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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Violent protests erupted in Oakland with stores damaged and dozens arrested after a Los Angeles jury convicted a white former transit officer of involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man.
Prosecutors had wanted Johannes Mehserle convicted of murdering Oscar Grant. So Thursday's lesser verdict raised concerns of a repeat of the rioting that followed the shooting on New Year's Day in 2009 on an Oakland train platform. The trial was moved to Los Angeles following the riots.
The verdict also prompted an announcement by Justice Department officials that they would look into whether the case warrants federal prosecution.
Police in riot gear Thursday had maintained a watchful eye over a crowd of protesters as emotions ran high with about 500 people marching in the street. Members of a crowd near City Hall moaned and cursed when they heard the verdict.
Sporadic violence later broke out and police said they made 83 arrests throughout the night for violations that included failure to disperse, vandalism and assaulting a police officer.
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