The following article is from Fight Back! News:
Los Angeles, CA – Over a year ago, on New Year’s Day 2009, Oscar Grant, a young African-American man with a four-year old daughter, was murdered by a police officer. He was shot in the back as he lay on his chest on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) platform in Oakland, California.
Today, a verdict was finally reached. The jury, which included zero African-Americans, found the white officer, Johannes Mehserle, guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Instead of voluntary manslaughter, or second-degree murder – two conviction options presented to the jury – Mehserle gets the same conviction you would get if you accidentally hit someone with your car. This is not a just verdict for the cold-blooded shooting of an unarmed man.
The shooting of Grant was captured on cell phone cameras and circulated on the internet and the footages clearly show Grant face down on the platform, not resisting arrest, posing no threat. Officer Mehserle claimed throughout his trial that he accidentally mistook his pistol for his taser.
Protests erupted in Oakland when news of Grant’s death spread. Oscar Grant is a symbol for the oppression of African-Americans and the struggle to resist that oppression. Protests spread again as people who were hoping for justice heard that Mehserle got off the hook.
The officer’s defense tried to paint the murder as a simple accident, an honest mistake. But this is only one tragic example out of many of police harassment and brutality towards African-Americans. The facts are that a white cop pulled a gun on an unarmed black man – a train passenger lying on his chest on the train platform in the early morning hours. The cold hard facts are that even in the year 2010, with an African-American president in the White House, the oppression against the African-American community continues. As do the injustices. Those who hoped there would be justice for Oscar Grant are both saddened and outraged by the verdict.