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Will the Killer of Oscar Grant Go Free?
by REvolution (revolution.sfbureau [at]
Monday Jun 28th, 2010 2:53 PM
Whatever the Verdict: The Whole Damn System Is Guilty: There are plans for a convergence in downtown Oakland at 14th and Broadway at 6 pm on the day the verdict is announced. People need to be there and elsewhere to respond politically to the verdict.
The murder trial of ex-BART police officer Johannes Mehserle who shot and killed Oscar Grant on January 1, 2009 is proceeding swiftly. There may be a verdict as you read this. The point is: The killing of Oscar Grant, an unarmed 22-year-old Black man, was a cold-blooded murder.

Seven minutes after the first cop arrived at the Fruitvale Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train platform in Oakland, and began pulling Oscar Grant and his friends off the train, Johannes Mehserle shot Oscar point-blank in the back. Witnesses have testified they turned on cameras when they saw the police become increasingly aggressive. Jackie Bryson, a friend of Oscar’s who was near him on the platform, testified, “He [Mehserle] stands up, he says f– this, and he shoots.” Bryson said he looked at Oscar. “You see smoke coming out of his back. They roll him over, and there’s just a puddle of blood.”

The legal requirement for a murder conviction includes “intent,” and this is something Mehserle’s attorneys have tried to sow doubt over. The defense’s video expert, a former sheriff, spent hours on the witness stand re-interpreting the video frame by frame for the jury. He argued that in spite of what the video looks like, Oscar Grant and his friends were the aggressors—they were the ones who were trying to attack the cops. This “believe me, not the video” method was used in the trial that acquitted the cops who beat Rodney King in a famous case of videotaped police brutality in Los Angeles in 1992. When four cops were acquitted the city erupted in the famous L.A. Rebellion.

On Friday, June 25, the defense called Mehserle to the stand. The defense has tried to rebrand Mehserle, a 6-foot 4-inch, 240-pound cop who had towered over Oscar, as a boyish teddy bear, a real nice guy who was voted “most huggable” in high school. Mehserle, weeping on the witness stand, said he drew his gun by accident when he meant to use his taser.

The evidence shows that this is not true. A picture that Oscar took with his own cell phone camera shows that moments before Mehserle forced Oscar to the ground, he had a taser out pointed right at him. Mehserle had to reholster the taser before finally drawing his gun. Video shows Mehserle looking down at his gun before he pulled it out of its holster. It has been reported that “Mehserle never told other officers at the station that the shooting was an accident or that he had meant to grab his Taser” and that Mehserle’s first excuse for murdering Oscar Grant was “I thought he was going for a gun.” (“Dramatic Video of BART Shooting Released by Court,” LA Times LA Now blog, 6/24/10.)

Oscar’s mother dismissed Mehserle’s story: “Now he’s sitting on the stand crying? I’ve been crying every day. He knew the difference between his gun and his taser… he knew what he was doing. He killed my son with intent.”

Whatever the Verdict: The Whole Damn System Is Guilty

There are plans for a convergence in downtown Oakland at 14th and Broadway at 6 pm on the day the verdict is announced. People need to be there and elsewhere to respond politically to the verdict. And the LA Coalition for Justice for Oscar Grant is calling on people to gather at the courthouse (at Spring and Temple) on the day of the verdict. To be notified of the verdict, text “TRIAL” to 213-973-3434.

It was the outcry and protest of the people, in many different ways, including on January 7, 2009, that forced the system to arrest and bring murder charges against Mehserle. The law fundamentally enforces a system of inequality and exploitation, including the oppression and subjugation of Black people, and “legitimizes” violence the police use to maintain the whole set-up.

The authorities are sowing confusion and also trying to intimidate people from speaking out in the wake of the verdict. Police staged a highly publicized practice “riot” in the port of Oakland. They set up a hotline for “tips, rumors and information” relating to protests or “potential problems” after the verdict. Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums met with non-profit groups, urging them to inoculate their base against “outside agitators.”

