RACE RELATIONS

Oakland Riots Over Subway Shooting Verdict

Hundreds of people took to the streets of downtown Oakland, CA, angry at the verdict in the case of Johannes Mehserle, a white police officer who shot an unarmed black man, 22-year-old Oscar Grant, on Jan. 1, 2009. The jury found Mehserle guilty of involuntary manslaughter, which carries a maximum four-year prison sentence under California law. Some 800 people, protesting what they believe is a light punishment, spilled into the streets, breaking shop windows as police with gas masks attempted to quell the disorder. Police said that 50 arrests had been made, and that the number was expected to double. Oakland's Mayor Ron Dellums said, "People were preparing for everything to explode, but I am extremely happy that so far it has not, and I hope that it doesn't...We're not going to tear our own community apart, because we've got issues that we've got to deal with."