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Scores arrested in Oakland protests over BART officer Mehserle

As many as 150 demonstrators were arrested in Oakland during protests over the two-year prison sentence handed down to a former police officer who fatally shot an unarmed man on an Oakland train station platform.

A four-hour peaceful demonstration at Oakland City Hall moved into the surrounding streets and took on a more aggressive tone Friday evening with marchers smashing windshields, making obscene gestures at surrounding police and noisily shouting slogans.

Police in riot gear allowed several hundred marchers to move through the streets for about an hour before encircling a smaller number of people near 6th Avenue and East 17th Street. Demonstrators left a trail of broken windshields as they moved down 17th Street, angering some residents.

Police moved in after one officer was injured after being struck by a car and another officer's gun was grabbed by a protester.

Officials said that overall, the protests were less destructive than those that occurred in July concerning the case.

The demonstrators were expressing anger at the case of Johannes Mehserle. On Friday, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Robert J. Perry said evidence in the racially charged case showed that the shooting was an accident caused when Mehserle mistakenly reached for a firearm instead of an electric Taser weapon he meant to use.

As Perry spoke, the victim's mother rushed from the courtroom with other relatives and supporters. "Nothing, he got nothing!" she told reporters after she exited.

The sentencing followed a tearful apology from Mehserle, who, handcuffed to a waist chain over his orange prison jumpsuit, insisted that the shooting was unintentional.

"I want to say how deeply sorry I am," said Mehserle, 28. "Nothing I could ever say or do could heal the wound I created."

Grainy video footage of the New Year's Day 2009 shooting was captured by several witnesses and shows Mehserle, who is white, firing one round into the back of Oscar J. Grant III, who was black. Grant, 22, was lying face-down on the Fruitvale Station platform when he was shot.

The shooting triggered rioting days later and again in July, when a Los Angeles jury rejected murder and voluntary manslaughter charges but found that the officer acted with gross negligence.

-- Jack Leonard, Abby Sewell in Los Angeles, Maria La Ganga in Oakland and Lee Romney in San Francisco

Photo: A demonstrator in Oakland lies on the ground in protest after the Johannes Mehserle sentencing. Credit: Noah Berger / Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (35)

All animals. Its sad that society here allows for this here. This is not venting...its criminal activity. This ALWAYS happens when these animals are allowed to supposedly "protest."

Crazy people. This is why we need more police officers.

That is the only best thing black can do for Oakland.

A cop is rarely going to have a murder charge stick when s/he kills someone while wearing the uniform. The last time it happened anywhere in the United States was a quarter century ago. (And how many people do cops kill a year?) Juries, after all, possess an inherent trust for people in uniform.

Whether that's "right" or not is besides the point; this is a basic maxim that the Alameda County District Attorney should have known. The fact that she pushed murder charges while essentially promising the community that the case was airtight is a sure sign of professional incompetence. She deserves the lion's share of responsibility for the civil unrest that followed the jury's verdict.

Just another excuse to act like a bunch of idiots. Violence doesn't solve anything.

To Linda.

No - protesters are not animals. We live in a country that allows us to protest injustice. Thank God. I hope that you never have a child shot in the back, face down in cold blood.

Murder is murder. I guess you condone it. May God have mercy on you.

I seriously doubt he will live long enough to get out of prison.

I didnt read the article. Did the Raiders win the Super Bowl or something?

People from Oakland love to cause trouble.....whether it's on the Bart train or when they disapprove of just about anything. They threw a memorial parade for for a child rapist who was killed in a shootout with police.

if it had been a white guy that had been shot they would not care in Oakland.

Like I said before: If you believe this cop mistakely drew his gun instead of his taser, I have a bridge I want to sell you.

The cop establishment sticks together -- ESPECIALLY when the victim is what another comment here called an "animal", who is "allowed to supposedly protest".

Linda, your assignment is to read the Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights, more especially the First Amendment. Yes, it applies even to the "animals" you scorn. They happen also to be Americans.

The Supreme Court has said that corporations can spend unlimited money to put their people into office, because that's guaranteed by the First Amendment. But you think that people angry at an unjustly small punishment for a homicide are "animals" for protesting.

Why don't you move to Iran or Burma or some other country where "animals" are not allowed to protest; only the elite like you. I'm sure you'd be happier!

The people behind the Riotes and the Cop who shot the kid in the back are equally tarded....

Banish them all!

Disgusting. And for what gain?

So, how many young black men have died in Oakland since this BART killing? Oh, wait. That was all black-on-black violence. That's okay. This isn't okay because only blacks have the right to kill blacks, which they do with reckless abandon. It's time for Oakland to stop looking outside themselves for blame on why their city is such a hell-hole.

If I white male, was shot on the ground unarmed, with video, there is no way people in Oakland would of protested.
They would not need to, because for me there would of been justice, but for Oscar Grand, a father, there is none.
And thats why I was in the crowd last night.

The professional agitators from out of town were confronted early, the rowdy teens who had nothing else to do on a Friday night were contained and then arrested without much incident.

Our police did a fine job in a difficult situation. That's a big improvement.

Well said WhiteOaklander. No justice no peace.

Hey Linda, the words you chose to describe the PEOPLE involved shows that you are little better than they. Try and use grownup words next time. It will help your arguments.

What a bunch of thugs. They kill each right and left and you don't hear a word.
As a matter of fact a five year old was just killed by some gang members in LA and not a word. I guess it's just life africa

When does the looting begin?

The people of LA County need to remember this judge come re-election time.

This is one of the greatest travesties of American justice of the last twenty years.
I don't care if this young man, Oscar Grant, had smashed 1,000 car windows and stolen 1,000 car radios. He did NOT deserve to be essentially executed while lying face down like a dog.
The idea that a professional peace officer, in a situation that he has trained and prepared for since basic training, could mistake a Taser for a loaded 9mm pistol is beyond comprehension.
Even more troubling has been the complete 180 degree spin of the Old Media, in favor of the State. KTVU-TV, the local FOX affiliate in Oakland, CA, even went so far as to interview Maserlhe and present him as some some sort of misunderstood victim.
The incident at the BART station is the latest example of something that has been occurring more frequently: our "public servants" using deadly force at the drop of a hat.
Oh, I guess since there's a Democrat in the White House, we're safe, huh? Where are all the civil liberty folks who have been screaming bloody murder since 9/11?
I see a disturbing willingness in the Old Media to turn on the public and blindly support the State. Please remember Carlos Sousa, Jr. Who was left to battle a hungry lion, in the dark, at a SF city zoo while employees and guards fumbled around, watched and did nothing. Then, too, the Old Media jumped to the defense of the State and repeatedly attempted to smear the victims.
Orwell, et al, have warned us of what lies ahead.

@ LA Commentor
With the LA pop around 3 million and the LA area around 14 million, I saw about 30 people in front of the LA courthouse 30! I don't think a LA Co Judge is worried. I'm from the LA area and live in the bay area, this case is not big enough news for LA.

The hundreds arrested probably have criminal records anyway, so one minor misdemeanor of disturbing the peace won't affect their status in life.

Is everyone else ignoring the "four hour peaceful protest" part? Obviously some broke off and became violent, but of course this piece focuses on those people and not the people who stood around peaceful for four hours.

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