BART cop gets hand smack for point-blank murder
Via NRT, the Oakland transit cop who shot someone on the subway. Just got off with involuntary manslaughter on account of him and the jury being not black and the victim being black - according to reports.
This view looks to be taken from someone standing inside a train carriage looking across the platform:
It's the ultimate police harassment. He just suddenly pulls out his gun and shoots him in the back. Extraordinary. No-one can quite believe it when the shot goes off. And 2-4 years is all the cop will be facing.
View from an Oakland resident:
And the views from the street at the protest.
Oakland police response:A not so quiet quiet before the storm.
Some streets in Oakland had been deserted after workers went home early in anticipation of possible riots.
The anger is directed at the involuntary manslaughter conviction — the lowest offense Mehserle faced. The charge carries a sentence of two to four years, although the judge could add 10 more years because a gun was used in the killing.
"My son was murdered! He was murdered! He was murdered," said Grant's mother, Wanda Johnson, who earlier stared at jurors when the verdict was read.
One female juror wiped tears with a tissue when the panel was polled on its decision.
The verdict followed a three-week trial in which prosecutors played videos by bystanders, and witnesses recounted hearing the frightening gunshot that killed Grant.
Mehserle, 28, testified that he struggled with Grant and saw him digging in his pocket as officers responded to reports of a fight at a train station. Fearing Grant may have a weapon, Mehserle said he decided to shock Grant with his Taser but pulled his .40-caliber handgun instead.
Grant has become a martyr of sorts in a city where more than a third of residents are black. His omnipresent image on buildings and storefront windows arguably rivals that of slain hometown rapper Tupac Shakur.
The trial was moved from Alameda County to Los Angeles because of racial tension and extensive media coverage in Oakland.
The jury had a choice between murder and lesser charges of voluntary and involuntary manslaughter. The jury found that Mehserle didn't mean to kill Grant, but that his behavior was still so negligent that it was criminal.
"It's not real, it's not real. Where's the justice? He was killed in cold blood," 23-year-old Amber Royal of Oakland said as a crowd near City Hall moaned and cursed when they heard the verdict. A dozen people gathered in a semicircle to pray.
Grant family attorney John Burris said they were "extremely disappointed" with the verdict.
"This verdict is not a true representation of what happened to Oscar Grant. This was not an involuntary manslaughter case," Burris said.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued a statement urging Californians to remain calm and not resort to violence. Schwarzenegger said he had informed Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums the state was well prepared to assist in maintaining order.
The jury included eight women and four men. None listed their race as black. Seven said they were white, three were Latino, and one was Asian-Pacific. One declined to state their race.
Almost as bad as Australia in many ways. But at least in America someone gets charged. It seems in Australia the public prosecutors factor in that an all-white jury will never convict a white man for killing a black man so they don't bother even starting the criminal process.