Alameda police to assist Oakland post-BART cop verdict
When a Los Angeles jury resumes deliberations Tuesday morning over whether to convict ex-BART cop Johannes Mehserle of murder for killing an unarmed man, Oscar Grant, Alameda police will be at the ready. The department is sending a 16-man team to Oakland to help police there deal with the violence they fear will follow the verdict.
Lt. Dave Boersma will head the team, one of several Oakland is working with to handle anticipated post-verdict violence. He said officers here have been engaged with Oakland in planning the response, and they have taken refresher courses in riot control to prepare.
Boersma said every police agency in Alameda County and the California Highway Patrol has been called in to help out, and police agencies from Napa to San Jose have been asked to be available in case the violence is worse than expected.
He said that the worst violence could last for three to four days after the verdict. All told, it could last for as much as 30 days. Protests that followed Grant’s shooting turned violent, with car and shop windows smashed and cars and trash bins set on fire and officers assaulted by bottle-wielding protesters. Community leaders in Oakland have appealed for calm.
“We’ll be there as long as it takes,” he said.
As a result of the mutual aid call, the rest of the department will be working continuous, 12-hour shifts. Police had been ready for a verdict as early as Friday afternoon, but the jury retired without returning one.
The team will include Boersma, a sergeant and 14 Alameda officers.