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Cops push to ‘Free Johannes Mehserle’; Oscar Grant forces push back, protest KTVU

August 8, 2010

Justice for Oscar Grant movement to protest KTVU’s pro-Mehserle coverage on Thursday, Aug. 12, 12:30 p.m., outside KTVU at 2 Jack London Square, Oakland – be there to honor Black August!

by Dave Id

Supporters of Johannes Mehserle were far outnumbered by Oscar Grant supporters when they demonstrated in Walnut Creek on July 19 (see coverage in Indybay and the Bay View), but Todd Mehserle, Johannes’ father, and a dozen other supporters managed to pull off a follow-up demo in San Jose on Aug. 2 with no counter-demonstrators. They claim more pro-Mehserle events are in the works.

But that is not all they are up to. They have several Facebook pages and a website dedicated to “Justice 4 Johannes”: Support Johannes Mehserle (Facebook), SUPPORT PROTEST FOR JOHANNES MEHSERLE / Events (Facebook), Free Johannes Mehserle (Facebook), BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle Is Just Innocent (Facebook) and Justice 4 Johannes. And they’ve been working with the corporate media.

For every one of the hundred Johannes Mehserle supporters in Walnut Creek on July 19, four Oscar Grant supporters went there to face their hostility and educate them. Now the focus is on KTVU, which led off the pro-Mehserle public relations campaign this past week with the videos reposted below. A peaceful pro-Oscar Grant protest will be held outside KTVU, 2 Jack London Square, Oakland, on Thursday, Aug. 12, at 12:30 p.m. – Photo: Revolution
Last week KTVU presented two features on Mehserle’s life story, presumably intended to soften his public image as the Nov. 5 sentencing date approaches. Read the KTVU stories, “Mehserle’s Father: ‘He’s In The Wrong Place’” and “Close Mehserle Friend: ‘He’s Not A Monster’,” and watch the two videos at http://www.ktvu.com/video/24532609/ and http://www.ktvu.com/video/24534414/. Oscar Grant has received no such coverage.

And now Mehserle supporters are claiming that Judge Robert Perry – the judge who oversaw Mehserle’s trial for the murder of Oscar Grant which resulted in an involuntary manslaughter conviction – actually wants letters from them supporting Mehserle.

One of the main sentiments expressed by organizers of the two demos held “In Support of Johannes Mehserle and L.E.O.” is emerging as an apparently deliberate theme intended to engender sympathy for Mehserle, namely tying him to all law enforcement officers, as if shooting unarmed people in the back is just part of the job.

At the San Jose demonstration, Todd Mehserle was quoted by KTVU as saying that Johannes Mehserle is “in the wrong place [jail] … He grew up to be anybody he wanted to be and he chose public service. And this is his thanks for making a mistake. It’s very tragic and unfortunate. Of course, I’m here today just to support my son and to support all law enforcement, because it’s a very, very slippery slope when we start to send people to work with guns and not only civilly convict them, but criminally.” Todd Mehserle does not make clear exactly what “thanks” he believes his son should receive for killing Oscar Grant.

To engender sympathy for Mehserle, his supporters are tying him to all law enforcement officers, as if shooting unarmed people in the back is just part of the job.

Similar language currently appears at the primary Justice 4 Johannes support website: “It is MANDATORY that our Law Enforcement Officers carry a gun during the course of their duties. It is shameful that we require our officers to carry a gun and when an accident occurs with the same gun we tell them they have to carry, we turn around and charge them, convict them, and throw them in jail for trying to do their job.”

The website foists all responsibility for the shooting onto Oscar Grant himself for “posing a safety risk to officers and bystanders” and BART police training and protocols for setting “this accident in motion long before it ever happened.”

The man at the center of this photo of the July 19 Walnut Creek protest wearing a gray shirt and holding a sign that reads “Johannes Mehserle is not a monster” is Richmond police officer Joe Avila. Oscar Grant supporters, especially Michael Walker, Tha Ghetto Prophet, of the Laney College Black Student Union, worked hard to enlighten him. More such confrontations are likely as the Mehserle public relations campaign heats up if supporters of justice for Oscar Grant are to prevail in the court of public opinion. – Photo: Revolution
And now, undoubtedly in response to letters Judge Perry already has been receiving from supporters of justice for Oscar Grant which request that Mehserle receive the maximum sentence, a new email message from Mehserle supporters claims that Judge Perry wants their letters too:

“To all Johannes Mehserle Supporters,

“Good news!

