RALLY on Thursday (June 18, 09) at the arraignment of Johannes Mehserle!
Mehserle's attorney is trying to get a change of venue to move the trial out of Alameda County. We must continue fighting to win justice!
OSCAR GRANT, father of a baby girl
[Search this website for "oscar grant" and find more, also check out http://www.indybay.org/ for more]
VICTORY! Ex-BART Officer Johannes Mehserle Ordered to Stand Trial for Murder:
**LESSONS FROM THE STRUGGLE FOR JUSTICE FOR OSCAR GRANT***
RALLY at Johannes Mehserle's Arraignment Hearing Thursday, June 18*, 8:00 am
Rene C. Davidson Courthouse 12th St. and Fallon St., Oakland
"There's no doubt in my mind that Mr. Mehserle intended to shoot Oscar Grant with a gun and not a Taser." Alameda County Superior Judge C. Don Clay, June 4, 2009
This extraordinarily honest statement from a judge serves as a marker of what a youth-led mass civil rights movement pursuing a correct political method can achieve. June 18, 2009 will be the first time a California police officer will be arraigned for murder
for an on-duty killing in nearly 15 years. This stunning reversal in political policy is a victory for the black, Latina/o, and progressive anti-racist communities of Oakland and the Bay Area who have been fighting for justice for Oscar Grant--the 22-year-old black man who was
murdered while lying face-down by ex-BART Officer Johannes Mehserle on New Year's night.
This is wholly remarkable--police normally are never even charged with murder, even when they commit murders that are obvious and egregious.* For months, the political establishment of the Bay Area and California was committed to covering-up Mehserle's murder in order to protect the prerogative of police to harass, brutalize, and murder black and Latina/o youth in the future. Superior Judge C. Don Clay's decision on June 4th to order Mehserle to stand trial for murder marks a reversal of this political policy. It is crucial for the new civil rights movement to understand how we achieved this victory, if we are to get a murder conviction of Mehserle and win justice for Oscar Grant. Absorbing the political lessons from our struggle will enable us to replicate our victories, stop police murders in other communities, and strengthen and expand the new civil rights movement for equality.
A CONSPIRACY FOR INJUSTICE
On New Year's night, Oscar Grant and his friends, who were riding a BART train home after celebrating the New Year, were ordered off the train, brutalized, and forced to sit against a wall at Fruitvale BART station in Oakland. In response to this police abuse, several passengers on the BART train began to record the incident on their cell phones. As BART Officers Mehserle and Pirone pinned Grant face down on the ground and Pirone pressed his knee into Grant's neck, Officer Mehserle stood up, struggled several seconds to get his gun out of his
holster, and shot Grant in the back. Mehserle, Pirone, and the other BART officers did not prioritize Grant's health following the shooting.
Officer Domenici and other police confiscated cell phones from whomever they could. They alerted other BART officers to stand at stations along the train's route to confiscate cell phones from passengers leaving the train. The police cared so little for Grant's health that the news media arrived before an ambulance did. Grant died hours later.
What has occurred since has been a political struggle to determine whether the police will have the right and ability to target, harass, and brutalize the black, Latina/o, and other minority communities in Oakland and other cities, particularly youth. After Grant's murder, the police, prosecutor's office, and the powers that be in the Bay Area pursued a concerted policy of cover-up. In spite of videos clearly showing the murder that were seen by millions on television and on YouTube, the BART Police and Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff--who normally works on behalf of the police--foot-dragged with a bogus "investigation." Neither of them interrogated Mehserle, who soon resigned. Only after two weeks of angry protest by the people of Oakland demanding justice, including an uprising in downtown Oakland on January 7, did Orloff arrest Mehserle and charge him with murder.
Orloff's office proceeded to conduct a minimal prosecution, committed in reality to doing everything it could to assure Mehserle's acquittal. At a January 30 hearing to determine whether Mehserle would be released from jail, Orloff's lawyer did not give a word of opposition in court.
Orloff's office filed a brief describing the events of New Year's night that was virtually a mirror image of the defense's brief, relying only on police testimony. Orloff did not charge Pirone, Domenici, and the other police who clearly were accomplices to Grant's murder. Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums did not criticize the conduct of the investigation or the prosecution. He did not even make the ordinary, decent gesture of attending Grant's funeral. California Attorney General Jerry Brown, after making some initial statements, has not pursued any investigation. In March 2009, BART itself denied any wrongdoing, claiming that Grant resisted and that Mehserle shot him in the back out of fear for his life.