Oakland Protests Over Police Shooting Sentence

Photo Courtesy - KGO-TV San Francisco (OAKLAND, Calif.) -- Protests erupted in Oakland Friday night after the former Bay-area transit officer convicted of fatally shooting an unarmed man was sentenced in a Los Angeles courtroom to two years in prison.

The sentence by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Perry was significantly less than the possible 14-year maximum term for Johannes Mehserle.  Perry had wide discretion when sentencing the 28-year-old Mehserle.  Mehserle was given 292 days' credit for time served.

Mehserle was convicted of fatally shooting Oscar Grant, 22, early New Year's Day in 2009 at a train station in Oakland. The incident was captured on video. Mehserle claimed that he meant to grab his Taser while trying to subdue Grant, but mistakenly grabbed his gun.

The case was moved to L.A. because of unrest over the shooting. Violent protests erupted in Oakland after Mehserle's verdict of guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Grant's relatives and others said they were disappointed, saying Grant's shooting was murder.

In Oakland Friday, the anger forced businesses to scramble to cover up their windows with boards.  There was a heavy police presence throughout downtown Oakland Friday evening.

As night fell in Oakland, a sanctioned march grew unruly as some protesters smashed business windows, damaged cars and pulled down a fence surrounding a construction site. More than 100 protesters were arrested, though the atmosphere was calmer than the previous protest in July.

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