“We have heard that Judge Robert Perry is wanting to hear from those in the community who support Johannes Mehserle! He has stated he wants our letters of support for Johannes and that he intends to read every one of them!!! This is awesome news!!!

“If you have not done so already, please visit the website www.justice4johannes.com and check out the tab ‘How To Help’ and select ‘Johannes’. You will find detailed instructions on how to write your support letter and where to send them. As the judge is asking for them, it is crucial we get them out ASAP! This is our chance to be heard and our chance to help set Johannes free! Don’t delay!!!

“In addition to sending your support letters, a petition has now been released and is awaiting your electronic signature! Please visit www.justice4johannes.com and click the tab that says ‘How To Help’ and select ‘Petition’. Please sign and forward to everyone you know!

“New photos of the San Jose Rally have been posted as well as recent news casts! Check them out!

“Remember to join the mailing list so you can be kept informed of what’s going on and how you can continue to help!

“Thank you all for your support!

“Sincerely,

“Justice4Johannes www.justice4johannes.com

How far KTVU goes in allowing supporters to portray Mehserle as the victim remains to be seen, but undoubtedly there will be much more activity from supporters on both sides before Mehserle is sentenced.

For starters, a protest against KTVU’s sympathetic coverage of Mehserle will be held Thursday, Aug. 12, 12:30 p.m., in the parking lot outside the station, at 2 Jack London Square, Oakland. Be there in honor of Black August!

Dave Id is a journalist and activist who has thoroughly documented the Justice for Oscar Grant Movement with vision, sensitivity and consummate expertise in prolific postings at http://indybay.org/oscargrant.

Watch KTVU’s pro-Mehserle videos

http://www.ktvu.com/video/24532609/

http://www.ktvu.com/video/24534414/

Oscar Grant’s family says, ‘Please join in on our letter writing campaign!’

by Cephus Johnson, aka Oscar Grant’s Uncle Bobby

We just got reliable and verifiable information that police are sending letters to the judge in support of Mehserle. They have internal websites that only police can access that have links for letters to the judge.

We should really step up our efforts to get letters to the judge demanding the maximum sentence.

You can get a draft letter from www.newyearsmovement.org, which is also reproduced below.

Write a letter to Judge Perry: Demand maximum sentence for Johannes Mehserle

Judge Robert Perry presided over the Mehserle murder trial in Los Angeles, in which Johannes Mehserle was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and using a firearm in the commission of a crime. Mehserle’s defense and other supporters are attempting to influence the sentencing through the media and other events, such as the recent rallies in Walnut Creek and San Jose.

They are also appealing via Channel 2 News for the public to believe that Mehserle is a good person, that he’s not a monster. Judge Perry must also hear from members of the community, from all over California and the nation. PLEASE WRITE A LETTER TODAY! See below for sample text.

1) Write to Judge Robert Perry, urging him to give Johannes Mehserle the maximum sentence permissible under the law: four years for involuntary manslaughter conviction plus 10 years for gun enhancement.

2) Address letters to Judge Robert Perry and send to Law Offices of John Burris, 7677 Oakport St., Suite 1120, Oakland, CA 94621.

3) Please email a copy of your letter to newyears@onefam.org.

Suggested text

Over and over, Oscar Grant's mother, Wanda Johnson, declared to the press when the verdict was announced July 8: "My son was murdered!" - Video frame: KTVU
Dear Judge Perry,

Although Johannes Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, as Ms. Wanda Johnson, Oscar Grant’s mother said, “I believe Oscar was murdered.” I also believe Mehserle murdered Oscar Grant. Oscar Grant’s own cell phone photo of Mehserle holding his taser is evidence that he could not have mistaken his gun for his taser.

Our community overwhelmingly believes that Mehserle should be sentenced to the maximum amount of prison time permissible under the law. The maximum sentence for both gun enhancement and involuntary manslaughter is 14 years.

