Oscar Grant Verdict:Oakland Riots 2010 – A number of protesters quickly took to the streets following Johannes Mehserle guilty verdict for involuntary manslaughter. Protectors apparently felt that the officer that killed an unarmed man should have received second degree murder. The man that was killed, Oscar Grant, was not carrying a weapon when he was shot.
The peaceful protest quickly turned into a small riot on Thursday night.
A number of stores suffered break-ins and were looted. Cars had their windows smashed, and people threw bricks through apartment windows downtown. A number of stores had anticipated the violence, and had boarded up their shop so that they could avoid the vandalism. Many of the business owners let the area just after the verdict was read.
“Many voices in this community including the family have cried out for justice. To the question of the verdict, it’s very clear and unanimously the family’s response was that justice has not been served,” said Mayor Ron Dellums. He also disagreed with the sentence, but said that violence is never an option when you are fighting for a cause as serious as this one.
It is estimated that somewhere between 500 and 800 people had gathered for the protest that quickly turned into rioting. The Oakland Police Department Chief Anthony Batts had brought in police from neighboring cities to help them deal with the situation.
It will be interesting to see how long the rioting continues, as well as how protesters handle his sentencing. If he receives a light sentence, you can expect a larger number of protesters in the streets of Oakland.