November 5 Mobilization: Justice for Oscar Grant!

[Friday, November 5, the day former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle will be sentenced for killing Oscar Grant III (after conviction for “involuntary manslaughter”) will bring the “Justice for Oscar Grant” Movement into the streets to remember and honor this 22-year old victim of police violence.  Oscar Grant was shot and killed in the back while laying on the ground, face down.  Millions wonder if a Black man killed by a policeman can ever win justice in America.  It is time to remember the details of the killing on January 1, 2009. And to note that no cop in American history has ever been tried and convicted for First Degree Murder.  What will it take to win justice?–Frontlines ed.]


Community Gathers in Response to Sentencing of Johannes Mehserle

(Oakland, CA)

WHAT: Rally and Gathering to honor Oscar Grant and Respond to the sentencing of Johannes Mehserle. Live Art, Spoken Word, Speakers, Music and an altar erected to honor the memory of Oscar.

WHEN: Friday, November 5, 2010.  Live Art from 2:00-4:00. Program from 4:00-7:00

WHERE: Oakland City Hall , 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza, Oakland , CA 94612 1

WHO: The ONYX Organizing Committee, the General Assembly for Justice for Oscar Grant and the New Years Movement

WHY: On Friday, November 5th, former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle will be sentenced for the shooting death of Oscar Grant, III.  Hundreds of concerned community members will gather together to respond to the sentencing and to honor Oscar.

“While many of us will undoubtedly be angry on that day, we will also take time out to honor the memory of Oscar Grant,” said Ann Weils, Attorney at Law. “Oscar ignited a movement across the entire nation and this movement will not stop with the sentencing of Johannes Mehserle.  We will continue to build and to organize until the State understands that we will not lie down silently as they murder the people in cold blood.”

Oscar was not the first young man of color to be killed unjustly by police and sadly he hasn’t been the last.  In the two years since Oscar was murdered, literally hundreds of young people of color have been murdered by law enforcement across the country.  Most recently, James Leonard Davis, an unarmed, eighteen year old child was shot in the back by police in Los Angeles.

“Where is the accountability?” asked Cat Brooks, Co-Chair of the ONYX Organizing Committee.  “The verdict was unjust so the sentence will be unjust. And we are angry about it.  We are tired of burying our children and we are tired of the open season on black men in this country by police who are then returned to their families with a slap on the wrist.”

From the start of this case Michael Raines has portrayed Johannes Mehserle as an innocent victim of circumstance and not a murderer.  Paying no attention to the racial slurs uttered before his death or the fact that Mehserle first held a Taser before putting it away and reaching for his gun.  What is more, Judge Perry refused to allow Mehserle’s record into evidence so his pattern of violently assaulting men of color that culminated into Oscar’s murder was never revealed to the jury. Adding insult to injury, KTVU of Oakland recently aired a special profiling Mehserle in efforts to gain sympathy for him before his sentencing.  These are signs of what many are anticipating: a lenient sentence for a murderer.

“Given the likely scenario that Mehserle will receive a light sentence, people are going to need a place to come together and be supported in their process,” said Rachel Jackson of the New Years Movement. “We hope people come and share their rage, frustration and pain and also their hope, ideas and passion for building a world where young men and women of color are no longer terrorized and assassinated by those who claim to be here to protect and serve.”


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