Police blame outsiders for Oakland unrest

July 9, 2010 1:02:34 PM PDT
Oakland residents are cleaning up the businesses that were vandalized after peaceful protests turned violent last night in the hours after former BART officer Johannes Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Oscar Grant.

Vandals roamed the streets in spite of a heavy police presence, looting and setting trash cans on fire.

Police arrested 78 people, but of those only 19 were Oakland residents.

Work has been going on all morning at the Bank of the West on Broadway and 21st Street, where workers have been power washing graffiti of the walls and covering broken windows with plywood. It is a scene being repeated at more than a dozen businesses all over downtown Oakland as the city recovers from last night's protests and looting.

Crews were cleaning up the broken glass outside the Foot Locker 14th Street and Broadway. Inside, the floor was littered with shoes and broken glass -- the result of Thursday night's looters.

Long-time Oakland residents hated to see what unfolded in their community.

"The only thing that had me was, why tear up your own stuff?" Milbert Middlebrooks said. "We live here ion Oakland too and I understand the frustration that's going on with the youth and everything, but you don't have to tear up your own stuff."

Police blame most of the trouble on outside anarchists, who they say just wanted to create mayhem.

"It was a little upsetting because a lot of the perpetrators were not from Oakland," resident Kwesi Hutchful said. "They were anarchists who were simply unhappy with the system and decided that Oakland would be a good reason to express their rage."

Graffiti on buildings in Oakland shows people's displeasure with police and the involuntary manslaughter verdict. The city of Oakland has set up a resource page on its website where business owners can find information on how to file claims and get help from the city.