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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Police State and Prisons | Racial Justice
Mehserle Release Press Conference - We Will Not Shut Up, We Will Not Forget, 6/1/11: video, audio, photos
A press conference was held on June 1st to address the planned community response to the impending release from jail of Johannes Mehserle. Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter -- rather than murder as he was originally charged -- for killing Oscar Grant by shooting him in the back in front of hundreds of witnesses on January 1st, 2009. Mehserle is expected to be released after serving less than one year of a two-year sentence. The date of Mehserle's release is being kept from the public. Regardless of the exact date, a press conference and rally have been called for the Fruitvale BART station at 3pm on the day of Mehserle's release, to be followed directly by a rally at 5pm at 14th and Broadway in Oakland.
According to legal experts, under PC 4019 (as amended Jan 2010) Mehserle should have been given one for one credit for time in custody before his conviction. At his sentencing, Superior Court Judge Robert Perry indicated that he did 146 actual days in custody and gave him credit for 292. He was sentenced on Nov. 5th to two years (730 days) in custody. With his pre-conviction credits, he had 438 days left to serve. Under PC 2933(b) he should also get one for one credit for time served after sentencing. That left 219 actual days left to serve- again assuming he gets the good time credit. The 219th day from Nov 5th is approximately June 15.
Oscar Grant's uncle Cephus Johnson said at the press conference that he expects Mehserle to be released on June 12th. Mehserle has a court hearing in Los Angeles County Superior Court scheduled for June 13th.
Also speaking at the press conference were Cat Brooks, Rachel Jackson, Mario Hankton, Jack Bryson, Kim Rohrbach, and Minister Keith Muhammad. Addressed were the many injustices that have unfolded since the murder of Oscar Grant, from all but one of the other BART officers on the platform when Oscar Grant was shot being reinstated with back pay, to Mehserle's trial being moved out of Oakland and not having a single African American on the jury, to the apparent open season on youth of color by East Bay police forces since Mehserle was convicted of the lowest charge he could have been on July 8th, 2010, and the minimum sentence that was then handed down by Judge Perry on November 5th, 2010. Several unarmed young men have been killed by police in the East Bay since late last year.
At the conclusion of the press conference, Cat Brooks delivered this declaration: Two essential messages we want to be sure get out today. One, is to the community of Oakland and the Bay Area, and that is to wake up, to stay alert. They are not going to tell us, just like they didn't tell us about the verdict and they didn't tell us about the sentencing, and we had to play this guessing game in order to organize, and their intention in that was to keep us from organizing and to keep us from getting in the streets. But, as we have proved time and time again since 2009, you can not stop us from mobilizing, you can not stop us from organizing. We will not sit down, we will not shut up, we will not forget. And so you can play your games with the release date, you can play your games, but we are ready and we will act on that day. And so our call to the Oakland community is get in tune with us on facebook, there is a facebook event page, follow that event page, we will have up to date minute by minute information, and when he is released we will find out, we will let you know, and we will be here at 3 o'clock at Fruitvale BART and then we will at 5 o'clock on the corner of 14th & Broadway, and everybody come out, everybody come out and stand up and protest this injustice. The second message that we want to get out today is to Oakland, is to BART, is to OPD, is to the justice systems, we will not forget, we will never forget what you did to Oscar Grant, we will never forget what you did to Derrick Jones, we will never forget what you've done to countless unarmed young Black and Brown men, and we have said enough is enough, and we will continue to take to the streets, take over the streets, until it stops.
At that point, community activists divided into several groups to do public outreach by handing out fliers about Mehserle's release throughout the Fruitvale district and on BART trains and stations in the East Bay.
Press Release: Oakland Community Responds To Possible Release Of Johannes Mehserle
When Mehserle Gets Out of Jail!!! Take a Stand!!