Many businesses in downtown Oakland sustained damage when a large protest broke out after the verdict was returned in former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle’s trial, but most were open for business Friday.
Mehserle, 28, was charged with murder for the shooting death of unarmed passenger Oscar Grant III at the Fruitvale station in Oakland on Jan. 1, 2009.
On Thursday, he was convicted of the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter, which sparked outrage among many community members.
Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts said at a news conference at the city’s emergency operations center that about 100 businesses were hit by graffiti or broken windows.
Most of the businesses were between 12th and 20th streets along Broadway and on several streets parallel to Broadway, he said.
Batts said the area that seemed to suffer the most damage was the corner of 17th Street and Broadway.
A Foot Locker shoe store at 1430 Broadway, where some people broke into the store and stole shoes and other items, appeared to have been hit hardest.
The store remained closed today with a large blue tarp covering its name and its windows boarded up.
A Pizza Man restaurant next door didn’t sustain any damage, and it was open for business.
One block west, at 1312 Broadway, a Subway sandwich store had one of its windows broken Thursday night, but it was open today and had many customers. One window was boarded up, and another window still had cracked glass.
Several blocks east, the Sears store at 1955 Broadway had broken or cracked glass in several areas, and one of its entrances was closed. It was open for business, though.
Another block east, the Paramount Theatre at 2025 Broadway had been scheduled to show the classic movie “King Kong” tonight, but signs on its doors said the showing had been postponed. The Paramount’s web site said the movie will now be shown on July 30.
Batts said other businesses that sustained significant damage were several banks and a jewelry store.
Although several businesses near the intersection of 17th Street and Broadway were damaged, nearby businesses on 17th Street between Franklin and Webster streets escaped damage even though they had been harmed during violent protests in January 2009.
The Rev. ElTyna McCree, the owner of Underground Treasures, an apparel and accessories store at 385 17th St., said, “I was inspired when I came to work this morning and didn’t see any broken windows or graffiti. I’m very, very pleased.”
McCree, who is active in the merchants group for her business district, said she has been handing out posters that say, “Love not Blood for the Streets of Oakland,” but some people who were hanging out on 17th Street on Thursday night refused to accept them.
She said that when she watched television coverage of violence that erupted later Thursday night, she noticed that some of those people were among those who were arrested.
“They come into Oakland from outside and tear up our city,” McCree said. “We have to make sure it doesn’t happen again, and we have to put the fear of God in them.”