Friday, 9 January 2009

shooting of unarmed black man in oakland sparks riots

Following the new year's eve fatal shooting of an unarmed black man near Oakland.
Read below for all details taken from

Protests over the fatal shooting of an unarmed man by a Bay Area
Rapid Transit police officer turned violent Wednesday night with
windows broken, fires set and train stations closed.

A few hundred protesters took the streets of downtown Oakland to
condemn the shooting and call for criminal charges against 27-year-old
officer Johannes Mehserle.

Mehserle resigned from the transit agency shortly before he was
supposed to be interviewed by investigators Wednesday. Mehserle is
accused of shooting 22-year-old Oscar Grant of Hayward, who was lying
face-down on the station platform when he was shot and killed early New
Year's Day. Mehserle was one of several officers responding to reports
about groups of men fighting on a train, reports The Associated Press.

Protesters gathered in the afternoon at the Fruitvale BART station
where the shooting occurred. It was peaceful at first but began to turn
nasty after a splinter group left that site and marched downtown.
Protesters set fire to a trash container and tried to overturn a police
car, smashing the front window. Police attempted to disperse the crowd
and smaller groups of protesters marched to different areas. Some
protesters threw bottles, a window of a fast-food restaurant and other
downtown stores were smashed and a car was set on fire during the

Police in riot gear threw tear gas to try to break up the demonstration. Oakland police reported at least 15 arrests.

Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums went to the protest scene Wednesday night
to urge for calm. He and several council members then led a group
toward City Hall and further addressed them, according to the AP.

"Even with our anger and our pain, let's still address each other
with a degree of civility and calmness and not make this tragedy an
excuse to engage in violence," Dellums said. "I don't want anybody
hurt, I don't want anybody killed."

Grant's family has filed a $25 million wrongful death claim against BART and want prosecutors to file criminal charges against Mehserle.

Watch video of the BART shooting and the Protesters riot.

No comments: