Oakland cleans up following night of protests

July 9, 2010 6:12:47 PM PDT
Oakland residents are cleaning up the businesses that were vandalized after peaceful protests turned violent Thursday night in the hours after former BART officer Johannes Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Oscar Grant.

Police say 60 businesses were damaged in the unrest, and some were looted.

YouTube video shows a small crowd ripping the gate off of JC Jewelry and looting the merchandise.

Friday it was boarded up, the gate leaning against the store.

Robert Dragon's Grand Lake Scooters store next door was untouched. He thinks the looting was a crime of opportunity for people who did not really care about the Mehserle verdict.

"Oscar Grant's parent's asked that people respect other people's property and so if you were totally with what they were preaching, you wouldn't have come down here tearing up anything because what did Sears or Footlocker or a jewelry store have to do with the Oscar Grant killing," Dragon said.

Around the corner on 20th Street and Webster, six banks were hit. Friday, some customers had to go to San Leandro or Walnut Creek for service.

The 24 Hour Fitness on Webster lost most of its windows. Jerry Williams was turned away when he came to work out.

"They're not allowing anyone in, so I pulled my work gloves out of my car and offered to help out, but I think for insurance purposes they're going to take care of it themselves," Williams said.

At Jitters and Shakes on the corner of 22nd and Webster, owner Michael Issa is wondering how he will pay for eight new windows.

"This business supports us, supports four families; we don't try to hurt nobody," Issa said.

The neighborhood is now collectively holding its breath for the sentencing.

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