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Police and business owners are bracing for possible chaos as darkness falls over Oakland following former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle’s two-year prison sentence today.

Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums said he understood the community’s angry reactions to Mehserle’s prison sentence for fatally shooting Oscar Grant III at the Fruitvale BART station in 2009, but he called for nonviolent protest.

No incidents had been reported by this afternoon, but many shops closed early and boarded up their properties.

One bar at 510 17th St. had several windows boarded up and posters saying: “Be Cool. Mehserle lost his cool. Let’s not repeat his mistake.” Another sign read: “Violence is not justice.”

Next door, also at 510 17th St., at the Center for Elder Independence, employees were boarding up the windows.

Oakland police Chief Anthony Batts said there is no particular time when they are going to breathe easy about the situation. The majority of problems happen after dark, so that’s what officers are waiting for, he said.

Police today have recognized people who caused problems at the protests in July.

Officers are going up to them and telling them they hope they remain peaceful.

“We have identified them, and we are keeping an eye on them,” Batts said.

He said many uniformed and plainclothes officers are being deployed throughout the city to monitor protests and any possible violence or other illegal activity.

“It is quiet, and hopefully we stay that way,” he said.

Mehserle, 28, resigned from BART a week after he shot Grant, a 22-year-old Hayward man, who was unarmed. The former officer says he mistakenly used his gun instead of his Taser.

Dellums said he would, “look to the (Grant) family to determine whether the standard of justice has been met” with today’s sentence.

“It’s very clear to me,” he said, in observation of the reaction of the family and their representative, “that this judgment was met with disappointment, was met with great pain and extraordinary hurt. One can draw from that … that the test of justice was not met.

“I understand the anger, I understand the pain, I understand the hurt, and the disappointment.”

Dellums said the reaction spoke to the community’s “historical experiences,” “cynicism,” and “everyday reality.”

Still, Dellums said he hoped that people would express their anger and their disappointment “in a manner that is nonviolent, in a manner that is not destructive to our community.”

Batts said police would work to ensure that people have the right to free speech and protest, but he warned that anyone damaging property or otherwise breaking the law would be arrested.

He said officers have been trained to try to identify those responsible using video cameras, and also to remove lawbreakers from within the crowd of people while still allowing peaceful protests to continue.

Mehserle could have faced anything from probation to 14 years in state prison.

When Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Robert Perry sentenced Mehserle, he first ruled on a motion by Mehserle’s lawyer, Michael Rains, asking that his client be granted a new trial. That motion was denied.

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