LOS ANGELES, Calif.–In July, a Los Angeles jury made up of ruled that former BART officer Johannes Mehserle, who was caught on several camera phones and facility cameras shooting unarmed 22-year-old Oscar Grant on an Oakland BART platform, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
When the news hit the public, Oscar Grant supporters were outraged. On Oct. 23 at the Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland, protesters will gather at noon in Oakland to demand justice and jail time for criminal officers.
Jack Heyman, executive board member of The International Longshore and Warehouse Union, is organizing the protest. He says the community is dissatisfied with the ruling against Mehserle.
“We have two demands–justice for Oscar Grant and jail for killer cops,” Heyman said. “I think the labor community and the Black and Brown community are dissatisfied with the verdict. We are going to demonstrate very militantly, but peacefully.”
He said that it is unfair that police officers who, are guilty of murder get off with little to no time.
He said that just like any other citizen who commits a crime, officers need to pay the same price.
“We’d like to see the maximum sentence, which is 14 years. What we are afraid of is that, if he is not given a maximum penalty, this is going to give . . . the green light for police brutality,” he added.
Mehserle will be sentenced on Nov. 5.
Followers of the Mehserle trial were, in fact, outraged not only because the jury contained no Black members, but also had a choice of deciding if Mehserle was guilty of murder or a lesser charge, which was involuntary manslaughter. Many form the community wanted a murder conviction. Instead, the jury ruled that the armed, on-duty BART officer did not purposefully kill unarmed, cooperative, detained Oscar Grant as he was face down on the BART platform.
Mehserle’s defense claimed he mistook his gun for his taser and lacked adequate taser training.