Live Blog: Oakland Reacts to Mehserle Verdict

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Oscar Grant III Riot
Riots erupted in downtown Oakland.

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View the live blog at our news blog, Notes From The Field.

OAKLAND - News editor Javier Panzar and reporters Allie Bidwell and Nick Myers reporting from the field.

After it was announced that Johannes Mehserle was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, businesses around Oakland began closing their doors, boarding up windows and hanging signs that said things like "We support Oscar Grant."

Larry Trujillo, owner of Uptown bar, said he began preparing for this day much in advance, cutting plywood ahead of time to board his windows and rehearsing putting it up with his staff "just in case OPD doesn't have it under control."

In January 2009, when the city erupted in violence in reaction to Grant's death, Trujillo said the bar had thousands of dollars in damages after windows were smashed. The city reimbursed him for the costs.

4:37 p.m.

Oakland resident Bernard Brooks, 44, was waiting for the 18 bus. He works as a security guard in Emeryville and said he was called in to work after the verdict was read "in case cars get broken into."

"I hope everyone is going to say what they're going to say and then disperse," he said of whatever demonstrations may occur.

5:22 p.m.

About 100 people are moving into the intersection of 14th and Broadway in Downtown Oakland, blocking traffic. Cars are trying to avoid the crowd. A table has been moved into the middle of the intersection with a sound system on top and there is talk of having a "speak out" about the verdict.

Oakland police officers in an ATV tried to disperse the crowd blocking traffic, but demonstrators rushed the vehicle, the ATV backed up onto the sidewalk and drove away.

5:34 p.m.

People rushing, kicking and chasing police cars. A police car appears to have hit a woman who is now laying on the ground.

5:37 p.m.

About 25 police in riot gear are standing across Broadway and 11th. About 200 people are around the intersection. Witnesses say they saw an Oakland Police Department car back up and run over a woman's leg, bringing her to the ground. Demonstrators proceeded to kick cop cars and throw traffic cones.

6:00 p.m.

At 12th and Broadway, about 200 to 250 demonstrators are gathered, many yelling at and pushing police in riot gear, police are pushing back, and protesters are asking for justice for Oscar Grant III and the woman whose leg was run over by a cop car earlier.

Meanwhile at 14th and Broadway, a "speak out" is taking place at an impromptu stage, the scene is much more calm and no police are present. Some people are walking back and forth between 14th and 11th on Broadway.

6:35 p.m.

The crowd has mainly moved to the rally at 14th and Broadway.

"I don't like the way they tried the crime but it doesn't mean the verdict has to bring violence to Oakland," said Oscar Grant III's grandfather, Oscar Julius Grant II, in an interview after speaking to the crowd of some 300 people. "I love this city. Don't tear it down."

People have hung banners from above traffic lights, reading "Oakland Says Guilty." A band is playing at 13th and Broadway where a line of cops is also present. A line of police in riot gear is also present at 12th and Broadway. People seem to be drifting between 12th and 14th, much like at a street festival.

7:00 p.m.

The band is now playing at 12th. EMTs are standing by with police.

7:18 p.m.

Paramedics are wheeling an elderly man in a wheel chair away from the protest, heading south down Broadway through the police line. Protesters put flowers down in front of the police line on 13th and Broadway and things appear to have quieted down.

7:50 p.m.

The rally at 14th and Broadway has now ended. About 500 people are now milling around between 12th and 14th on Broadway as the police line that has been held at 12th is now advancing north towards 14th.

7:56 p.m.

The crowd is now marching towards the police line, chanting "justice for Oscar Grant."

8:02 p.m.

A funk band is playing and some people are dancing at a sparsely attended city-sponsored event in Frank Ogawa Plaza. About 300 people are gathered opposite police between 12th and 13th on Broadway, shouting "the whole world is watching." More are still milling about at 14th and Broadway.

8:14 p.m.

Alameda County Sheriff's deputies have been spotted among the line of Oakland police between 12th and 13th. Protesters continue to shout at the police.

"You are working for a system that has a lack of regard for the majesty of human life," said Oakland resident Evan Shamar, 26, to police.

8:20 p.m.

Protesters are now rushing towards 14th street after someone broke a window of a Subway store near the 12th Street BART station.

8:26 p.m.

Protesters are heading down from 14th to 15th Street. The windows of a Foot Locker store have been broken and protesters have gone inside and are tossing out shoes and T-shirts to the crowd. Windows of the Far East National Bank have also been smashed by demonstrators.

At 13th, police from OPD have deemed the situation an unlawful assembly and are pushing everyone towards 14th and Broadway, warning that protesters that they could be injured or arrested if they resist.

8:36 p.m.

Police stationed at 15th and Broadway have also called the crowd gathered there an unlawful assembly. Broadway is now littered with boxes of shoes and T-shirts from Foot Locker. Someone tried to set a shirt on fire, but was not successful. Spray-painted on a Rite Aid two stores down from the Foot Locker are messages which read "Off the Pigs" and "Fuck the 5-0 as well as "Involuntary Property Destruction" and "Oscar Grant." People continue to go in and out of the shoe store. Police to not appear to be advancing from either side.

8:48 p.m.

The smashed window to the Far East National Bank is now completely open. California Highway Patrol has also joined OPD.

A trash can has been set on fire. Police have been overheard saying they will arrest everyone at 9 pm.

9:00 p.m.

People are throwing glass bottles into the street and police have already arrested at least 10 people and are moving them into vans.

9:42 p.m.

Police stopped making arrests at about 9:30 pm and started moving people out. Some still linger in front of Frank Ogawa Plaza, but about 150 have moved along Broadway to 18th and 19th Streets. Three dumpsters have been set on fire as well as two plastic trash cans.

A fight just broke out. Fights have been breaking out sporadically throughout the day, generally between protesters arguing about how they should go about protesting.

9:55 p.m.

Power went out on the block between 20th and 16th on Broadway. Then three loud noises. The power came back on shortly, before going out again about five minutes later. People have started breaking the windows of another store. Something is being shot.

10:02 p.m.

There is now tear gas being shot. Police are advancing down Broadway toward 19th as the crowd is running toward Telegraph Avenue. What sounds like either gun shots or fireworks can be heard. People have kicked in the windows of a Sears store at Telegraph Avenue and 20th Street and people are running, ambulances are driving around, cars are pulling out of the area.

10:30 p.m.

Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts held a press conference and said about 50 people - 39 of which were arrested along the 1700 block of Broadway - had been arrested so far, most for refusing to disperse.

"This city is not the wild, wild west," Batts said.

1:03 a.m.

Oakland Police Department reports on their Twitter account that there appears to be no signs of crowds in the Downtown Oakland area.


Contact the newsdesk at [email protected]

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