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From Revolution newspaper:
Token Sentence for Oscar Grant's Killer
Anger in the Streets of Oakland
Johannes Mehserle, a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) cop, shot and killed Oscar Grant while Oscar lay face down on the BART platform on New Year's Day, 2009. After a series of determined protests in the Bay Area and beyond, Mehserle was charged, and later convicted—but only for "involuntary manslaughter."
On Friday, November 5, Mehserle was sentenced in Los Angeles. He was given two years in prison with credit for time served, the lightest possible sentence he could have received. The judge overturned the jury's decision to convict Mehserle on a separate charge of intentionally firing a gun, which meant he could give Mehserle the minimum punishment. First, after the people were told to trust the courts to get justice for Oscar Grant, Mehserle was convicted only for involuntary manslaughter rather than second-degree murder. Then on top of that, one of the only two charges that Mehserle was convicted on has been tossed out! The immediate reaction by many was shock, but not necessarily surprise. This verdict showed again that there is great injustice built into this system.
As the word of the slap-on-the-wrist sentence meted out to Mehserle circulated among people in downtown Oakland, a crowd started forming for an Oscar Grant memorial where an altar to his memory was being created by young activists and artists.
This was not a gathering to mourn, but to voice outrage against the sentence, and with determination to continue to resist. People came together at the spot of the powerful January 2009 rebellion of thousands of youth that, along with other protests, forced the system to arrest Mehserle in the first place. And now, nearly two years later, the sentence—two years minus 290 days already served—is yet another reminder that the system is set up to protect the police and those they serve, not the people. In the face of hundreds of Oakland police, and massive reinforcements from Alameda County and other cities, the rally grew from a couple hundred youth to over 500 people, streaming in from all over Oakland and adjacent cities. Four hours later nearly 200 took the streets, marching toward the Fruitvale BART station where Oscar was killed. When the march entered a proletarian section of the city, the police brought in a huge force to encircle the march, would not let anyone leave, and made mass arrests.