"Operation Verdict" Under Way in Oakland

By Lori Preuitt and Sajid Farooq
|  Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010  |  Updated 1:24 PM PDT
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Protest Broken Up After Mehserle Makes Bail

AP

Ryan Hall, 26, protests the BART police shooting of an unarmed man, on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2006, in Oakland, Calif. Hall, who lives in Berkeley, was lying on the ground to demonstrate the position 22-year-old Oscar Grant was in when killed. Behind, police in gas masks and riot gear maintain a perimenter around protesters. (AP Photo/Noah Berger - San Francisco Chronicle) *** MANDATORY CREDIT FOR PHOTOG AND SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE/NO SALES MAGS OUT-INTERNET OUT ***

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Mehserle Testimony Impacts Families

BART police Officer Anthony Pirone testified today that a video appears to show that Oscar Grant III was reaching for Pirone's gun shortly before Grant was shot and killed by fellow Officer Johannes Mehserle early on New Year's Day.

Mehserle Posts Bail: Oakland Streets Erupt in Anger

The ex-BART cop accused of killing a young man at a BART station on New Years Day was granted bail on Friday, sparking outrage in the community.
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The trial of a former BART officer accused of killing a man isn't expected to go to the jury until Friday but already people are on edge in Oakland.

City officials fear if a jury acquits Johannes Mehserle, or convicts him of manslaughter, protests could get ugly in the East Bay city.

Mehserle is charged with shooting 22-year-old Oscar Grant in the early morning hours of New Year's Day 2009 while he laid face down on a BART platform. The officer testified he accidentally shot Grant after he mistakenly pulled out his gun, instead of his Taser.

The incident sparked heated protests from the community after Mesherle made bail a month after the shooting. The protests turned violent and dozens of businesses and cars were damaged

Community activists have already promised there will be marches regardless of what verdict is reached.

But this time, the Oakland Police Department is preparing for potentially violent protests ahead of an announcement of the jury's verdict.

Starting Wednesday at noon, officers were setting up a staging area called "Operation Verdict" at the Port of Oakland and officers are being told to be prepared to work 12-hour shifts. This a day after 80 city cops were given pink slips.

Barricades are also being set up at the Fruitvale BART station, where Grant was killed.

Oakland city leaders are also preparing for the worst. Late last week a community bulletin was sent to Oakland residents advising them to park their cars in a secure location, remove large trash bins from the curb and report any vandalism or destruction they see by calling 911.

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