A new chief for the BART police seeks to heal community ties

BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey in his office above the Lake Merritt BART station.

Ever since then-BART police officer Johannes Mehserle fatally shot Oscar Grant on the platform of its Fruitvale station nearly two years ago, BART—and particularly its police force—has struggled to rebuild its relationship with the communities it serves. New BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey says he’s the man for the job.

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Mehserle protests end with limited damage, lots of arrests

Police cordon off a residential block Friday night in East Oakland, where protesters were arrested following the announcement of the Johannes Mehserle sentencing. Photo by Nicole Jones.

Oakland’s streets are quiet again. Peaceful protests turned into a night of vandalism Friday after the announcement of a two-year sentence for former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle. Police officials said 152 people were arrested after protesters at a peaceful rally in Frank Ogawa Plaza stormed the streets of Oakland Friday night. Protesters marched through…

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Breaking news video: arrests underway


Oakland North reporters Nicole Jones and Teresa Chin have been following tonight’s Johannes Mehserle sentencing protests. From the site of the first arrests, they filed these video reports.

A peaceful protest at Frank Ogawa Plaza turned ugly after the gathering was forced to break up at 6 p.m. Police estimated 300 to 500 protesters moved into the streets of downtown, where they blocked traffic and jumped on moving vehicles. For the full story, click here.

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Evening Mehserle protests turn ugly

Protestors at night

Updated 8:54 p.m.: Police have begun arresting protesters who have been wandering raucously around Oakland in response to the announcement of the Johannes Mehserle sentencing. Oakland Police spokesperson Jeff Thomason estimated that more than 100 protesters have been arrested.

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Mehserle sentenced to 2 years, including time served

Photos of Oscar Grant, who was killed on New Year's Eve 2009 by former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle, adorn the store windows at DeLaurer's News Stand at the corner of 13th and Broadway. Photo by Terria Smith.

From a ninth-floor courtroom in downtown Los Angeles, Johannes Mehserle, the former BART police officer convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Oscar Grant III, was sentenced this afternoon to two years in prison. The sentence, from Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Perry, will include credit for the time Mehserle has already spent in jail.

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Boarding up but still quiet, Oakland downtown awaits Mehserle news

As Oakland awaits news from the Los Angeles sentencing of former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle, downtown businesses are preparing today for the possibility of violence. Storefronts around Frank Ogawa Plaza are boarded up including the Oakland police Internal Affairs office, the offices of Youth Radio and the Men’s Wearhouse and Foot Locker stores nearby.

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Mehserle sentencing expected Friday

This mural of Oscar Grant, who was killed last year by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle, was recently removed from the corner of 17th Street and Broadway. Photo by Kevin Fixler.

Probation or prison? On Friday morning, the sentence of Johannes Mehserle, the former BART police officer convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Oscar Grant III, will rest in the hands of one man, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Perry.

In the same downtown court building that housed the O.J. Simpson trial, Perry is expected to juggle a wide range of sentencing options ranging from parole to 14 years in California state prison.

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With Mehserle sentencing approaching, peacekeepers train to avert violence

As Oakland awaits this Friday’s sentencing of Johannes Mehserle, civic leaders and residents alike are working together to keep the city’s reaction peaceful. The former BART police officer was convicted in July of involuntary manslaughter in the January, 2009, shooting death of Oscar Grant. In the wake of Grant’s death, as well as of Mehserle’s conviction this summer, protests in downtown Oakland turned violent.

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Boats in McCovey Cove support Mehserle, Grant as attorney files for new trial

Mehserle's boat

As the Giants hosted the San Diego Padres on October 3, a long white banner peeked above the right field wall of AT&T Park. The sign, attached to the rigging of a yacht anchored in what Giants fans call “McCovey Cove,” did not support either team. Instead, the banner spelled out a political message in black block letters: Free Johannes Mehserle. Strung along the base of the boat was another banner listing a website, Justice4Johannes.com.

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Lawyers guild investigating excessive force accusations

Wearing a white tank top spotted with blood, Susan Harman, a 69-year-old former school principal and resident of Oakland, told a crowd of reporters that she was a victim of police aggression during the protests following the July 8 Johannes Mehserle verdict. The tank top she was wearing was the same one she had on that night when, she said, while peacefully protesting she was pushed down, hit on the head with a baton and arrested.

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