Post-Mehserle Verdict Concerns Grow - NBC Bay Area

Post-Mehserle Verdict Concerns Grow



    Post-Mehserle Verdict Concerns Grow

    The Johannes Mehserle murder trial looks like it will wrap up in Los Angeles this week. The judge restated in court Monday that he expected closing arguments this Thursday.

    The end of the trial has people in Oakland bracing for possible trouble once the verdict is reached. 

    While city leaders are calling for calm, people who use Lake Merritt found messages preaching the opposite.

    The sidewalks that circle the lake were spray painted this weekend.  Some were mundane such as "Justice for Oscar Grant." Others seemed to point to trouble with the words "LA Better Get It Right Or Else." One appeared the threaten the Mehserle's life. 

    Workers were out Monday morning removing the paint, but not before hundreds of people read the words.

    Late last week, Oakland city leaders sent out a few tips for people to keep their stuff safe, just in case post-verdict protests do get out of hand.

    In a community bulletin issued Friday officials advised residents to park cars in a secure location, remove large trash bins from the curb and report any vandalism or destruction they see by calling 911.

    Mehserle is accused of murdering Oscar Grant at the Fruitvale BART station early January 1, 2009.

    The trial was moved to Los Angeles due to pre-trial publicity. The case is also rife with racial tensions.  In the early weeks of 2009, protests turned into riots. Dozens of businesses were vandalized, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.

    The worry is a verdict of innocent, or even guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter, protests could turn violent again.

    "It's such an unpredictable situation," said Nicole Lee, executive director of the Urban Peace Movement told Bay City News. "On all sides, everyone is sort of bracing. "... It's going to be a very emotionally charged situation."

    Even before the trial began, protest organizers announced that they would meet at 16th and Broadway in Oakland at whatever time the verdict is announced.  They said they would decide what to do and where to go once they know the outcome.