It didn't take long after the news broke that Johannes Mehserle, the former BART cop charged with shooting Oscar Grant, would be released from jail this weekend, for Grant's friends and family to plan a rally.
And if history tells us anything, it is that Oakland should prepare for potential chaos. Mayor Jean Quan told reporters today that she's hoping for the best, but expecting the worst.
"It's emotional for a lot of people in Oakland," Quan said. "We
understand that there are some demonstrations that we hope will be as
peaceful as last time, but if not, we are totally prepared to respond."
The high-profile shooting incited rage and racial tension among East Bay residents, many who came out in droves to protest after Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter rather than murder. Downtown Oakland looked like a police state, with cops in riot gear and people looting stores. Protesters trashed the neighborhood and started fires.
We called the Oakland Police Department to ask how it plans to
deal with the potential chaos when Mehserle is released. We will update you when we hear back.
Mehserle was convicted for involuntary manslaughter in the Jan. 1, 2009, shooting of Grant at the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland. He claims he meant to reach for his Taser, but instead grabbed his gun and shot Grant in the back.
Mehserle will have served only 11 months of his two-year sentence.
Naturally, Grant's family is disturbed by the news. His uncle, Cephus Johnson, told reporters in May that they would be very upset if Mehserle was released early for good behavior. "It would be very painful emotionally just to see him not behind bars