A jury found former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle guilty Thursday of involuntary manslaughter, concluding that he did not intend to kill train rider Oscar Grant when he shot him in the back on New Year's Day 2009 but acted so recklessly that he showed a disregard for Grant's life.
Their verdict suggests they believed Mehserle when he testified that he had mistaken his pistol for his Taser as he sought to subdue the 22-year-old Grant at Fruitvale Station in Oakland following a fight on a BART train, a shooting that was captured on video by five other riders as well as a platform camera
There is your long story short.
The fallout is ongoing, riots, looting and arrests followed the verdict, some of which was publicly preplanned. (H/T Zombie)
Fallout: (Another SFGate article)
The trouble Thursday boiled down to a racially diverse mob of about 200 people, many bent on destruction no matter what, confronting police after the day's predominantly peaceful demonstrations ended.
Sporadic conflicts were quelled quickly early in the evening, but by late night at least 50 people - and maybe as many as 100 - had been arrested as small groups smashed windows, looted businesses and set trash bins on fire.
The violence was contained for much of the early evening within a one-block area near City Hall by an army of police officers in riot gear, but around 10 p.m. a knot of rioters broke loose and headed north on Broadway toward 22nd Street with police in pursuit.
They smashed windows of shops including the trendy Ozumo restaurant, and one building was spray painted with the words, "Say no to work. Say yes to looting."
A boutique called Spoiled was spared. It had a sign outside and pictures of Oscar Grant with the words, "Do not destroy. Black owned. Black owned."
Business owners were boarding up and trying to protect their assets before the verdict came down, knowing the reactions would be violent.
They were right.
Zombie, linked above, points to groups that specifically preplanned and organized some of that violence.
If Mehserle is found guilty of murder it will be historic. If he is found not guilty, or given a slap on the wrist, our response will be historic. What happens in the streets will be determined by the people in the streets, and we know that we won't be there alone. We say to the thugs at OPD, bring your chumps in body armor. The more Bay Area cops you bring to downtown Oakland to threaten and intimidate those expressing themselves, the more targets you leave exposed. It's open game on all your $hit from now until the job is done. To everyone else, see you in the streets.
Written in solidarity with all disgruntled peoples fighting for freedom against this police state.
Zombie points to other groups arranging and encouraging protests in preparation for the verdict day.
Read the entire PJM piece to understand the extent of organization that went into these riots.
According to Mercury News, by 6 am this morning, 83 people had been arrested on a variety of charges, including; failure to disperse, vandalism, assaulting a police officer and more.
With the news coming out fast and furiously on the verdict and the reactions, perhaps people should remember the family of Oscar Grant and their message, which after all, should be the most poignant since they suffered the loss more profoundly than anyone else.
Here at WuA, they are getting the last word... as it should be.
For Grant's family, the last words he ever spoke, "You shot me," have come to hold a profound significance that reaches beyond his death, said Cephus Johnson, Grant's uncle and a family spokesman.
"We are praying that no one else be hurt or killed because of a movement started by Oscar's death," he said. "Our family doesn't want to hear those words again, not from a protester, not from anybody."
"Do not allow elements outside our community to sway our coalition and carry out their agenda," he said. "Please. Don't get pimped."