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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Police State and Prisons | Racial Justice
Oakland Response to Mehserle Verdict - The Aftermath: photos (3 of 3)
Surveying the damage after the streets were more or less cleared of everyone but police and a few dozen gawkers on July 8th, it was clear that most of the businesses that had been attacked were either banks or corporate chains. The stores that had merchandise expropriated included the Foot Locker and the downtown Sears, as well as a locally owned beauty supply store and a jewelry store. Broken windows and graffiti were seen throughout downtown. The dumpsters and garbage cans set on fire earlier had been extinguished or burned themselves out. The Oakland police department reported arresting 78 people that night, although charges were later dropped against most of them. At least thirteen people remain in jail on charges or parole violations.
[Pictured above, Whole Foods grocery on Harrison Street had several windows broken on the Vernon Street side of the store.]
The National Lawyers Guild held a press conference on July 14th on the use of excessive force by police and questioning their motives and actions on the night of July 8th.
Besides property damage and police brutality, some of the aftermath, as it was in the lead-up to the verdict, includes local non-profits' war against anyone who adamantly advocates for justice, including the family of Oscar Grant. Immediately after the verdict was read in Los Angeles Superior Court on July 8th, Oscar Grant's uncle Cephus Johnson spoke to the cameras outside of the court house. Quite understandably, in the heat of the moment he said that he felt like he had been slapped in the face by the jury when Mehserle was merely convicted of Involuntary Manslaughter, the least of the charges from which the jury could choose, meaning they believed his defense that the killing of Oscar Grant was the result of an accidental confusion of taser and pistol. As was reported in the SF Chronicle late in the night on July 8th, Youth Uprising's Olis Simmons took this heartfelt and honest expression of pain as an opportunity to blame Cephus for any outrage and possible property destruction that might happen in Oakland, using the "violent" imagery of kicking in a door to describe his words, as if he was inciting a riot. "Damn. He just opened the door," she said. "Kicked it open. I don't think he meant to, but he did it." Apparently, Olis Simmons counts herself as much more message-disciplined, especially when it comes to Youth Uprising getting paid by the city to amplify City Hall talking points about staying calm in the face of injustice and producing PSA's that equate property destruction with the murder of Oscar Grant. Minister Keith Muhammad declared at a press conference held on July 10th that it was unfair to place the burder of property destruction on Oscar Grant's family. Two days before the verdict, in a separate insult to Cephus Johnson in the Chronicle, columnist Chip Johnson misleadingly attributed to Cephus a quote about outside agitators "pimping" Oakland residents.
The Oakland police department, which has stated it spent over $1 million on July 8th, claims to be investigating the actions of two mayoral candidates, councilmembers Jean Quan and Rebecca Kaplan, who stood in front of a surging police line at 14th and Broadway in order to prevent OPD from cracking heads. This investigation comes just days after the city council layed off 80 police officers due to budget constraints. OPD has posted a "wanted" page displaying photographs of individuals it wants to arrest, and City Attorney John Russo is threatening to find a way to bill arrestees for property damage.
Of those arrested on July 8th who remain in jail, seven have no bail set (these people got their protest charges dropped, but are still in for parole violations), while others have been unable to make their exorbitant bails: one person's being as high as $525,000, one at $70,000, three at $60,000-65,000 and one at $35,000. The next hearing for many of these folks is Thursday, July 22nd.
This block of Webster, between 21st and 22nd, was particularly hard hit, with nearly every window on the block broken and/or spray painted. This and the following nine photos are from the same block.
Ghostown perhaps a reference to dozens of arrests recently on MLK Blvd in Oakland: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/06/14/18650601.php
New plywood to cover windows is already coming in.