2:49 PM: KTVU is reporting that a verdict’s been reached in the Oscar Grant murder trial, and KCBS says it will be announced at 4 PM, KTVU says
4:30 now they’re saying 4.
3:03 PM: From BART: as of 3:01 pm, they’re running normal service. You can keep track of what’s going on on BART this afternoon a number of ways
Email/SMS alerts: http://www.bart.gov/alerts
BART Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/sfbart
SMS on demand: Text ‘BART service’ to 878787 (or visit http://www.bart.gov/sms for details)
BART Phone Center: 510-465-BART (2278)
3:11 PM: We’re getting reports that Oakland PD are gathering in downtown Oakland — one reader say that it “looks like two police helicopters (are) heading downtown,” others say they have “already heard more sirens than usual” and one saw “OPD booking towards Jack London.”
3:30 PM: As you can imagine, I’ve been emailing and IMing everyone I know in the area, and what I’ve culled thus far (none of this verified)
— Oakland City workers are being sent home
— traffic is already snarled
— Employees at Frank Ogawa Plaza are being sent home
— BART trains are packed
— Protest is planned at 14th and Broadway in Oakland, fliers say to meet at 6pm on the night of the protest, but many think people will come sooner.
In addition, California Beat is tweeting that “Major employers and businesses in Downtown Oakland are evacuating their employees right now.”
3:32 PM: From an IM sent to a reader who was planning on visiting a friend in Oakland tonight “DO NOT COME TO OAKLAND. Seriously, make sure no one gets on BART. They just closed all the offices downtown, the cops are out in FULL gear.”
3:40: BART confirms reports that their trains are crowded, saying “No delays reported, however trains are packed in in Downtown San Francisco and Downtown Oakland. “
3:50 PM: Reports of evacuations continue:
kgoradio is tweeting that “According to the Superior Court rep, effective IMMEDIATELY all courthouses in Alameda county have been evacuated per judge’s order”
Appeal staffer Becca Hirschman says that the Wells Fargo on Market St. in San Francisco has shut down.
3:56 PM: Down in LA in the courtroom, Oscar Grant’s family and Johannes Mehserle have arrived in the courtroom, which is reportedly “lined with” police officers.
4 PM: From a reader: “Just got a call from my brother who’s at a meeting in Downtown Oakland. Meeting was cut short abruptly and everyone’s heading out of downtown ASAP.”
4:07 PM: The verdict: guilty of involuntary manslaughter, which carries a sentence of 2-4 years, with possible additional time since a gun was used. Reporters were rushed out of the courthouse, reports are that the atmosphere was very intense. Other reports say that Oscar Grant’s mother was “visibly upset.”
4:10 PM: I was on the phone with an Appeal reader in downtown Oakland at the moment of the verdict, and could hear a groan (not to cheapen the event, but not unlike after a bad play in the Superbowl) from outside. And things are just getting tenser: Appeal contrib Laura Hautala says she’s at Montgomert BART, where a BART “employee is radioing coworker saying she’s going to back room, figuring out what to do next.”
4:18 PM: We’re getting reports of “unrest” Fruitvale BART.
4:19 PM: From LA: Mehserle has been remanded to custody (he was out on bail) and will be sentenced on August 6.
From a reader in the criminal law profession: “unsurprised by involuntary manslaughter, but thought TV downplayed the extra time he could get from a gun enhancement. He could get 10 years….also, just probation isn’t an option with a gun enhancement.”
4:23 PM: From a reader in touch with folks in Oakland: “the crowd (is) growing in front of Oakland City hall , over 100 people already and very emotional…”
4:25 PM: A reader sends this picture from 14th and Broadway in Oakland, where a protest is planned for 6 tonight. As you can see, people are already gathering.
4:34 PM: We’re getting reports of more helicopters circling downtown Oakland now, but according to twitter, things seem to be fairly quiet.
