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Scenes from Downtown Oakland in Lead Up to Expected Mesherle Sentencing, 11/5/10: photos
These photos were shot as the hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court was already underway this morning. The build-up for the expected sentencing has been more subdued and far less hyperbolic in the corporate media and in the halls of power than it was prior to July 8th, when the jury's disappointing verdict of Involuntary Manslaughter was announced. Partly, that may be due to organizers of the event at Frank Ogawa plaza today having worked with city officials to security permits and pay related fees. The City of Oakland has not sent out panicky emails about outside agitators and boarding up this time. Nevertheless, as the morning progresses, numerous businesses are indeed now covering their storefronts with plywood or putting up posters of Oscar Grant inside their windows, especially in the area surrounding City Hall.
"A Day to Honor Oscar Grant - Response to the Sentencing of Johannes Mehserle" is set for this afternoon in front of City Hall at 14th and Broadway: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/11/04/18663121.php. A previously planned march from Frank Ogawa to Li'l Bobby Hutton (DeFremery) Park in West Oakland, after the 6pm conclusion of the gathering downtown, has been canceled by organizers.
Interestingly, the corporate media reported the following:
David Kant-Wofford and others have quietly reached out to some of the anarchist groups that targeted the city after the verdict, urging them to pursue nonviolent measures if and when they choose to resurface for the sentencing. "This is the first time an organized group has made it clear to them that we would prefer they didn't (engage in violence)" said Kant-Wofford. "We told them that we would prefer that they not be violent."
While today is the day that Judge Robert Perry scheduled for sentencing, Johannes Mehserle's attorney Michael Rains has filed a motion for a new trial, based on supposed misconduct by the Alameda County prosecutor, so it is not guaranteed that sentencing will happen today. A variety of other rulings or delays might come out of the court. Regardless, most observers doubt that the conservative Judge Perry -- who presided over the non-convictions of all but one LAPD officer in the notorious L.A. Rampart Scandal -- will sentence Mehserle to the maximum 14 years, while many fear the judge may release Mehserle from jail on probation with time served.
While the gym was unscathed on July 8th, one block up Webster was particularly hard hit: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/07/17/18654126.php
Police can be seen all around the area. Reportedly mutual aid law enforcement agencies will be lying in wait nearby.
Coming down from Sacramento is Fox News 40. At the time this photo was shot, at least a dozen news vans were already staking out positions in or near the plaza.