A jury of Johannes Mehserle’s peers has declared him guilty in the death of Oscar Grant — but it comes with a very important caveat: “involuntary manslaughter.”
By all accounts this is a tremendous win for Mehserle, given that the maximum sentence is a mere fourteen years.
AlterNet readers will remember that Mehserle is the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) cop who shot transit rider and Oakland resident Oscar Grant execution-style on New Years Eve 2009. The atrocious crime was caught on video by a BART rider and the fall-out centered around issues like police brutality and race-baiting.
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The jury — which comprised precisely zero African-Americans — was in Los Angeles. The trial was actually moved from the Bay Area to L.A. because of the immense publicity surrounding the case. And L.A. has a track record of siding with cops — the last time one was found guilty of murder was in 1983.
Given the disservice to justice, riots are expected in downtown Oakland tonight although Oscar Grant’s family had asked for peace, regardless of the outcome. (Already, “Rodney King” is a trending topic on Twitter.)