Originally published on Youthradio.org, the premier source for youth generated news throughout the globe.
By Youth Radio Editor
DOWNTOWN OAKLAND- Dismayed and angry protesters took to the streets in downtown Oakland Thursday after Johannes Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Oscar Grant.
Around 9:30, several hundred protesters and dozens of SWAT police were seen facing off at 17th and Broadway, with protesters throwing objects at police, and officers beating protesters with batons. About an hour earlier, at 14th and Franklin, reporters had to run from a scene after hearing "Officer down!" yelled through a megaphone, and crowds rushing north on Franklin Street.
Twenty five-year-old Rachel Durum of Oakland said that the message the verdict conveyed was "they can kill us and it's okay. It's saying our lives aren't as important as Mehserle's life, or someone who looks like Mehserle, or someone from the same economic class as Mehserle. What outrages me is people are saying no violence, and I do not want violence either, but what I see is people are equating damage to property as violence. A broken window, that's not a human life. That's not violence. A building does not bleed. That's not violence, that's destruction of property...When a life, the value of a life is taken away, and the value is taken so low that a man can kill another man when he's handcuffed on his back and get away with that, it says we're worthless."
Other comments from protesters:
"They're gonna tear this city up. Go tear a BART station up, that's what you do. Blow it up to the ground... That's bullshit. How do you think that man's family feel right now? How do people right here feel right now. That is no justice. They say that's justice?... Justice would have been first degree murder. We would have settled for second degree. But that? That means he ain't even going to go to prison at all."
Rick Anderson: "I told them five years ago, take the transit police guns...how are you going to pull out a gun, somebody got their neck pinned down with a knee on it... Your taser's on your knee man, come on...he saw the gun, he saw it, and everybody saw it. They just want to see, look at all the blacks tearing up the cities...The media needs to start talking to real people. They don't need guns on trains. It aint gonna help shit. If they see you, they want to shoot you, they gonna shoot you and say, aw, he was acting weird. I'm reaching for my wallet and they shoot me?"
"I almost don't know how to feel, I can't believe they'd put that type of value on a man's life. Everybody makes mistakes, and I'm not expecting Mehserle to be a perfect human being, but just to be held to the same standards I'm held to. If he's here to protect and serve me, be held to the same standards I'm held to. That was murder to me. I'm outraged right now, outraged...I don't know how Oakland moves forward, aint no telling where it's gonna go. Only way Oakland's gonna go forward is people coming together and let people know, we do not expect this. People coming together, every color, black, brown, white, yellow, green. And let them know this is unacceptable, period. Because if we don't, it's going continue to go on like it's been going on throughout our whole history."
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