Quieter Night in Oakland Last Night
I spent a bit of yesterday afternoon shooting around Downtown Oakland and stayed down there until about 6pm or so. Things seemed much more peaceful, but there was still a lot of tension in the air. The above photo was taken from a group of peaceful protesters near the corner of Broadway and 14th Street.
A lot of police where still out and stores were boarding up their storefronts with plywood in anticipation of another night of violence when I left downtown. KTVU reports that later another smaller protest was out with people throwing some trash cans into Broadway and more arrests were made, but that last night was not near as violent as the night before.
From KTVU on last night:
“Police in riot gear shut down Broadway and other surrounding streets for a time after about 50 protesters tried to stop cars, threw trash cans into the street and lit several small fires while protesting the fatal New Year’s Day shooting of 22-year-old Oscar Grant by transit officer Johannes Mehserle at the Fruitvale BART station.
Officers in riot gear moved in to disperse the crowd and detained or arrested several people.
But the protests were calmer than the previous night when some 120 people were arrested following a rampage that damaged about 300 businesses and numerous cars.”
I suspect things may quiet down a bit for a while on the streets of Oakland, but I do worry that once former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle is brought to trial for the killing of Oscar Grant, that far more violent riots will erupt if he is acquitted of murder. I think the verdict of a trial like that will be watched very closely like the Rodney King verdict was, with people ready to take to the streets again if they don’t get the outcome that they want. I also think convicting an on duty cop of murder will be a very difficult thing for prosecutors to do.