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Still No Justice For Oscar Grant

Submitted by on November 6, 2010 – 3:02 pm8 Comments

One would think that by now the community would see an inkling of justice in the case of Oscar Grant. After being fatally shot in the back by a BART officer on New Year’s Day in Oakland back in 2009, the community has been begging for the swift hand of justice to deal the  Bay Area Rapid Transit officer responsible for the shooting a mighty blow. When the case went to trial, officer Johannes Mehserle was hit with Involuntary Manslaughter. The city of Oakland was upset and had every right to be.

When the sentencing for Mehserle took place in a California court, many thought the sentencing judge would do more than the minimum when it came to jail time. But once again, the system let us down as Mehserle was handed a sentence of two years jail time with credit for 146 days served and 146 days good behavior. Which, in essence, means the man responsible for shooting another man in the back while he lay face down will get away with murder.

A conviction for involuntary manslaughter normally carries a four-year sentence, but the judge had the option of adding an “enhancement” that could have made the sentence 14 years because a firearm was used in commission of a crime.

Mehserle, who was on duty as a Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer when the shooting occurred, said at the trial that he intended to draw and fire his Taser rather than his gun. The jury acquitted him of the more serious charges of second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter.

To put this in perspective, Johannes Mehserle will do about as much time as T.I., who had guns but never shot a single person. Where exactly is the justice in that? Let’s just say T.I. shot someone in self defense. I’m quite sure he would do more time than Mehserle. It’s a sad day for minorities everywhere to know their lives are only worth a year in prison just as long as the man killing them in a police officer.

And now the law has the nerve to tell the people to remain calm? Do they realize the damage that’s been done? The relationship between people of color and the police will forever be fractured. The people of Oakland (and everywhere else) have every right to protest. If a window gets broken, trust me, it’s a whole lot better than shooting an unarmed man in the back.

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