November 5: Killer Cop Mehserle Sentenced to Two Years in Prison

{This is the first post-sentencing story issued by FOX 2-KTVU, which has performed as the killer’s publicist, after the judge springs the killer with the smallest sentence he could give.  After the Grant family spoke out in outrage at the judge’s sentence, KTVU’s Rita Williams came back time and again to dismiss the family’s rage–continuing her promotion of this killer,  and her dehumanization of Oscar Grant and the Grant family.  We are waiting to hear the voices and the verdicts of the people.–ed]

1:22 pm PDT November 5, 2010

LOS ANGELES — A former BART police officer was sentenced to two years in prison Friday — but credited with nearly a year already served in jail — for the slaying for Oscar Grant III on a Bay Area transit system platform in January 2009.

In sentencing Grant, Judge Robert Perry also dismissed a defense motion for a new trial and tossed out a gun enhancement charge that could have added another four to 10 years to Johannes Mehserle’s sentence.

Mehserle’s involuntary manslaughter conviction had a sentencing range of two to four years. State law also allowed Perry consider granting Mehserle probation under unusual circumstances.

Perry credited Mehserle with time served — 292 days. So Mehserle would be serving a little over a year in prison. In issuing his decision, Perry recognized the community would be upset but said that he did his best and had “not asked for the case.” “Tensions ran high in the courtroom all morning long as a man was escorted out shortly after the motions debate began for an outburst. Perry told the jammed pack Los Angeles County Superior Court courtroom he would not tolerate any outbursts from the crowd. Continue reading

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.” Continue reading

Justice for Oscar Grant: Activists Denounce KTVU’s Mehserle Interview

KTVU-FOX has been running a series of  deceptive “humanizing” stories which aim to create sympathy for the cop Johannes Mehserle, who killed Oscar Grant on January 1, 2009.  Mehserle is being sentenced Friday, November 5, for the crime of killing Oscar.

Activists Denounce KTVU’s Mehserle Interview

By Shoshana Walter | | November 1, 2010

Protesters plan to stake out the offices of KTVU in Oakland until 5 p.m. Monday to denounce the television station’s “biased” coverage of Johannes Mehserle, the former BART police officer convicted of fatally shooting Oscar Grant III on New Year’s Day 2009.

The focus of the Coalition for Justice for Oscar Grant’s disdain is Mehserle’s first televised interview Thursday with KTVU reporter Rita Williams. Mehserle told Williams he wanted to do the interview to share his side of the story. “Over the last couple of years, I haven’t really had a chance to say anything. … I know for most people who don’t know me, I’ve been portrayed differently than who I actually am. This is more for the public to see who I am. I’m not asking any sympathy at all,” he said during the interview.

The group said they’d like Williams to be fired and also said they plan to file complaints with the Federal Communications Commission for the immediate suspension of KTVU’s license. The group released a statement from Rachel Jackson of the New Years Movement for Justice denouncing the Mehserle interview.

“Rita Williams’ recent ‘interview’ of Mehserle was not that of an authentic reporter, but a shockingly dishonest, untruthful PR stunt with the intention of creating a more sympathetic picture of Mehserle for his sentencing judge, Robert Perry, and KTVU’s viewers,” she said.

Monday, November 1 was the last day of politicking before the election.  Candidate for California Governor Jerry Brown had gathered his supporters near KTVU2, the Oakland, California FOX station. After protesting at KTVU, the Justice for Oscar Grant movement brought that message to the Jerry Brown rally.  “Following KTVU, many of us adjourned to a Jerry Brown/Get Out the Vote event taking place a couple of blocks away, also at Jack London Square. We dropped the KTVU Supports Killer Cops banner right in front of the media podium, much to the irritation of some belligerent dudes who seemed to think we had no right to do so and took it upon themselves to move us along. Some other belligerent dudes attempted to cover our banner with a big pro-Jerry Brown sign once we had moved to the sidelines…to which we responded with loud chants of ‘Justice for Oscar Grant!’

Oakland Rally Says: Justice For Oscar Grant! Jail Killer Cops!

Indybay, October 23, 2010

With Bay Area Ports Shut down, Longshore Workers and Oakland Community Rally to Say: JUSTICE FOR OSCAR GRANT! JAIL KILLER COPS!

