East Bay News

BART shooting leads to plea for mutual aid

Friday, January 09, 2009
  Scattered vandalism and a short protest end in a few arrests on Thursday night. UCSFs chair of the Dept. of Social and Behavioral Sciences speaks about youth violence.     vandalism-010809-600

Fears of more rioting in Oakland over the BART police shooting, prompt a major Bay Area business group to issue a warning that the situation "threatens to spiral desperately out of control."

Now, business leaders are asking for reinforcements. They are pleading for more help, including more cops from other cities, to help keep the peace on the streets of Oakland.

The anger over the death of Oscar Grant at the hands of a BART police officer is unrelenting, more than a week after he was shot.

BART's general manager, Dorothy Dugger, held a news conference late Friday afternoon, responding to a plea by the Bay Area Council to police and sheriffs in the nine biggest cities in the Bay Area. This came in the wake of Wednesday's violent demonstrations.

They want them to assist Oakland police in the event of more violent demonstrations. They want this mutual aid plan to be implemented as early as next week when they fear there may be more violent demonstrations.

"We think this is a situation where the public demands and deserves protection and the people of Oakland don't want to see their city destroyed over this. They have a right to respect that protection. And if it needs to come from their neighbors to the north, the south and the east and the west, well by all means that should happen," said Jim Wunderman with the Bay Area Council.

"This is the kind of collaboration and professional working together that typifies the chiefs of police in the Bay Area and I think it sounds like an idea well worth exploring," said Dugger.

Dugger also addressed other issues at the news conference. She said she wants the BART investigation to be over in a week and that BART investigators have already interviewed all of the officers who were on the platform and the witnesses, in addition to seeing the video evidence. She also called for a meeting on Monday to arrange the formation of the oversight committee.

About a half-dozen protesters who were arrested Wednesday night were arraigned at the Alameda County Courthouse on Friday, some for misdemeanors and some for felonies.

One of those arraigned was 20-year-old Andrew Louis who was charged with felony vandalism. He said he feels his actions were justified.

"(He) got his life took, he can never fight again. I feel I have to fight for him," said Louis.

Louis says windows can be replaced but not the life of Oscar Grant.

Of the 105 people arrested Wednesday night, 21 of them are still in custody, including one person charged with arson and one with felony gun possession.

Nearly 70 percent of those arrested were not Oakland residents.

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