The Bay was bracing for violence and mayhem after the announcement of the verdict in Oscar Grant’s murder trial, and depending on who you read, that may or may not have happened on Thursday night, when ex-BART cop Johannes Mehserle was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
On Monday, the SF Chronicle reported Alameda County prosecutors filed charges against nine people who were arrested that night.
The final tally went like this: there were 15 law enforcement agencies present from all over the Bay Area. According to police, 100 downtown businesses were vandalized or looted and there were several trashcan fires. Seventy-eight protesters were arrested and nine were charged by Alameda County prosecutors. Of that nine, seven face felony charges and the other two face misdemeanors. The remaining 66 people arrested received citations and were released.
Also, among those who were arrested, a full 75 percent were from outside Oakland—12 weren’t even California residents. These numbers demand more thoughtful conversations as we try to find some concrete definitions for what constitutes a “riot” and who are “outside agitators.”
For the most part, Thursday night’s demonstrations were peaceful events. There were no deaths or major clashes with police reported and the actions were primarily contained in a five-block stretch of downtown Oakland, despite all the morning-after talk about Oakland burning. As Daisy Hernandez put it, it’s the riot that wasn’t.
Photo by Hatty Lee