Photographer Finds the Art in BART Protests

©Justin Warren/

Life sometimes does imitate art.

An art show opening Thursday night at an Oakland tattoo parlor  illustrates the emotions stirred up in the community by last month's verdict  in the trial of former BART officer Johannes Mehserle.

Mehserle was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter on July 8  for fatally shooting Oscar Grant III on the platform of the Fruitvale BART  station on Jan. 1, 2009.

Looking through his camera lens, artist Curtis Jermany captured  the protests and rallies in downtown Oakland that night after the verdict was  announced.

Jermany said he is working on a "coffee table book centered around  Oakland covering the good and the bad."

"When the protests came up, I knew there would be some images  there I would want to capture," he said.

Although some seeking justice for Grant's death regarded the  guilty verdict as a victory, many community members were unhappy that  Mehserle was convicted of the lesser charge, rather than murder.

Simmering anger boiled over that night and more than 75 people  were arrested as some in the crowd vandalized buildings, smashed storefront  windows and looted businesses along Broadway.

Jermany was there to capture the peaceful rallies and the unrest.  However, since it was important to him to paint a balanced picture, he also  photographed a Walnut Creek rally in support of Mehserle on July 19.

"As it happened, they had a lot of counter-protesters at that one  so I made it a priority to capture both sides," Jermany said.

A reception for the photography show will take place from 8 p.m.  to 10 p.m. at Oaksterdam Tattoo located at 815 Washington St.

Jack Bryson, the father of two of Oscar Grant's friends who were  with him the night he was killed, will speak at the reception, Jermany said.

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