But the truth is the people acted with conscience and vision when they said “we are all Oscar Grant.” Protest was needed and justified. It made a big difference. And the people’s verdict must also be heard.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by eastbayresident
Monday Jun 28th, 2010 8:47 PM
Bullshit. There is no excuse for a riot, which is exactly what you are planning.

Are you really so dense as not to see that everyone is aware of your plans?

The entire Bay Area is aware of your plans. That's why people are arming themselves with MACE, pepper spray, wrenches, bats, and anything else needed to protect themselves from the mob.

I hope you all stay home and write letters to the editor when the verdict comes down. If you choose to attempt riots, you will be met with resistance you never thought you would see.

We're tired of it, homie. You're not special and you don't get a free pass. Not anymore.
by Dan
Monday Jun 28th, 2010 9:48 PM
The foreshadowed violence (i.e. riot pre-planning) predicted here is a blow to aspirations of a open and equitable process in this case, and every cause that activist seek to amend through dialog, reason and focused action. I realize that Indymedia is orthodox in its radicalism and that moderation or compromise is not tolerated, but that is no excuse for threatening comments (that in the past have followed through on) to lay siege to a city with indiscriminate violence directed at a random targets simply because a tiny clique has ideas about how things do and should work. Moreover, violence is more a tool of the state than those wishing to reform it.

"A conflict between a violent and a nonviolent force is a moral argument. If the violent side can provoke the nonviolent side into violence, the violent side has won."

The question here is where is the nonviolent side if those claiming to work for justice are seen as raising the call to riot? The most effective route to lasting change is always and always will be holding people in positions of power accountable through open and democratic processes. It's slow and takes lots of work, but never alienates like a riot with its violent, anti-democratic means to a goal-less end.
by warpanda
Monday Jun 28th, 2010 10:58 PM
Will the protesters strike out at the police station and the courthouse and at city hall (the actual tools of oppression) or will they instead strike at "symbolic" targets, like small businesses and individuals cars? There are many who feel that the current slew of tactics is often merely property damage for it's own sake, as opposed to directed against those who wield the most power. It is the hope of this observer that mindful people will know the difference between making a statement, and using grief and frustration to act out against our interests.
by eugean17
Tuesday Jun 29th, 2010 12:43 AM
The need to protest racist injustice is real as is the anger of many people tired of the endless examples of police killing unarmed poor and minority people in this county. Two realities that have to be faced. As the armed defenders of the system of racist in-equality, let me call it capitalism, the police force will always be racist and have a license to kill. Second, the only power that can give the cops and their masters in city hall real pause is not simple mass protest or even riot, but protest organized around the power of the working classand its ability to go on strike. I will defend anyone protesting against police murder that is attacked or arrested by the police, but for there to be an effective struggle against police brutality requires the long hard struggle to mobilize the working class independent of the capitalist system and those political forces that seek to keep us tied to that system. That means any who defend capitalism or push the idea that it can be reformed or pressured to work in the interest of the exploited and oppressed. In the end only workers revolution will end police brutality.
by ?
Tuesday Jun 29th, 2010 7:12 AM
The most effective way to strike back at the capitalist class and its contrived legal system is with a general strike as the only thing the capitalists care about is their profits as maximization of profit is the primary goal and law of this bankrupt society. SO, ALL OF YOU WHO ARE INTENSELY FOLLOWING THIS LATEST FARCE OF THE RIGGED LEGAL SYSTEM, ARE YOU ORGANIZING THE WORKINGCLASS FOR A GENERAL STRIKE? If not, just stay home. We do not need riots, police state terror, and once again, absolutely nothing achieved. We need to put an end to this bankrupt social order and only a general strike to take state power can do that.
by a person
Tuesday Jun 29th, 2010 11:31 AM
Is it just me or was this pic made in a deliberate way to make this guy look like "one of the good guys?" He's wearing a nice V-neck sweater and is all clean shaven and nice-looking. This is hardly a mug-shot. Someone at least have a pic of him in uniform?
by Photo by Oscar Grant
Tuesday Jun 29th, 2010 11:51 AM
This is the photo of Johannes Mehserle taken by Oscar Grant with his cell phone moments before Mehserle shot him in the back as he lay face down on the BART platform, restrained by Officer Tony Pirone kneeling on his head and neck. Note the taser in Mehserle’s right hand. Mehserle had to re-holster his taser before pulling his gun and shooting Grant. – Photo: Oscar Grant via Los Angeles Superior Court
by A Rational minded person.
Tuesday Jun 29th, 2010 1:25 PM
We tell ourselves lies, because were afraid of the truth..