The community believes that Mehserle is a danger to society and must serve the full sentence for his crime. Our community is seeking justice; please sentence Johannes Mehserle to the maximum sentence.

Sincerely,

____________________________ name

____________________________ city

____________________________ date

Thanks all for your support!

Cephus

Cephus Johnson can be reached at cephusjohnson@yahoo.com.

11 thoughts on “Cops push to ‘Free Johannes Mehserle’; Oscar Grant forces push back, protest KTVU

  1. Wendy Carson

    I am not at all surprised by the pro Mehserle media campaign. The corporate media coverage of the Justice 4 Oscar rallies was deplorable, showing only those few folks who broke windows, looted, etc. No mention or coverage was given to the speakers or the issues of police brutality and state sponsored violence. All along I have thought the media campaign for us J4O supporters has been poor. We need to do a much better job in using the mainstream media to educate the larger community about the real issues and systemic problems with how communities of color are policed, youth of color are targeted and the effects this has on all communities. We need to paint on the whole canvas.

    Reply
    1. Teresa Aviles

      If it is legal it should not be. I am shocked and outraged that the judge is asking for letters in support of this murderer. I am going to write him and Oscar's family to let them know how I feel about this.

      Reply
  2. trublak

    Justice for Tian Sheng Yu knicca. Justice for Jinghong Kang. Justice for Christopher Rodriguez. Justice for Chauncey Bailey. Justice for all the victims of YOUR BLACK MUSLIM BAKERY. Justice for Herdis Leroy Hudnall Alberto Salvador Villarreal Morales Ever Esau Ramos-Avila Purnell Maurice Brewer Ruben Aviles Willie Jason Williams Willie Clay III Yvonne Bernell Avery-Clark Gamel Attayeb Ramin J. White Sr. Vicente Cristobal Ramos-Anguiano Sebastian Ramos Nonita Calhoun Joseph David Briggs Marcellus Cassius Haley Anita Louise Williams Maurice Everett Houff Jr.Brandon Robert Jackson Brian Anthony Champaco Chad Hunter Murphy Morrell Antoine Brooks Lizbeth Lopez-Bojorquez Gary Joseph Ruiz Aubrey Durelle Johnson Sr. Roberto Lopez Sanchez Frederick R. Layne Kimberley Kyu Wayshak Myron Louis Shackelford Jr. Mark Kharmats George Albert Hasbua Jr.Rudolph Henderson Jr. Jamal Therman Lindsey Jeffrey Dale Johnson Aberial Denise Bradley Raymond Earl Hawkins Jr. Salvador GuzmanSirron Neil Croskey Corey T. Anderson Soulttan (Scott) Fayad Rodney Eugene Bohannon Jr.Robert Lamont Lockson Ronald Boonie Hall Jr. Brannon Donta Hendricks Omari Justin Johnson Earl Pecot III Sonethavy Phomsouvanhdara DeMarco Antwan Martin

    48.Jason Deshawn Nelson

    49.Artemio Matias

    50.Raymond Dwayne Chambers

    51.James Jentrell Woodard Jr.

    52.Zachary Dean Scott Jr.

    53.Carlos Ernesto Flores

    54.Michael Jerrell Randolph Jr.

    55.William Guzman

    56.Michael Frank Walker

    57.Chau Minh Tran

    58.Vicente Gomez-Zepeda

    59.Eric Jamal West

    60.Latoya L. Bell

    61.Edwin Escalona Catambay

    62.Angel Lainez

    63.Walter Kwesi Williams

    64.Kim O. Saelio

    65.Brian Lee Fitzpatrick

    66.William James Samish

    67.Angelo Kurt Lewis

    68.Jaee Miguel Logan

    69.Acts Joe Mailo

    70.Ernest Evans

    71.Miguel Angel Alonzo-Hernandez

    72.Charles Howard Fort Jr.

    73.Lath La

    74.Leslie Turrell Slater

    75.Larry Cornelius Baker Jr.

