Jury Convicts Mehserle of Involuntary Manslaughter

Oakland Businesses Close Shop As Rallies Take Hold of the Streets

Photo: Johannes Mehserle
Johannes Mehserle

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Correction Appended

OAKLAND - Following the verdict convicting former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle of involuntary manslaughter, demonstrators have gathered in the streets of Oakland Thursday evening.

Rallies in the city have commenced, reflecting disapproval of the resulting verdict, which warrants up to four years of jail time for Mehserle and possibly additional time due to gun enhancement.

One speaker addressed a crowd at 14th Street and Broadway calling for a revolution in Oakland.

"Unite! We all are Oscar Grant," the speaker said. "The whole system is corrupt. Fuck the police."

Mehserle, 28, was taken into custody immediately following the verdict despite his attorney Michael Rains' pleas for Mehserle to remain on bail before being sentenced, according to KTVU.

Jurors were given four options during deliberations. They could have convicted Mehserle, who shot and killed Oscar Grant III on Jan. 1, 2009 at the Fruitvale BART station, of second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter, or they could have acquitted him.

Family members of Grant and others across the state have expressed disappointment with the verdict.

"We do not blame the jury, but we blame the system," Grant's uncle Cephus Johnson said. "This battle is not over."

Meanwhile in Oakland, businesses are boarding up their windows, leaving the city.

"All of the businesses around here are closing," said Carina Wong, owner of Lucky Goldfish located at 2301 Broadway. "I don't want to be the last one around. I think people are pretty scared of violence."

Anarchist groups organizing online have called for protests on the evening of the verdict in Oakland, according to a June 18 report by the California Beat.

In preparation for potential riots following the verdict - which was issued at 4 p.m. - employees were evacuated from offices in the City of Oakland earlier Thursday.

The UC Office of the President employees left work for the day at 3 p.m. Thursday, according to UC spokesperson Steve Montiel. The office is located in Downtown Oakland.

Alameda County employees were advised in a letter to use alternative means of transportation Thursday to avoid possible civil unrest.

The case was moved to the Los Angeles Superior Court in Downtown Los Angeles Nov. 19 in response to the large amount of publicity and protests surrounding the case.

Emma Anderson, Allie Bidwell and Javier Panzar of The Daily Californian contributed to this report.


Correction: Friday, July 9, 2010
An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Mehserle was convicted without gun enhancement. In fact, the verdict was issued with gun enhancement.

The Daily Californian regrets the error.

Stephanie Baer is an assistant news editor. Contact her at [email protected]

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