November 6, 2010 by staff
Mehserle Sentencing, Store owners boarded up windows and residents gathered in front of City Hall as news of a sentence in the trial of Johannes Mehserle began to spread through Oakland on Friday afternoon. The two-year sentence handed “by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Perry is the lightest possible penalty of imprisonment for conviction of manslaughter Mehserle. Many Oakland residents were waiting for a maximum period of 14 years, while others wonder how they will react in Oakland as the day unfolds.
“That’s not right, he killed someone, there should be longer than that,” said Abdul Kasiv, 29-year-old student standing Laney College in Frank Ogawa Plaza. “Probably going to be another riot.”
Mehserle Oscar shot and killed Grant III in a BART platform in the early hours of New Year’s Day 2009. Mehserle erroneously stated that fired his gun in the subsidy back in place of his Taser. The incident was videotaped and sparked protests in Oakland in the weeks after the death of Grant. Grant Mehserle is white and was African American.
A peaceful demonstration by supporters of Grant filled the amphitheater across from City Hall Friday afternoon to listen to speakers and music. Signs saying “murderers prison officers” lined the square.
Oakland officials said they are ready as a reaction to the verdict today continues to develop.
In a press conference in the afternoon, the Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts called the scene around City Hall “quiet, and we continue.”
Batts said that police officers will remain on alert throughout the night. “You never know the volatility of what can potentially happen,” said Batts. “We are waiting to see what happens after dark.”
Although Batts refused to say how many police officers are on duty today, he said they had been sent to “many places that are not visible, and do not want them to be visible.” Officials are under orders, he said, to “surgically remove anyone who is dysfunctional in a crowd.”
In a statement to grant supporters outside Oakland, Batts called for respect and calm. “For those who are outside the city of Oakland, once again, this is where we live and work to school,” he said. “We are left with what is left at the end of this.”
After the verdict of manslaughter in July, the peaceful protests of the city-culminating in the center of Oakland turned violent with at least 12 businesses destroyed and 78 people arrested, including many non-Oakland residents. The office of city attorney has filed a lawsuit against four suspected looters.
The press conference started today with Mayor Ron Dellums urged the citizens to express their right to freedom of peaceful assembly. “It is my hope that this self is not destructive to ourselves and not destructive to our community,” he said.
Oakland residents and officials are preparing for the possibility of another night of protests concerning the death of Grant. In January 2009, protesters set fire to cars and trash cans and smashed windows in downtown Oakland. More than 100 people were arrested.
Elisha Jaimes, owner of La Bonita Taqueria near Broadway and 22nd Street, closed its restaurant and boarded up windows in case the noisy crowds as they did in July when protesters broke a window of your business.
“That’s why I addressed,” said James, while the interior of the guard at the restaurant.
Robert Reed, owner of Grand Lake Scooters on the corner of 20th Street and Broadway, decided not to close the shop in preparation for sentencing.
“Today feels like a holiday because there is nobody here,” said Reed. “All businesses are closed around me, but I do not. I do not dare to close the doors just for a potential riot. It’s just a lot of people taking advantage of a situation to get free stuff. The only thing I do otherwise is to not turn the lights on my bike on the windows. That’s like offering a piece of meat to a hungry dog. ”
BART spokesman Linton Johnson told reporters today that there will be no increase in train service, and recognized the feelings of the community of Oakland.
“Our answer is the same it has been for the past two years, which assumed responsibility from the start to this,” said Linton. “We mourn the loss of life, we told the family and told the public and we regret this terrible tragedy.”
Despite rumors that Bart was experiencing the closure of some stations in the same, a BART spokesman said that no stations are closed and not expected to be closed.
Street parking is limited today throughout the Oakland City Council. Oakland police spokeswoman Cynthia Perkins says there is no street parking from 17 to 12 between Franklin Street and mud.
Some businesses and office buildings in the city center closed and workers sent home early. The Federal Building in downtown Oakland have sent all employees home soon after sentencing Mehserle. Officials of the Oakland Board of equality provided an early closing at noon while the American Cancer Society Webster Street was scheduled to close at 2 pm.
Meanwhile, Oakland residents again expressed his frustration with the sentence. “They sht on us to give the manslaughter conviction, disrespect us even more by giving us this,” said Toussaint Dubois, 26. “This is not the sentence, we should be together now.”
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