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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: California | East Bay | Police State and Prisons | Racial Justice
Too Late for Justice in the Mehserle Trial
As the city of Oakland prepares for the Grant trial verdict, it may be important to ask a bigger question: is it too late for justice?
As the city of Oakland prepares for the Grant trial verdict in which former Oakland BART cop, Johannes Mehserle, is on trial for murder in the 2009 New Year’s morning shooting of Oscar Grant, it may be important to ask a bigger question: is it too late for justice?
It is impossible to not notice that there is an air of apprehension throughout the Town. From Downtown to the Fruitvale, stores have been boarded up in preparation for rebellions, civil disobedience, and property destruction that nobody is quite sure if is coming.
Reports have focused on the protests and property destruction that took place in Oakland only a few days after Grant’s death. Back then, in January of 2009, after video of the shooting circulated widely, thousands of people took to the streets and over a hundred were arrested. In anticipation, comparisons to the Rodney King trial of 1992 in which four white cops were acquitted of a brutal beating of King have been made. As some have ominously pointed out, in that case King was only beaten whereas Johannes Mehserle killed Oscar Grant, so the logic dictates, the rebellions and backlash against police may be more severe. One thing is for sure, as officials seek to prevent the disruptions of 2009, the police crackdown will undoubtedly be harsh. As Jesse Strauss writes, reports have swirled for days of a preëmptive police state in Oakland. And walking down the street in downtown sure is eerie: [see our pics].
It is hard to be optimistic about the potential verdict in a trial of a white cop for the killing of a black man, by a jury with no black jurors.
A helpful break-down of the Mehserle verdict options
If history has shown anything, it is that cops get off free. Understandably much of the community hopes that Mehserle is convicted of the highest crime he is eligible for: second-degree murder. Such a verdict would mean that [finish reading...]