Post-Mehserle Trail Training, Just In Case

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Link confirmed day before shootings

    The Oakland Police Department held a large crowd control training  exercise Ffriday to try to prepare for possible unrest after a verdict in the  trial of former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle on a charge that he  murdered passenger Oscar Grant III.

    Police spokeswoman Holly Joshi said, "We expect the best from the  community" when the verdict is announced in Los Angeles Superior Court, where  the trial was moved because of concerns that Mehserle couldn't get a fair  trial in Alameda County due to the extensive publicity the case has received  locally.

     But Joshi also said, "We won't tolerate any violence or  destruction of property," referring to violence and vandalism in Oakland in  the weeks after Mehserle shot and killed Grant, a 22-year-old Hayward man,  when he and other officers responded to a report of a fight on a train at the  Fruitvale station in Oakland early on Jan. 1, 2009.

    Mehserle's trial began last week and is expected to last a month.

    "We're not expecting any violence, but we want to calm the fears  of the business community and property owners," Joshi said.

    Several hundred officers participated in the training session at  the Port of Oakland today, she said.

    In addition, Oakland Police Department leaders and other local law  enforcement agency officials met at the Oakland Emergency Operations Center  at 17th Street and Martin Luther King Way to practice coordinating their  response to possible civil unrest, Joshi said.

    Among the agencies that will be on call to help the Oakland Police  Department in the event of any problems are the Alameda County Sheriff's  Office, the California Highway Patrol and BART police.

    Joshi said Oakland police also held a training session three weeks  ago and plan to have another training session next week.

    She said Mehserle's trial is "an emotionally-charged case" and  extra officers will be on duty when there's a verdict.

     Joshi said some community leaders are trying to defuse any  negative reaction to a verdict by offering activities such as church  services.

    She said gyms and recreation centers will be open so people can  get involved in recreational activities and there will be places where people  can sing rap songs "to vent their emotions."