As many as 150 demonstrators were arrested in Oakland during protests over the two-year prison sentence handed down to a former police officer who fatally shot an unarmed man on an Oakland train station platform.
A four-hour peaceful demonstration at Oakland City Hall moved into the surrounding streets and took on a more aggressive tone Friday evening with marchers smashing windshields, making obscene gestures at surrounding police and noisily shouting slogans.
Police in riot gear allowed several hundred marchers to move through the streets for about an hour before encircling a smaller number of people near 6th Avenue and East 17th Street. Demonstrators left a trail of broken windshields as they moved down 17th Street, angering some residents.
Police moved in after one officer was injured after being struck by a car and another officer’s gun was grabbed by a protester.
Officials said that overall, the protests were less destructive than those that occurred in July concerning the case.
The demonstrators were expressing anger at the case of Johannes Mehserle. On Friday, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Robert J. Perry said evidence in the racially charged case showed that the shooting was an accident caused when Mehserle mistakenly reached for a firearm instead of an electric Taser weapon he meant to use.
As Perry spoke, the victim’s mother rushed from the courtroom with other relatives and supporters. “Nothing, he got nothing!” she told reporters after she exited.