About 500 people descended on the parking lot of the Walnut Creek courthouse Monday afternoon to rally in support of former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle.

But at least half of those in attendance were either on-duty law enforcement from the surrounding community or reporters eager to capture the much-hyped event.

On July 8, a jury convicted Mehserle of involuntary manslaughter in the New Year’s Eve shooting death of Hayward resident Oscar Grant.

Dozens of supporters for Mehserle crowded up above the street on the parking lot shortly before 2 p.m., while a larger group of counter-protestors gathered below them on the sidewalk. While most of the pro-Mehserle camp quietly held their signs a few people engaged in confrontations with crowd below who spent much of the afternoon chanting “Murder” and “Justice for Oscar Grant.”

Shortly after 4 p.m., most of the Grant supporters marched three blocks up the street to the Walnut Creek BART station. The police followed closely behind, but the officers made no attempt to corral the protestors onto the sidewalk and no one was arrested.

About The Author

Susan Mernit is editor & publisher of Oakland Local (oaklandlocal.com) a news & community hub for Oakland, CA. A former VP at AOL & Netscape, & former! Yahoo Senior Director, Mernit was consulting program manager for The Knight News Challenge, 2008-09; was a 2012 Stanford Carlos McClatchy Fellow; and is a board adviser to The Center for Health Reporting at USC, Annenberg School of Journalism. She has consulted with many non-profit organizations on strategy, product development and social media/engagement, including Salon.com, TechSoup Global, Public Radio International and the Institute for Policy Studies/Economic Hardship Reporting Project, led by Barbara Ehrenreich.