Oakland Protests the Johannes Mehserle Verdict
Yesterday afternoon and evening a few hundred protesters protested the verdict handed down to Johannes Mehserle for the charge of involuntary manslaughter over the killing of Oscar Grant. A Los Angeles judge sentenced Mehserle to two years in prison with credit for time served, considered by many the shortest sentence he possibly could have received.
Angered at the verdict, protesters began arriving at the Oakland City Hall steps at about 2pm. The protest around City Hall was peaceful and many members of the community took turns speaking for a number of hours. For the most part the speeches seemed to just be people angry with the outcome. There were a few protesters who called for violence — that someone should put a bullet in Mehserle’s back as soon as he gets out of prison and that people should burn Oakland to the ground.
The police largely kept away from the protest during the speeches but emerged after the City Hall rally ended and people began marching in the streets. The march splintered off into several smaller groups, some who burned cars and vandalized parts of East Oakland. The Bay Citizen reports that Oakland PD arrested over 100.
I mostly stayed around Broadway and 14th Street after the protest with my wife, Keoki Seu and Troy Holden shooting portraits of mostly Marin cops who had been brought in as reinforcements while the Oakland PD and helicopters followed the crowd and violence into East Oakland. I was pretty happy with a lot of the portraits I got last night.