4:36 PM: From a reader: “Update from downtown SF: There is a significant police presence in downtown SF along the Market Street corridor and especially in and around BART stations.”
4:41 PM: KRON4’s liveblog is reporting that as of 4:40 “There are no reports of riots. KRON 4’s Christine Connolly at the Fruitvale BART station describes it as very quiet.”
4:42 PM: From a reader who works by City Hall in Oakland, and was evacuated at 3 PM today: “Fairly quiet in BART aside from the overcrowding…Just got back to SF”
4:52 PM: From a reader, reporting from 12th and Oak St in Oakland. “Left my office in Berkeley early and the traffic was bumper to bumper whole way. Major traffic going into and out of Oakland. Things are quiet in front of the superior court.”
4:56 PM: BART reports “a 10-minute delay at Hayward on the Fremont Line in the Richmond and Daly City directions due to a medical emergency.” This issue seems unrelated to today’s news.
5:03 PM: We’re hearing that downtown SF remains quiet: from one reader, “the street looks quiet (Kearny at California), hearing that there are a lot of police on Market.” From another reader: “Powell (BART station) is actually super mellow. There’s a cellist playing in here…There are a lot of police around though, officers at every entrance and walking the corridors.”
5:08 PM: A followup on the note above: the police officers at BART are reportedly all SFPD officers who have been stationed at BART “for the day.”
5:10 PM: BART reports that the “Minor northbound delays at Hayward due to a medical emergency” continue, but that “Crowding in the system has eased.”
Another reader reports that he “Just got a cab out of a very sedate downtown.”
5:13 PM: Appeal commenter blooms says
“What an absurd observation from KRON: ‘There are no reports of riots.’ Feeding frenzy canceled, please go home. Like the old cross examination trick question: when did you stop beating your wife? What happens when cameras come out to film a riot that is not happening?”
What do you think, is reporting that nothing that happens “absurd” as blooms does? Or is it preferable for news outlets to quell peoples’ fears? I’m dogless in this fight, but curious about what you guys think.
5:19 PM: oaklandriots is tweeting that “Oakland is ghost town – except for city hall area…Every shop is closed. Some are being boarded up. Police everywhere.”
5:20 PM: BART has released a statement (read the whole thing here), which says, in part:
A young man lost his life because of the actions of a former BART police officer. It is a heartbreaking fact that no one can change that sad day. We continue to deeply regret the loss of life….We must not let the initial emotional reaction of the verdict have long-lasting negative effects on the place we call home.
Crowds continue to grow at 14th and Broadway in Oakland, and San Francisco remains quiet, from all reports.
5:30 PM: As we noted earlier, Appeal commenter blooms was critical of news outlets reporting that so far, civil unrest was limited. We asked for your thoughts, and reader P responded:
I disagree with blooms. Firstly, reporting that ‘There are no reports of riots’ is nothing like asking ‘When did you stop beating your wife’. In fact, I appreciate your making that statement. As someone who is fortunate enough to not be in the area today, but does there and has many friends there, I’m glad to know that level heads are currently prevailing. Thanks.
How about you, is the media hyping the situation (my god, does that mean we’re hyping the hype), or is this standard service journalism? We’re happy to discuss.
5:36 PM: We’re getting reports (confirmed by twitter) that the intersection at 14th and Broadway is closed. “AC Transit bus is ‘stuck’ here, despite pleas to let it thru” tweets Alonis. Things are peaceful, we’re told.
5:45 PM: Here’s what everyone else is saying about the verdict:
Oakland exodus as verdict is read Chron Everyone busted ass to get out of Oakland once it was announced that a verdict had been reached. “People are kind of nervous” they quote one person as saying.
Johannes Mehserle Guilty of Involuntary Manslaughter SF Weekly updates from Oakland by Appeal contrib Chris Roberts, so you know it’s good.
