Police Huddle on Mehserle Response

Monday, Jul 26, 2010  |  Updated 11:30 AM PDT
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Oakland Preps for Violence

Michelle Toy

A dumpster on fire on 17th and Broadway in downtown Oakland Thursday.

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Police agencies will meet this week to discuss communication breakdowns and logistical problems that hindered Oakland's response to unrest after a BART officer was convicted in the shooting death of a passenger.

Protests, looting, vandalism and fires broke out after Johannes Mehserle, who is white, was convicted on July 8 of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Oscar Grant, who was black.

Those protesting say they thought Mehserle desired to be convicted of a more serious crime.

The melee brought in 15 police agencies to help the Oakland department. But Oakland Deputy Chief Eric Breshears said it also brought unprecedented logistical challenges dealing with 900 officers.

Those involved will gather to discuss handling of unrest that may follow the Nov. 5 sentencing of Mehserle.  The exact date is not public.

The issue of communication break downs have been a problem in Oakland since the Oakland Hills firestorm in 1991.  Now, 19 years later, they still apparently haven't found a fix for the problem.  And in the case of the Mehserle verdict, emergency officials had weeks to plan for the event.  In a major emergency, such as an earthquake, police will have no time to prepare.

There was also serious communication problem on September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center buildings.

The problem in most cases is that agencies cannot  speak to each other because of different digital frequencies.
 

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