Protests turned violent Wednesday night in downtown Oakland, Calif. in the wake of the shooting death by a BART transit police officer of a 22-year-old man who lay on his chest on a station platform. Oscar Grant, detained at the Fruitvale station after a fight early New Year's Day, was shot in the back.
Of course, people caught it on various cell phone cams. Go here for the footage. You can see clearly the moment when the officer inexplicably unleashes a single round from his weapon, then looks up for a moment, stunned, as if thinking, 'Did I just do that?' The end of this report suggests the officer may have intended to fire his Taser and made a deadly mistake. Johannes Mehserle, a two-year veteran of the BART police, resigned before giving a statement to investigators. He's not been questioned, not been arrested, not been charged -- which, for the streets, is a recipe for disaster.
(* You have to keep in mind, Oakland is where the Blank Panther Party formed.)
The family of Oscar Grant is pleading for calm, but a protest on Thursday night turned ugly, too. The NYT summary of the situation is here. Voices from the Wednesday protest at the Fruitvale station -- before the havoc -- are here. Listen also to this piece at FSRN. You can expect this story to get way more heated. Follow local coverage at SFGate.
* Photo of Oscar Grant's mourners by the Chronicle.