Law enforcement tries to control crowd in Downtown Oakland.
The following updates are from the Oakland Local team - in collaboration with The Bay Citizen - both on location, in downtown Oakland and elsewhere around the city. Keep watching this page for fresh updates. All times noted are Pacific Time. Also follow OaklandLocal and OscarGrantTrial on Twitter, and visit the Oakland Local Facebook page for updates.
Law enforcement prepares to thow tear gas into the crowds.
Despite the unrest downtown, other parts of Oakland - near Lake Merritt and the Fruitvale BART station - there are no reports of crowds or violence, according to OL staffers on the scene.
9 p.m. (The Bay Citizen):
An unidentified man with a hammer walked down Broadway breaking windows.
Earlier, the windows of the Footlocker on the corner were broken and people with handkerchiefs were throwing shows onto the street. Some were setting the shoes on fire. There was also looting going on with young people running in and exiting with armloads of shoes.
The windows of the Rite Aid near the corner were also broken and protestors tagged them with statements like “Off the pigs” and “f--- the pigs."
OL reports graffiti on the Rite-Aid on the corner of 14th and Broadway and across the street, a few spots down on Broadway, the Far East National Bank has three of the front windows broken, with what seems to have been sneakers.
Although much of the north side of Broadway remains quiet, south of the thoroughfare, the unrest is heightening and there is report of one trash can burning.
As darkness hits, the looting begins.
Oakland Local reporters on the scene at the conclusion of two hours of mostly peaceful gatherings around the Mehserle verdict report that a group of 20-plus people have broken windows and gone into the Foot Locker store on 14th and Broadway and have taken items from the athletic store.
"It was cleaned out," our staffer said.
Another OL reporter is seeing bottles being thrown in the same general vicinity; up until now, the gatherings and protests have been mostly peaceful. As darkness falls and the SpeakOut crowds disperse, the makeup of the crowd is changing.
OPD has declared the crowd as an "unlawful assembly." They are proceeding with pushing back crowd as rocks are being thrown.
Although much of the crowd still gathered in downtown Oakland is calm, there are a few who have begun to throw plastic bottles, causing some anxiety among protestors. Speakers continue to ask people to not react.
8:09 p.m. (Scenes from 14th and Broadway):
Since about 6:30 p.m., speakers have been calling for a peaceful and thoughtful response to the verdict. One young woman took the mic to tell the gathered crowd that being educated was the best way to defy police brutality. She said she is committed to raising her 2-year-old daughter to not fear the police because she is better than what they think of her. Another man urged the crowd to not ignore the everyday violence that Oakland continues to endure. He wants us to come out again and again until all murders end.
One speaker called for a federal judicial response; to disarm BART police. "They don’t deserve our trust back," he said.
A Grant family member speaking to the crowd said "We are our own protection ... together we are brothers and sisters in this street. We are not tearing anything up, we are family, we are love. She said she is not scared of police. "This is not about black or white this is about the humanity of Oakland."
Speakers also urged people to know this nation’s history.
"It’s not a mistake African Americans are the most incarcerated, most HIV, most single family households. Not new what happened to Oscar Grant," the woman said. "America is not going to give justice, we must take it. Know your history, knowledge is power."
Oakland resident Reginald James said he wants more charges brought.
"Perone! We will keep organizing! The police and the corporate media are the outside agitators," he said.
By 7:45p.m., speakers had begun to warn the crowd to not follow rioters.
"They are not us," he said. "People on bikes with scarves are here to tear the city up, they are not on this microphone demanding justice speaking truth to power, speaking hope. When the sun goes down go home."
In East Oakland, a small group of protestors has gathered at the corner of 73rd Avenue and International Blvd. - making sure motorists passing by know how they feel about the verdict.
The group - comprised of all ages and different ethnicities - could be heard chanting "The whole system is guilty!" as many car horns honked in response.
Along Broadway in downtown Oakland, the crowd has become subdued, and an air of hope has evolved. Individuals are speaking out about how they feel, singing and even dancing as a way to deal with their feelings following today's verdict.
Oakland Local photographer Marv Nettles caught the initial reaction of Oaklanders near 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland, to the news of the verdict:
In a press conference following the verdict, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said although it was not the the verdict she wanted, Mehserle would serve time - up to 14 years in prison due to the gun charges related to the case.
The former BART officer will be sentenced Aug. 6.
An OL writer/photographer confirms reports that someone in the crowd has been hit and run over by a police car in the area of 12th Street and Broadway.
Fourteenth Street and Broadway remains relatively calm although KCBS reports a small group of protestors "chased away" a police car with a few officers that attempted to drive through the scene. More officers are on their way to the scene now. Broadway has been closed as more people continue to arrive in the area.
4:53 p.m. (The Bay Citizen):
The jury reached a verdict shortly after 2 this afternoon, but the announcement came at 4 to give Oakland officials time to warn residents. By mid-afternoon, the city was clearing out, with cars crowding onto Interstate 880 and commuters packing BART trains at the 12th Street station. Business owners boarded up their windows.
Julian McQueen, who works at a non-profit environemtnal group called Green for All, said he was told to go home but decided to stay in the city to “bear witness” to the event.
“I think justice hasn’t been served, said McQueen. “What if he hadn’t been photographed? This shows you can kill with virtual impunity, particularly a young black man. “
Despite the dissatisfaction with the verdict, the Oakland City Center remained claim. Media equalled residents outside City Hall, where police had thrown up barricades. Some people made signs, others ate a late lunch. One couple was seen making out near where the violent protesters were taking place.
Ted Hexter, who organized a meeting at 14th St. and Broadway on Facebook, said: “It’s predictable, I mean it’s clearly the judicial system it’s set up to allow the cops murder anyone and get away with it – it’s obvious he’s getting off really light.
At about 4:35 p.m. Oakland attorney John Burris - who has represented Oscar Grant's family over the past 18 months - spoke to the crowd that remains outside the courthouse in Los Angeles.
"We are extremely disappointed in this verdict," said Burris. "It is not a true representation of what happened … this is a true compromised verdict."
Burris went on to say he felt it was a "true second degree murder case" and that the involuntary manslaughter verdict was "better than no conviction at all."
Burris and other experts are reporting that no police officer has ever been convicted of shooting someone. He went on to say that Mehserle should be going to jail "for the rest of his life.
"No true justice has been given."
He ended his statement by saying that he hopes that the communities, both in Oakland and Los Angeles, remain peaceful in their reactions to the verdict.
Shortly after 4 p.m. today a jury of eight women and four men decided Johannes Mehserle's verdict: Guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
The verdict came after only about a day total of deliberation in the murder trial to decide the former BART officer's fate after he shot Oscar Grant III in the early morning of New Year's Day 2009.
An involuntary manslaughter conviction carries a sentence of two to four year.
Text message sent to an Oakland business owner from a friend on BART:
"Wow, BART is totally packed. Of course they didn't think to add sufficient extra trains. There is a dude by me drinking a 40 and carrying a broomstick."