One arrested at Mehserle demonstration in Oakland

Around 100 people demonstrated on the streets of Oakland on Sunday in objection to the release of former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle, who was convincted of killing unarmed BART passenger Oscar Grant on New Years Day in 2009. One person was arrested for vandalism at Sunday's protest. (Photo by Carolina Madrid)
June 12, 2011 6:54:02 PM PDT
Nearly 100 protesters left the Fruitvale BART station Sunday afternoon after holding a rally filled with speeches and chants. Those demonstrators were moving through city streets on their way to 14th and Broadway shortly after 3:30 p.m.

Mayor Jean Quan and members of the Oakland Police Department were on the job Sunday evening, but local businesses were not taking any chances.

Contractors were playing "Beat the Clock" at the Foot Locker store on Broadway in Oakland hours before demonstrations were scheduled to reach Downtown Oakland.

"I was just called last minute to board this up," contractor Erick Ramirez said. "It was yesterday, I believe. They just called me to see if I could board it up. Sometimes they let me know what it's for and sometimes I just go out here."

The last time Ramirez had to board up the Foot Locker was back in July after rioters -- many of whom were thought to be from Oakland -- trashed businesses on Broadway and other downtown streets.

Right next door to the Foot Locker, the pizza shop was also hit. Manager Elton Santini was waiting for his turn to be boarded up Sunday afternoon.

"We understand it is a riot and it is for a right," said Santini, "but we don't understand the fact that we have to pay for something that we have no part of it."

Closing the store means no pizza will be sold. Employees, however, will still have to be paid. Between that and the cost of boarding up the windows, Santini figures he'll be out $3,000.

Santini still supports a peaceful demonstration.

"I just wish them the best," Santini said. "I just hope they come to their mind and senses and know that unfortunately we don't have nothing to do with anything."

Former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle is expected to be released from the Los Angeles County Jail sometime on Monday. Mehserle received a two-year sentence for involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of unarmed passenger Oscar Grant on a BART platform in 2009.

The early release is credit for time served prior to his trial.

Relatives and supporters of Oscar Grant, who were upset that it was not a murder conviction, are planning to show their anger at the early release.

Long-time Oakland resident Winfred Hendrix doesn't want demonstrations to be at the expense of the city.

"Oakland is a really nice place, and it really shouldn't be taken out on Oakland," said Hendrix. "The mayhem and destruction and stuff like that shouldn't be taken out on Oakland."

The Oakland Police Department had 100 additional officers on staff to keep watch over the demonstrations Sunday evening. Mayor Jean Quan's office said the mayor would be keeping a low profile Sunday but would be keeping an eye on things.

One person was arrested shortly after 6 p.m. for vandalism according to police.


Load Comments