OAKLAND, California – On New Year’s day in 2009, BART police officer Johannes Mehserle shot Oscar Grant in the back while Grant was face down on a BART station platform. This high profile case came to the public’s attention after numerous videos of the execution-style murder was released over the internet. Now Mehserle is on trial, but the case has been riddled with controversy and bias in his favor. The trial is expected to conclude in the next few weeks, and many concerned community members have low expectations for justice. In the midst of the economic collapse, the systemic racism manifested by both the murder and the lack of accountability only continue to aggravate a community struggling to survive. Community organizers have called for action on the day of the verdict.
Police, apprehensive of the community’s outrage, have begun to prepare for suppression. A general police strategy was leaked to indybay and has been reproduced here:
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT WHAT THE COPS ARE PLANNING WHEN THE MEHSERLE VERDICT IS ANNOUNCED.
As a worker in Alameda County Emergency Medical Services I have been briefed about what the Oakland Police Department, Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, California Highway Patrol, BART Police, and other municipal law enforcement departments are anticipating for when the verdict is announced in the Mehserle murder trial.
The verdict is expected to be announced within two hours of the jury’s decision. Any verdict less than Premeditated Murder is anticipated to provoke “civil disturbance” in Oakland, Hayward, and Los Angeles. BART will shut down the Fruitvale Station and probably the downtown Oakland stations.
OPD has stated that they will not use Tasers or rubber rubber bullets for crowd control (this doesn’t mean that other cops won’t use them); only tear gas, pepper spray and batons will be deployed. Extra personnel will be on duty, with mobile Strike Forces for riot suppression and mobile command centers, most likely operating from close to the 7th/Maritime, 14th/Broadway, and the Fruitvale areas. All personnel will be issued with gas masks and soft body armor.
Law enforcement anticipate disturbances to last for up to a week after a verdict is announced, and a further round when sentencing is announced.
Ambulance crews have been specifically instructed not to ignore civilian injured. Please remember that ambulance crews are not involved in law enforcement or crowd control, so don’t attack us even though our uniforms are the same color as OPD. Thanks, and you didn’t hear any of this from me.
ALL INFORMATION IS PROVISIONAL AS OF JUNE 24, HAS ONLY BEEN VERBALLY TRANSMITTED, AND IS SUBJECT TO ALTERATION BASED ON CHANGING CONDITIONS.
VIVA LA REVOLUCION!