A protest Thursday aimed at disrupting BART service at the Fruitvale station ended nearly without incident and minimal interruptions to commuters.
The demonstration began shortly before 4 p.m. when several dozen protesters converged at the entrance to the Fruitvale BART station in an attempt to derail commuter service. Carrying signs and chanting, "BART's not safe," the activists did not physically blocked riders from access trains. But they held a long banner in front of the turnstiles reading, "We are all Oscar Grant," a common refrain among protesters since Jan. 7, when demonstrations over the Jan. 1 shooting of Grant by a BART officer at the Fruitvale station broke out.
This is at least the third protestheld since the former officer, Johannes Mehserle, was charged in January with Grant's killing.
Protest organizers announced last week that they would shut down the station during rush hour Thursday unless officials met their ultimatum for increased accountability and other demands.
The announcement did not deter commuters. "I think a horrible thing happened and protests are part of that," said Cynthia Ashton, who was on her way to catch a Pittsburg-Bay Point-bound train.
"Failed," was the how Rob Ready, who arrived from San Francisco, characterized the threatened disruption.
Thursday evening commuters arriving at the station entered and exited from the back of the station, while some passengers coming into the
But a line of 15 BART police in helmets with shields stood behind the turnstiles, while other officers patrolled the platforms. About two dozen Oakland police officers were on hand prepared to back up BART police if necessary.
Oakland Police detained one man reportedly for not wearing a bicycle helmet but released him soon afterward.
Meanwhile, Mehserle is out on $3 million bail. He is required to appear in court on March 23. Another officer, Tony Peroni, who appeared to punch Grant shortly before the unarmed man was shot by Mehserle, has not been arrested.
"We want Peroni arrested and charged — now," said Keba Konte, owner of the Guerilla Café in Berkeley who lives near the Fruitvale station. He was at the protest because, he said, "I'm holding BART police accountable."
The demonstration ended at 6 p.m. Some of the protesters departed by BART train from the station.
Reach Angela Woodall at 510-208-6413 or at email@example.com.