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Police Arrest 78 in Oakland Following Mehserle Verdict

Police Arrest 78 in Oakland Following Mehserle Verdict

Arrests are made on 14th Street at Broadway in downtown Oakland after a looting at the nearby Foot Locker on Thursday.

San Francisco Chronicle via YellowBrix

July 10, 2010

OAKLAND — Three-quarters of the 78 people arrested in Thursday’s riot in Oakland came from outside the city, Police Chief Anthony Batts said Friday.

But it was Oakland’s residents and business owners – like Steven Suzio – who were left to pay the price.

The pawnshop owner paid $2,000 Friday morning to repair two broken windows and a smashed-in door at his Oakland Coin & Jewelry Exchange shop.

“I can understand everybody’s being upset with the verdict,” Suzio, 62, said as a glass installer pounded out repairs at his Broadway Street store. “But there’s no reason to take it out on the local businesses.”

The raucous protests started hours after a jury convicted former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle of involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of passenger Oscar Grant. The jury rejected the more serious options of second-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter.

Demonstrators damaged 100 downtown businesses. They sprayed anti-police graffiti on storefronts, broke windows, stole merchandise, set trash bins on fire and clashed with police officers from 15 Bay Area law-enforcement agencies.

Protesters were arrested on suspicion of such crimes as resisting arrest, burglary, vandalism and assaulting a police officer.

At a news conference Friday, Batts displayed spray cans, Molotov cocktails, gas containers and a bat that the chief said were used by “anarchists.” Police headquarters was hit by a Molotov cocktail early in the protest, Batts said.

“There’s a time that we have to say that people coming from outside that impact our city, our town, the place that we live, that we work, that we play in, needs to stop,” Batts said. A lot of bad press

The chief said it is “unacceptable” for nonresidents to come to the city and damage “businesses that are struggling themselves,” including small mom-and-pop stores without insurance. “That’s not how you express your pain in the city.”

Suzio agreed, saying, “Oakland’s been getting a lot of bad press lately.” Yet, “it’s not really the people of Oakland” who were responsible for the unrest, he said.

“I hope it doesn’t happen again,” Suzio said, adding he wished future demonstrations could be held at the Oakland Coliseum or “a field or someplace like that where it could be controlled.”

The bulk of the damage took place as darkness fell after 8:30 p.m. Thursday 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 businesses where protesters broke windows and stole merchandise.

Rioters also damaged a window at the Subway store at 14th and Broadway. “It’s not right. It’s very wrong to do this,” said manager Vijaya Burathoki.

The Whole Foods Market on Bay Place near Harrison Street, about 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.

Grace Lee, 27, the owner of Grace Beauty Supply near the corner of 17th Street and Broadway, said “tons of people” broke into her store through the window to steal hair extensions and other expensive merchandise. Lee said she later watched the attack on her store’s surveillance camera.

“I’m upset. People walked in here and police could not stop them. I don’t know what to do,” Lee said. Knew what they wanted

Lee said she believed those responsible for the looting weren’t actually protesting the verdict.

“I feel like they were familiar with the store. They knew what they wanted,” Lee said. “I don’t think it was people doing the demonstration. I feel like it was more like they waited for something to happen so they could do their own stuff.”

Beeline Glass of Hayward sent all four of its trucks Friday 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.”

Mayor Ron Dellums said the majority of the 1,000 or so protesters who took to the streets had exercised their First Amendment rights in a peaceful way.

“I am incredibly, extraordinarily, unwaveringly proud of the character displayed by this community,” he said Friday. “Oakland demonstrated that it is a city, it is a community of people who have character, and they showed that character last night.”

Asked why police didn’t move immediately at times to quell looters, Batts said his officers had been overrun by protesters earlier in the evening as they tried to remove two men trying to block an AC Transit bus from passing.

“You just cannot run into a crowd,” the chief said.

At the same time, Batts said he made a “purposeful decision” not to allow the protests to expand throughout the city.

“I wanted to confine it to a small area, to allow people to do exactly that, to have their rights, but at the same time not let this city be overrun or impacted,” Batts said.

Dellums said he did not want a police force that was “oppressive” or “militaristic,” at the risk of squelching people’s right to protest. As for the violence Thursday night, the mayor said, “Some people will exploit that openness.”

