Suit says police violated rights of Mehserle protesters

A demonstrator lies on ground in protest after the sentencing in Oakland, Calif., Friday, Nov. 5, 2010 of former Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer Johannes Mehserle. Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the fatal shooting of Oscar Grant at a BART station on Jan. 1, 2009. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Perry sentenced Mehserle to two years in prison. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

June 13, 2011 7:16:26 PM PDT
On the same day that former BART officer Johannes Mehserle was released after a year in jail for shooting Oscar Grant, a class action lawsuit was filed alleging the Oakland Police Department and the Alameda County Sheriff's Department violated the rights of 150 people who arrested the night Mehserle was sentenced.

Oakland was peaceful Monday, but there was an undercurrent of worry that could be seen in the plywood that was up in some shop windows. Pho 84 restaurant should have been packed at noon, but it was not.

"The customer, they so scared that they don't want to come eat," Huy Hunyh said.

In reality, most of Oakland seemed just plain worn out with protest and this story.

"I think the community has moved on in the sense that there are other topics to cover right now," Donna Means-Taplin said.

But the National Lawyers Guild chose the day to say police wrongfully arrested and imprisoned 150 protestors without cause, violating the city's own crowd control and management policy.

"We would not be here today if the police facilitated the march rather than stopping the march cold in its tracks and corralling people," spokesperson Bobbie Stein said.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction requiring Oakland police to follow the city's rules and unspecified monetary damages.