Chris Kinder

Oakland was fired up today, and longshore workers led the way, as close to 1500 people came out in a drizzling rain in Oakland’s Frank Ogawa Plaza, in front of City Hall. After almost 2 years of rage among Oakland’s primarily black working class community over the unprovoked police murder of Oscar Grant, the rebellion continues, and shows no signs of abating.

Today the longshore workers of Local 10 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), together with their sister locals and supporting friends in the union movement, shut down all the ports of the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Area in support of Justice for Oscar Grant! Maximum Sentence for Johannes Mehserle! Local 10 executive board member Jack Heyman said, “The killings of black youth by the police have got to stop, now!”

Mehserle, the ex-BART cop who in 2009 shot Oscar Grant to death while he lay face down on a BART platform, faces sentencing in LA on November 5th. Since the maximum sentence for the absurdly light conviction of involuntary manslaughter (with gun enhancement) is 14 years in state prison, several speakers pointed out that this wasn’t enough. While some speakers said that any conviction of a white cop killing a black youth was a victory, and focused on calling on the judge, John Perry, to give the maximum sentence, jailing Mehserle and throwing away the key seemed to be the general sentiment.

As longshore workers came out for Oscar Grant, they remembered that workers shot down by police is nothing new for them. During the 1934 West Coast maritime strike–a pivotal labor struggle in the US–several strikers were shot and killed by police, including two in San Francisco. As Clarence Thomas, a Local 10 spokesman put it, longshore workers honored the memory of the two martyred strikers by moving the struggle forward. “This was the beginning of the ILWU,” he said. The workers’ answer to this police murder was the San Francisco General Strike. Similarly, the Oscar Grant movement has gone forward to create actions such as that held today. Continue reading

California transit cop found guilty of manslaughter–not murder

Demonstrators gather in Oakland, California July 8, 2010 to protest the verdict on the case of Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) officer Johannes Mehserle.

[It is important to note that in the history of the United States, many thousands of oppressed and exploited people have been maimed and killed by abusive police.  Yet over this long history, not even one policeman has been charged and convicted of murder, even when overwhelming documentation has been presented to prove the case.  The system has shown it is unwilling and unable to bring an end to these horrifying crimes it commits against the people.  What must the people do to succeed in their prolonged struggle for justice?-ed.]

By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES | Thu Jul 8, 2010 11:15pm EDT

A white former transit police officer was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter on Thursday in the videotaped shooting death of an unarmed black man last year that triggered riots in Oakland, California.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and other civic leaders had called for public restraint as police braced for renewed violence sparked by the Los Angeles jury’s verdict, but protests in Oakland after the decision were calm.

The panel of four men and eight women deliberated for about six hours over two days before reaching their decision, which indicated they essentially believed defense arguments that the shooting on a train platform in Oakland was a tragic accident rather than the intentional act of a rogue cop.

The defendant in the racially charged trial, Johannes Mehserle, 28, testified that he mistakenly drew his gun instead of his electric Taser and shot Oscar Grant, 22, while trying to subdue him during a confrontation on New Year’s Day 2009. Continue reading

Oscar Grant Trial: Chronicle of a Riot Foretold


The OPD has a new "tip" line to report rebellious actions; this altered sign is a response

Bring the Ruckus

by George Ciccariello-Maher

OAKLAND–As the trial of former transit cop Johannes Mehserle for the murder of Oscar Grant rushes at breakneck speed toward its conclusion, spurred by the insistence of Judge Robert Perry and political imperative, ominous clouds of injustice begin to crowd the political horizon in anticipation of a verdict, which could come as soon as this week. But while it is this injustice that we should most fear, too many are focusing their fear and the fear of others on the possibility of a repeat of last year’s street rebellions should Mehserle be acquitted or convicted of a lesser charge.

What this view neglects is one basic fact, indeed the most basic fact regarding the Oakland rebellions: that it was only as a result of those rebellions of January 2009 and the fear that they might be repeated that Mehserle was even arrested and put on trial in the first place. Those rebellions were, in fact, the basic precondition for this limited form of “justice” to even be possible. Possible, yes, but far from guaranteed. And yet those who opposed the rebellions from the very beginning, denouncing them with delusions of “outside agitators” as irrational and desperate outbursts–in short, as “riots”–are busily trotting out the same discredited lines as always.

Different Trials, Different Verdicts

Of course, the relative brevity of the Mehserle trial should not fool us. While The People v. Johannes Mehserle has only been underway for a few short days, two other trials have been proceeding informally for 18 months now: The People v. The State and The State v. Oscar Grant. Continue reading