Friday, July 09, 2010

83 Arrests in Oakland Demonstration Against Cop Verdict

83 arrests in Oakland follow Mehserle verdict

Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer
Friday, July 9, 2010

(07-09) 09:59 PDT OAKLAND -- Law-enforcement officers arrested 83 people during Thursday night's protests in downtown Oakland over the involuntary manslaughter conviction of former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle for the shooting death of train rider Oscar Grant, police said today.

The rallies began peacefully but soon degenerated into lawlessness, during which protesters looted businesses, sprayed anti-police graffiti on storefronts, set trash bins on fire and clashed with police wearing gas masks and riot helmets and carrying batons, authorities said.

Police from agencies throughout the Bay Area were called in to help Oakland officers. Those arrested were booked on suspicion of a variety of crimes, including failure to disperse, resisting arrest, burglary, vandalism and assaulting a police officer, said Officer Jeff Thomason, an Oakland police spokesman.

Many of those arrested were "anarchist" agitators who were not from Oakland and wore bandannas, hoods or black face paint, police said.

Those who were arrested were taken to Santa Rita Jail in Dublin or to a second Alameda County sheriff's jail in downtown Oakland.

Police were still compiling information on the number of businesses that were vandalized, Thomason said.

The bulk of the damage took place after 8:30 p.m. within a six-block area near City Hall. Protesters sprayed phrases such as "Kill all cops!" "Riot for Oscar" and "Say no to work, yes to looting" on buildings.

Protesters tore the metal gate protecting a Foot Locker shoe store at 1430 Broadway and looted the shelves. The group moved across the street and smashed a window at the Far East National Bank and rampaged inside.

A jewelry store, an ink-cartridge recycling store, a beauty-supply shop, the Sears store and several other banks were among the other businesses where protesters broke windows and stole merchandise.

The Whole Foods Market on Bay Place near Harrison Street, some 15 blocks from City Hall, had a glass door smashed.

Protesters also set fire to two trash bins outside Oaksterdam University, which trains students on how to grow marijuana.

City crews spent the early-morning hours helping to clean up the mess.

Beeline Glass of Hayward sent all four of its trucks for glass-replacement duty, with crews making repairs at five downtown stores.

"I love business, but not this way," said employee Rusty Jamison, 24, of Hayward as he worked to replace glass at the Foot Locker store. "I don't think this should have gone down like this."

E-mail Henry K. Lee at

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