black community needs to stop all the “jive” and bad behaviour and act like immigrants who most often arrive with far less than native Black and achieve a lot more because they rely upon themselves, not government dole.

I thought that when the jury has spoken that was it. Now the feds want to bring charges. That is not the way are court system was set up

All I can say is its easy to simply knee-jerk and label everyone 'classless thugs' while I sit in the suburbs far removed from the world of racial profiling and police brutality.. But how can you be surprised anger level after watching the video? Unruly 'protests' have been happening since the beginning of American history and will never stop. Why ask so surprised and disgusted everytime? Yes its bad to destroy property, but lets not EXAGGERATE the argument by saying they destroyed "their own business" in "their own city," because those business are owned by wealthy people who live in the suburbs and spends the money they made off the community elsewhere. Budget wise it is a loss (although covered by insurance) but like it or not this is a part of SOCIAL progression. Open a history book. The frustration pain and anger felt by America's youth in this depression, after seeing their schools decimated and closed and doors shut in their face, leaves them beyond reason at this point. Funny how we can shut down OUR kid's schools or slash their budget after GIVING AWAY America's jobs (that the older generation was "too good for") only to scratch our head when these kids are burning our property to the ground.. We can't continue to ignore our youth and think it won't come back on us.. It's not about Oscar Grant.. It's about the condition of California and the Country.. The frustration level has reached breaking point for many. Legalize the green stuff.

Maybe if protest was restricted and limited to a few days after the announcement and during the day time if possible there would be less looting and violence. Not technically sure how legal that is. Maybe if there was a memorial location that people can go to show their grief?

@ NaUnd? You are so very wrong about Oakland and LA being similar. I lived in Oaktown for 3 years and was so very miserable with their lifestyle. I wasn't used to seeing and smelling bums every where I went. I wasn't used to worrying about my cars being stolen again everyday. I wasn't used to everyone being intense and intimidating. I wasn't used to walking up to a Oak police officer and he tells me he has nothing better to do but to hang around. It's just way different. I'm a native of LA and live once again back in LA. Not just in LA but in Inglewood and life's pretty great. Don't ever say the two cities are the same again because they are not. I am upset about the verdict of this trial since I was living in Oak when it happened but it is what it is. Life goes on in LA.

Law enforcement has had a history of abuse of power. I noticed that they have lied on their police reports,and also in court. They are known to be physically abusive. Drug addicts have been sent to prison, and all they needed was mental help.Homeless people have been sent to prison and lied on pertaining to crimes they did not commit. The system has not been kind. So I say this because it's more than just the verdict victory. It is the issues that have been going on for many years. It's a build up of so much wrong doing, and it's difficult to forgive when the system is steal playing dirty pool. Law enforcement does not have a good reputation. Not from the past or from the present. I'm not justifying the looting, but the system has took more in 400 years that a thief can take in one day.

The looting is just an excuse to steal, and destroy property. These people were not taught to protect respect their property or anyone else property. These people want what everyone else has work for, but does not want to work for it themselves. I went through the Watts mess, and tried when my city was burning during the Rodney King mess. These people use any reason to loot, and burn. In the end, they only end up hurting themselves, and others.


I am happy about this. Hopefully, they got a hold of some judges and police officers and knocked some sense into their heads.

I'm still waiting for mainsteam African-America to stand up and strongly disavow the bad behavior that is used to paint them all. Have we ever heard Jesse or Al get really angry at looters or rioters? I want to hear them say "You are not my people. My people behave in a civilized manner."

Animals. They don't need the police, they need zookeepers.

If this truly is racially motivated violence against perceived prejudices, why hasn't our illustrious president come out and spoken against the violence?

Wooooowwww, it doesn't take much for the animals to loot, all they want is free stuff and they found a way of getting it.All they needed was a reason to loot no matter what it is. Oakland is nothing but a low life city with low life people.Gee i wonder why mmmmmmm, just look at the demographics of that city and the shootings. I guess if the jury handed down a guilty of murder in the first degree that wouldn't have been good either cause they still would loot, It doesn't take much for those people to take someone else's things they do it all the time in that city. Its discusting.

Everyone keeps asking and making statements about the looting and how it is their city why destroy it. But has anyone asked why the police can come into " Their City" kill a resident of "their city" who was handcuffed and not resisting for no reason. The office stated he wanted to tase him but used his gun instead. Why was he trying to tase a hancuffed resident with other officers helping anyway. if he tased him and not shoot him it would still have been excessive. I wonder if the police officer was OJ and the resident was a handcuffed white person whould they think the same way? As for OJ whites did not like the verdict but keep trying to find something on him until they actually put him away for taking something back that was stolen from him. Life is not fair and neither is America justice!

Make a political statement, and get some bling at the same time!
Is this a great country or what.

"pasadena jag": As a white man who was fortunate to grow up in Oakland (and now lives in Pasadena), I certainly disagree with your comments. They are ill informed to say the least.

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