To be rational in this case involves a very un-bias approach to understanding both sides of the situation. Although this was very sad, and I feel for the family and friends involved on both sides.

The shooting of Mr. Grant was an incredible accident committed by an Officer who was in the middle of a potentially stressed situation. Watching the film from any angle will clearly show and support that. My prediction is that the verdict will result in a hung trail or manslaughter III, with time served.

I know for most Black people that what I’m about to say will be hard to swallow, but its true. We (Yes, I am a young Black from Oakland) need to take responsibility in our own actions. If we would take a moment to look at the actions that caused Oscar Grant to get shoot in the back, we would see that this situation could have been avoided.

But, no. We, Me, My, and I never take responsibility. And until we do this will continue to transpire.

In my Opinion if Oscar and who ever he was fighting with or against on the BART train would have acted as if they momma and daddy had raised them with some fucking sense
He would not have been shoot in the back by an officer who thought he pulled a taser gun in the mid’s of a situation that appeared to be growing wilder by the second.

Unfortunate, but true. People, We need to take responsibility of your own actions...

The truth we run from is that we are the blame. We are at fault.

( I know you dont want to hear this , and your calling me names like Uncle tom, .... But take a look at the truth, how hard it might be for you to see... and then call me names...)

We can only controll our actions, not anyone else's.
by cp
Tuesday Jun 29th, 2010 4:57 PM
If you are rational, could you reread your paragraph for consistency please? In your first sentences, you were blaming Grant, saying that his behavior caused Mehserle to shoot him. Next you say that an individual's actions are not controlled or influenced by others. So which is it?
by ann o
Tuesday Jun 29th, 2010 7:05 PM
I heard this from a reliable source. So he's just had two experiences of pulling it out of the holster and putting it back, but somehow he doesn't notice that the third time it's his pistol? Sounds like murder to me.
by Your Momma
Tuesday Jun 29th, 2010 8:29 PM
Don't tell me about how I raise my children!

I teach my kids the truth, that the enemy is the one in BLUE!

And I won't call you an 'Uncle Tom' even though that seems to be the race-baiting that you want...

Instead I will call you what you are, and that is a PIG!!!


by revolution2010
Wednesday Jun 30th, 2010 1:06 PM
There are more of us than there are of them.

Whatever happens, keep those words in mind. We're overdue... long overdue.
by -A-
Wednesday Jun 30th, 2010 4:34 PM
It's time for every victim of the system to unite against the system.

by 7mack11
Friday Jul 2nd, 2010 7:50 AM
We are outraged at the injustice that minorities, poor people, and those who are not in power face. The system has been created today so that they can continue to have power and use us as pawns in their game of business.
The police has always been their gang. When the people in power get scared they call their gang the cops.
We live in fear of those who are supposed to protect us. Sitting on the sidelines and waiting for something to happen is over. We need to take action and let them know that we are serious. This is our land as much as anyones. People have always had to fight for their rights. That is our responsibility, to fight for our rights.
by No Name This Time
Wednesday Jul 7th, 2010 6:14 PM
About a general strike.....

The original article was from the RCP. The RCP does not concern themselves with labor issues, although they should. Why that is, I'm not sure.