BART protest damage exaggerated

Last week's uprising (see: riots) in response to the murder of Oscar Grant by a BART police officer was not as "violent" as previously reported.

The Associated Press reports:

  • Oakland officials say the number of businesses damaged in last week's protest of an officer-involved shooting of an unarmed black man is much lower than initially estimated.

    Officials originally said as many as 300 businesses were damaged when a peaceful demonstration over the New Year's Day death of 22-year-old Oscar Grant turned violent. Some were arrested for various acts of vandalism, including breaking windows and setting fires.

    Now officials say less than 45 businesses suffered damage.

    Gregory Hunter, Oakland's deputy director of Economic Development and Redevelopment, says his office has been in contact with 34 businesses so far. He says only a few more may still come forward.

    Hunter cites confusion in the immediate aftermath of the demonstration and says it was "a bad number to put out there."

Former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle, who resigned from the force after refusing to cooperate with investigators, has yet to be charged for murdering Grant. The shooting was captured on cell phone video.

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