Oscar Grant case: No justice, no peace!
Published Jul 11, 2010 11:07 AM
There was justifiable outrage on
July 9 when a Los Angeles jury, stripped of all its potential African-American
jurors, found white former Bay Area Rapid Transit cop Johannes Mehserle guilty
of only the lightest of the charges against him — that of involuntary
manslaughter. That's the charge used when an intoxicated person
accidentally kills someone with his/her car, for example.
But Mehserle hadn't been in an
accident. He had shot and killed young African-American Oscar Grant while
kneeling on Grant’s back in a BART station in Oakland, Calif.
A conviction of a white cop for
killing a Black youth is rare enough in the still very racist U.S. capitalist
society. As a background article by Larry Hales in Workers World two weeks ago
made clear, “Were it not for the movement that sprang up after the
ruthless killing of the 22-year-old Grant, which included a mini rebellion,
Mehserle would doubtless have been allowed to go free with no charges at all.
That has been the racist tradition regarding many other cops who have killed
oppressed and working people.”
But Mehserle was arrested and was
charged with murder. Why? Because the killing of Grant had been caught on video
camera. It showed Mehserle kneeling on Grant’s back, clearly in control
of the situation and facing no threat, as he pulled his weapon and fired. The
video spread through the Internet and was seen by outraged millions.
The July 9 verdict was unacceptable
to Grant's family, his friends, the African-American community and to
anyone across the country who believes in justice and combating racism. By that
evening there had already been angry protest demonstrations in Oakland, Los
Angeles and other California cities. Solidarity actions in Baltimore, New York
and other cities around the country followed. The one in Oakland turned into a
small rebellion against the police-state conditions imposed in that
Until racist traditions are
eliminated from U.S. capitalist society, we will be faced with situations where
Black people can be framed up, jailed for life or even executed on flimsy
evidence for allegedly killing a cop, while a cop caught on video executing a
Black youth, even if convicted, can get away with the lightest of
As Hales wrote in his earlier
article, “If the verdict is anything less than the second-degree murder
charge for which Mehserle is being tried, it will take a movement to win
justice, which is best determined by the community in Oakland. That community
desires that Mehserle be locked up and never again see the light of
That movement should have the
support of everyone in the U.S. who believes in equal justice. No justice, no
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