Mehserle convicted of involuntary manslaughter Chron “The involuntary manslaughter verdict indicates that jurors concluded that Mehserle did not intend to kill the 22-year-old Grant but had been criminally negligent when he drew his gun.” Very comprehensive report on what went down in the courtroom in LA.
5:53 PM: More coverage from elsewhere:
Johannes Mehserle: Guilty of Involuntary Manslaughter SFist Updates, including a note that “Frank Chu is in Oakland, live at the scene.”
Schwarzenegger urges calm following shooting trial AP Schwarzenegger issued a asking residents not to resort to violence in the aftermath of the racially charged case.
Attorney says family upset with verdict AP Attorney for Grant family says “Mehserle should have been convicted of murder. He said it was like Mehserle ‘ran a light instead of killing someone.'”
5:55 PM: More reports from reader on the scene: “14th & B’way/Oakland appears to be cordoned off by police: lots of yelling and agitators trying to rally crowd, but so far no violence. A little bit of back and forth between the crowd and OPD officers for position, though…Alameda Sheriffs on radio estimate crowd at 14th & B’way to be about 1000 persons.”
6:05 PM: Friend of the Appeal Laura Beck, reporting from Oakland, has taken the below pictures, saying:
6:10 PM: BART says that “The Alameda County Sheriff has requested that BART close the City Center entrances to 12th Street Station in Oakland. “
6:20 PM: Looks like the Chronicle was ready for this verdict — they’ve already posted an editorial (that is, an unbylined article written by a member of the Chronicle’s editorial board, ostensibly intended to represent the paper’s position on the issue) that this was “The right verdict in Mehserle case” They sure got that out fast!
6:36 PM: From a reader: “If you were wondering, no reports of civil unrest in Marin.” But before you get all mean about Marin, all “I wonder if they knew there was a trial? Or if they know what BART is?” I’ll remind you: Tupac was from Marin. So there.
6:40 PM: From BART: “No delays reported and ridership is relatively light.” Spokesperson Linton Johnson affirms that, saying that their goals are to keep all stations open and trains running on time.
When asked if BART’s prepared for protests, Johnson says “we’re prepared for anything and everything.”
6:59 PM: From the crowd at 14th and Broadway, “the energy in the crowd is good” barring “anarchist groups wearing masks.” All in all, though, the situation is peaceful, though some are expressinc concerns that things will turn after dark.
7:02 PM: From the crowd, Appeal staffer Julia Reis reports that “Oscar (Grant’s) grandfather is here to promote nonviolence in rally. Says he expected second degree murder verdict.”
7:05 PM: CHP spokesperson Trent Cross says that the Broadway entrance and exit ramps on 80 have been closed to prevent people from “going up on the freeway and destroying things.” He says 200 CHP officers are deployed in the area, and that they’re ready to double the number if necessary.
From BART: “No delays reported. Longer trains will run for the rest of the night and ridership continues to be relatively light.”
7:11: At an Oakland PD press conference, Chief Anthony Batts estimates the crowd at 14th and Broadway at about 800. They say that so far there haven’t been any significant incidents (a few firecrackers, some rock throwing that’s it), and no arrests.
At this time, there aren’t any street closures and Batts says “things are going well.”
7:48 PM: KRON4 broadcast is reporting that the US Department of Justice has just announced that they will be launching an independent review into the shooting of Oscar Grant to determine if there should be a federal prosecution in this case.
8:33 PM: The Appeal’s Chris Roberts reports that police have declared the gathering at 14th and Broadway an “unlawful assembly” after bottles and rocks have been thrown, breaking a window. “The police are putting on their gas masks” yelled Roberts to us over the phone as the sound of bullhorns threatened to drown him out.
Another reader is reporting looting of a Foot Locker in the area, saying that “there’s a little chaos” and that police is mainly on the perimeter of the unrest.
“People feel penned in” says our reader “and they seem to be acting out by stealing from Foot Locker and setting off fireworks.”
