OAKLAND, Calif. – Mayor Ron Dellums urged residents to remain calm after protests turned violent in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a transit police officer.
What had started as a peaceful demonstration Wednesday over the Jan. 1 shooting of Oscar Grant escalated into trouble. At least three cars were set on fire, many other automobiles were damaged, and windows were broken on some downtown stores.
Police in riot gear threw tear gas to try to break up the demonstration. At least 14 people were arrested before the unrest ebbed overnight.
Grant, 22, was killed on a Bay Area Rapid Transit station platform after officers went there amid reports about groups of men fighting on a train. He was one of a small group of men taken off the train, and officers had made him lie face down at the time he was killed.
The shooting and events leading up to it were captured on amateur videos that have been broadcast on television.
Officer Johannes Mehserle resigned from the transit agency shortly before he was supposed to be interviewed by investigators Wednesday. Mehserle's attorney did not respond to calls for comment.
Grant's family has filed a $25 million wrongful death claim against BART and want prosecutors to file criminal charges against Mehserle.
"There were racial slurs directed at the young men," family attorney John Burris said Thursday. "But I have no evidence that this particular officer (Mehserle) directed racial slurs towards Oscar Grant."
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7 years 41 weeks ago, 11:26 AM