Oscar Grant’s death proves that black life continues to be viewed as worthless in the eyes of the criminal justice system. Grant’s murderer, Officer Johannes Mehserle, has been released after only serving 11 months in prison for the heinous crime.
In 2009, Officer Mehserle and two other police were attempting to arrest Grant at a BART train station in Oakland, Calif. As Grant laid faced down on the pavement unarmed, Mehserle pulled out a gun and shot him in the back. Several witnesses recorded the incident on their cell phones and uploaded the disturbing clip on You Tube.
Thousands of protesters rallied in the Bay Area to bring national attention to Grant’s death, and investigation by BART proved that Mehserle and the other officers had a lapse in communication and leadership during the murder.
However, Mehserle was allowed to move the trial to Los Angeles and a jury, without any blacks, convicted him of involuntary manslaughter. The maximum amount of time that Mehserle could have received is 14 years, but Judge Robert Perry only sentenced him to two years with time served.
Mehserle’s killing of Grant and Judge Perry’s gentle sentence should be viewed as an act of terrorism on blacks in America. It sends a hateful message that reinforces the fact that police officers are allowed to kill unarmed blacks with impunity.
The number of unarmed blacks who are murdered by police is a national tragedy that proves that racial strife remains in a country that’s led by a black president. –amir shaw
A.R. Shaw is the sports and music director for rolling out magazine. He is also the author of the young adult novel, 23.