Nothing inflames anger like perceived or real injustice. Throw in the tinder of a deteriorating economy in which millions of people are losing their homes and their jobs, and the situation can become extremely ignitable.
This was the firebox that the city of Oakland found itself in on July 8. Around 2:30 p.m., word leaked that the verdict in the Johannes Mehserle murder trial would be read at 4 p.m. The news set off a mass exodus of residents—just short of a panic.