8:40 PM: BART has closed the 12th Street Oakland Station.
8:50 PM: Protesters have taken over the Far East National Bank on Broadway, and KRON4 is reporting that police appear to be either unaware or reluctant to leave the perimeter they’ve been guarding.
8:55 PM: Roberts reports that Foot Locker-related debris is all over the place, and KRON4 is reporting that a large group is burning Foot Locker stuff.
BART says that “Trains are not stopping at 12th St. Oakland City Center due to a civil disturbance.”
9 PM: From Chris Roberts: “The windows on about half the stores on Broadway between 14th and 15th are all busted out, and protesters are throwing shoes from the Foot Locker at the police.”
At a OPD media briefing going on now, Mayor Dellums has asked all protesters to leave the downtown area. I told Roberts this, he said “I can see that. It’s getting really ugly.”
Oakland’s police chief says that right now, the crowd has dwindled to 300-400 people.
9:09 PM: BART says “service is back to normal through 12th St./Oakland City Center Station.”
9:16 PM: KRON4 is reporting that police have gotten to the looters, are arresting people and pushing the crowd away from the vandalized crowd.
9:36 PM: BART says that 19th St. Oakland station is closed “due to a civil disturbance.”
We’re getting reports that police are arresting protesters who remain, and/or are threatening to release tear gas if the crowd doesn’t disperse.
9:40 PM: A reader says they are hearing gunshots or fireworks “near Grand and Montecito, a few times now.” A sheriff’s department spokesperson says he believes what the reader is hearing are M-80 fireworks.
9:47 PM: BART says that “19th St Station in Oakland is closed to customers. Some entrances at 12th Street Station remain closed, but service continues there. “
9:54 PM: Alameda County sheriff’s spokesperson Sgt. J.D. Nelson says that protesters have begun throwing M-1000 fireworks at cops and their fellow demonstrators. So, they’re getting arrested. “At this point there’s people that are certainly acting up, and we’re doing our best to take them into custody,”
10:15 PM: You probably figured this out already, but as far as we or SFPD know, there have not been any protests/disturbances/unrest in San Francisco as a result of the verdict in this BART shooting case.
According to SFPD spokesperson Officer Samson Chan, “We’re pretty much monitoring the whole city, and we will adjust the hours of our officers if needed,” but that so far, nothing happened.
10:21 PM: From a reader: “I think I just heard 4 gun shots after hearing the fireworks. Are you getting any other texts about people hearing gun shots?” When asked if they were sure that what they heard weren’t fireworks, the reader responded “I thought the fireworks were gun shots at first then when I heard they weren’t and then heard them again I noticed a big difference. And the 4 shots were back to back really fast.”
10:38 PM: It’s the last media briefing of the day in Oakland. Oakland police chief Anthony Batts says that they’ve made 50+ arrests, and that he expects that number to double by the end of the evening.
“We have a number of protesters out there who are refusing to disperse,” Batts says, citing the 1700 blocks of Broadway and Franklin, and the intersection of West Grand and Broadway as particular problem areas, the latter plagued with dumpster fires.
Multiple businesses have been graffiti-ed and broken into, Batts confirmed. He says that officers had to release smoke (not tear gas) at 20th and Broadway after protesters began hitting officers with bottles, confirming another report from Appeal readers.
One reporter at the briefing asked Batts about a KQED reporter they say was arrested even after showing their credentials, Batts seemed nonplussed at the question and said he’d be surprised if that were true.
“We’re making mass arrests” he said, explaining why he couldn’t give many details on individuals who were detained.
11:38 PM: From BART: “19th Street Station will remain closed for the rest of the evening. Some entrances at 12th Street Station are closed, but service continues there. BART service for the day will end within the hour, so this will be the last update this evening. We’ll resume these notifications tomorrow if conditions warrant.”
By most reports, while there are still some folks massed on Broadway in Oakland, the protests are supposedly over for the night.