New: 78 Arrests in Oakland Protests

By Bay City News
Friday July 09, 2010 - 12:18:00 PM

  OAKLAND (BCN)--    A total of 78 people were arrested Thursday night in downtown Oakland during protests that followed the announcement of the verdict in the Johannes Mehserle trial, a spokesman for the Alameda County Sheriff's Office said today.  


   Mehserle, a former BART officer, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter Thursday for the shooting death of Oscar Grant III on a platform at the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland on Jan. 1, 2009.  


   The majority of those arrested, 66 people, will be released today  because they only face misdemeanor charges, many for "unlawful assembly,"  which is not obeying an order to disperse, Alameda County sheriff's Sgt. J.D.  Nelson said.  


   The others face felony charges and will be kept in custody, Nelson said.  


   Six of the 12 people are facing felony charges for breaking parole, and other charges include arson, causing property damage, and using an explosive device, Nelson said.  


   Of the 78 people arrested, 60 were male and 18 female.   


   Nineteen of those arrested are from Oakland, 28 are from the Bay Area outside of Oakland, 19 are from California outside of the Bay Area, and 12 are from out of state, Nelson said.  


   Nelson did not have any information about whether the people from out of state were the so-called "outside agitators" who instigated the destructive parts of the protest, but he said it was not out of the question.  


   "You have to question why they came from out of state, and why they were in the streets in the middle of the night," he said.  


   Several businesses were damaged along Broadway between 12th and 20th streets, where most of the protesters gathered. A few banks, a Whole Foods Market, a Foot Locker shoe store, and a Subway sandwich shop were among the businesses that were damaged.  


   Protesters smashed windows; some looted stores, busted down doors, or sprayed graffiti on storefronts.  


   Of the 66 people arrested who are scheduled for release, only 16  have been released as of shortly before 11 a.m. because processing is slow  since the jail facility is understaffed due to budget cuts, Nelson said.