Last night several hundred or as many as a few thousand protesters met in downtown Oakland first for a peaceful gathering and then as night fell a sometimes violent protest. Although it is hard to tell if the violent people were actually protesters or just opportunists looking for a chance to loot and vandalize.
As of last night police had arrested approximately 100 people for various offenses at the night time protest. A Footlocker shoe store was vandalized and looted. A bank window was broken. A jewelry store was broken into. There were several fires set and police say someone was setting off M1000 fireworks. And at least one police vehicle was vandalized.
All-in-all it wasn't as bad as it could have been. The temperature last night was only in the 60's. If this had happened on the east coast with temps soaring into the high 90's things could have been a lot worse since more people would have been out on the street.
Although the verdict was not what most people wanted it was a step in the right direction. This is the first time that I can remember a police officer actually being found guilty of doing harm to a Black person. The former police officer was taken into custody right after the verdict was read. He will be sentenced in August and faces anything from probation up to four years in prison.
One more note. I typically criticize local TV news. So I think I need to give the local TV stations here their due for doing a good job of covering the Oscar Grant murder from the beginning and for their coverage yesterday and last night. The coverage was respectful and often insightful. And it was very helpful in understanding what was going on.