Activism around BART shooting continues

February 1, 2009 12:20:35 PM PST
There were more large crowds but no more violence as BART shooting protests remained peaceful on the streets of Oakland Saturday night.

It was a big change from demonstrations Friday that ended with more than a dozen arrests.

Activists are now turning their attention to the other officers who were there the night of the shooting. They want them to be held accountable.

And, they have a lot of energy.

Even though it was Saturday, activism in a couple of different forms continued in Oakland.

Polite applause may not be what you would expect at a protest in Oakland these days, considering the struggles demonstrators had with police just Friday. But, activism on behalf of Oscar Grant has been unpredictable.

"Abolish the BART police!" crowds chanted Saturday as a group of about 60 people blocked the entrance to the BART station at 14th and Broadway, and listened to a man with a bullhorn shout out demands.

"We're not going to just stand back and let our brothers and sisters be taken down. I feel as if Oscar is no different than if he was my brother. And, if someone took my brother's life I'd be in the streets likewise. It's what's appropriate," explained Jo Laurence.

There was also a town hall meeting Saturday called, "I am Oscar Grant." One woman in attendance told ABC7 it was her third meeting of the day.

"We're seeing the community being invigorated. We're seeing people becoming more aware and we're also seeing a lot more civic engagement," said activist Daniel Buford.

The activists think what they are doing is working. They believe the pressure they put on public officials helped bring about the murder charge against Johannes Meserle, the former BART police officer accused of murdering Oscar Grant.

They now want the other officers who were on the platform that night to be charged with a crime.

"We feel that all of them should be held accountable and the people who refuse to hold them accountable should also be held accountable," said Buford.

When Saturday night's crowd started gathering no one knew quite what to expect. Police braced for everything and a convenience store nearby decided to close.

There was some yelling but nothing violent happened. At least one first-time protestor left feeling a little bit more empowered.

"I feel pretty good. Because now, I kind of got a little off my chest. I'm still a little angry but at least now I'm with people that understand what's going on. So, I feel a little better, a little better," said Lamont Mitchell.

Johannes Mehserle remained in jail Saturday night. His bail was set at $3 million in a court hearing Friday, angering some protestors who are very busy planning their next round of rallies and meetings.


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