Batts noted that some police on duty Thursday night were among the 80 “young officers” scheduled to be laid off Monday because of the city’s budget problems. They “stood tall” and remained professional despite being spat on and pelted by rocks and bottles, knowing that “in two to three days, they’re losing their jobs,” the chief said.

  • Steve_mcqueen_max50


    about 4 years ago



  • Badge__hat_max50


    about 4 years ago


    Track down the savages and hold them all fully accountable. If the police are being overrun as the story says, then call in more officers from other agencies to help, no matter how far away. Form a SOMETHING to restore order. You can't simply allow these wild animals to gain control and take over the city.

  • 20_normal_max50


    about 4 years ago


    Most of these POS could care less about the verdict, they just wanted a reason to go on a rampage and act like idiots. If you are upset about something then why bash the windows of stores and steal stuff. Just the mentallity of people with no moral compass. Thats what generation after generation of living off the goverment or mom and dad will do to people. No respect for things because they have never had to earn a living.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 4 years ago


    I noticed that they said that a vast majority of the rioters came from outside the city. I wonder how many of them were "professional protesters" that are bused in by certain elements (Read Al Sharpton/Jesse Jackson) to ensure that there is sufficent news coverage of the "outrage and injustice". I wonder how long it will take one of these 2 or both of them to get on TV and exploit this situation. Its a shame that the police and law-abiding citizens have to suffer so that these 2 leeches and people like them can continue make a living off of "racial polotics".

  • Dove_over_flag_max50


    about 4 years ago


    Personally think that a "SHAM-WOW," would have done a better job of mopping up.

  • Skins_fan_max50


    about 4 years ago


    Just an excuse to do what thse individuals do ..

  • Photo_user_banned_big


    about 4 years ago


    Batts noted that some police on duty Thursday night were among the 80 “young officers” scheduled to be laid off Monday because of the city’s budget problems. They “stood tall” and remained professional despite being spat on and pelted by rocks and bottles, knowing that “in two to three days, they’re losing their jobs,” the chief said

    I tell you what, that says alot about each-and-everyone of those Officers that was there. My hats Off to all of you! I'd be proud to have your back anyday of the week!!!

  • 74596_129289523905506_927477597_n_max50


    about 4 years ago


    The pawnshop owner paid $2,000 Friday morning to repair two broken windows and a smashed-in door at his Oakland Coin & Jewelry Exchange shop.

    Catch the perps and make them pay for it!

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50


    about 4 years ago


    Rioting won't change the verdict(and history shows it never has !), but it seems people never realize that fact.

  • 1979_max50


    about 4 years ago


    Those that were arrested during the riot and looting approx 80% were NOT locals! That proves that the rioting and looting had nothing to do with any verdict. These are criminals and anarchists period.

  • 100_7432_max50


    about 4 years ago


    I remember vividly images from the LA riots in 92 - in partucularly shop owners shooting at looters........ not quite legal but seemed to work!

  • Pug_max600_max50


    about 4 years ago


    Do looters need a reason to create mayhem ???? The verdict was simply an opportunity to hide in a crowd and steal.

  • Ralphie_max50


    about 4 years ago


    just there excuse to steal. animals...

  • American_first_responder2_max50


    about 4 years ago


    BUMP RETLEO! Retleo posted:

    about 9 hours ago

    People will continue to act like animals as long as their are little, or no repercussions for their actions. Politicians will remain spineless in such instances because their own concern is only the almighty VOTE. The Media will continue to feed the frenzy and fuel the flames of racial disharmony because it fits their perverted agenda for ratings and sales. Community Activists will continue to rant and rail about "Police Brutality" but fail to react to, or condemn rioting and tumultuous behavior by the people that they allegedly represent. The LE Community will remain hog-tied and micro-criticized by the leftist liberal administration and only the Officers involved in attempting to contain or quell these riots will be vilified for their actions. The Lunatics are totally in charge of the Asylum Kids and the rest of us are only allowed to sit back and watch as our beautiful country slides down that slippery slope to lawlessness and anarchy!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 4 years ago

    The simplest way to fix the event of a riot such as this that is a grave threat to the community at large, declare martial law during the extent of the riot until it is subdued. Why declare martial law? Because lethal force is authorized for non-compliance. I dont think many will riot when they see the business end of a M4 carbine pointed at them and know the officer wielding the weapon isn't bluffing.

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