    76.Marco Antonio Moreno Coutino

    77.Froilan Llamas Valenzuela

    78.Terrell Ellis Martin

    79.Darries Stevlin Toyfoya

    80.Anthony Lawrence "Corey" Butler

    81.Delroy Antoine Keys

    82.Clinnetta Simril

    83.Ronald Bruce Brazier Jr.

    84.Patricia Brackins

    85.Clayton Marcus Bolds

    86.Tabari Lateef Robinson

    87.Byron Deandre Isaac

    88.Michael Landry O'Brien

    89.Andrew Dwayne Porter

    90.James Torea Fountain

    91.Leslie Lamb

    92.Jorge Luis Barraza

    93.Laver Vando Crayton

    94.Nicole Denise Tucker

    95.Corey Lashun Keyes

    96.Wakeel Shakir

    97.Victor Diaz-Rodriguez

    98.Jorge Benjamin Sisneros

    99.Joel Demetrie Williams

    100.Carlos Fernando Perez

    101.Rudolph Johnson

    102.Patrick Farris III

    103.Hector Sanchez

    104.Jose Andres Mellin Tapia

    105.Andre Webb

    106.Tyrone Bowens

    107.Cynthia Lynn Hudson

    108.Daniel Robert Lynch

    109.Ali Emad Abdallah

    110.Gail Breda

    111.Shirley Hill

    112.Akiba Finister

    113.Terrell Brown

    114.Anthony J. Quintero

    115.Millard Filmore Matthews

    116.David Foster

    117.Oscar R. Silva

    118.Gustavo Rodriguez

    119.Ronald Mack

    120.Michael Culpepper

    121.Tom Newsom

    122.Nina Reiser

    123.Charles McKinney

    124.Erick Torres

    125.Damien Brown

    126.Derrick A. Craig

    127.Derol H. Williams

    128.Wayne Gordon Jr.

    129.Shavan Boone

    130.Kenyatta Holmes

    131.Shirley Deanna Smith

    132.unborn fetus of Shirley Deanna Smith

    133.Hilmon Haydon

    134.Marcel Campbell

    135.Irving Elenes

    136.Winta T. Mehari

    137.Regbe Baharengasi

    138.Yonas Mehari

    139.Elijah Ferdinand

    140.Ervin E. Keys III

    141.Thomas R. Bent

    142.Rudolph "Rudy" Henderson Sr.

    143.James Merchant

    144.Lap Tan Nguyen

    145.Danny Leon

    146.Reginald Alexis

    147.Anthony Johnson

    ……and on and on and on. I won't be part of your revolution when your "solution" is worse than the problem.

    Reply
  3. Laron Johnson

    This was a tragedy for both families. I don't think KTVU is wrong for coverage of what Meserle's family is doing as long as it remains unbiased. Just my two-cents.

    Reply
  4. mario

    He was convicted of involuntary Manslaughter. A young person whom he was paid to protect was shot in the back while a knee was on his neck. The 22 yr old man was not a bodybuilder. Then he was dragged to the side still in cuffs. KTVU is showing a solemn video complete with reflective photos about The Guy That Shot this young man Oscar Grant. BEFORE they reflect on the young man who will never be able to tell his side of the story…Oscar Grant.

    not sure about the motivations of the program manager but i had hope the general public would really all be in consensus about the poor taste of this decision.

    Reply
  5. D M

    So do a profile on Oscar Grant. His police record and how many crimes he was charged with and convicted of. I am all for equal air time. Does the family want to show the reality?

    Reply
  6. mario

    Oscar didn't murder anybody. This guy DID. There is proof. have you ever made any mistakes in your life? Do you deserve to die for them? its not about equal air time its about equal RIGHTS. dumba$$.

    Reply
  7. Rajin Kajun

    Hey Mario, (speaking of dumba$$es) the cop didn't murder anyone either. HE made a MISTAKE. Listen to yourself! I watched the tape ( so I know as much about this as YOU do) and it was very obvious that the cop was SHOCKED when the gun went off. Murder requires intent to kill, which he obviously did not have.

    Reply
  8. Sweet Scientist

    What are you guys absolutly imbecilic? TYhis was an obvious assassination! Point blank! Nothing else! But when a black man his murdered it's no big deal. society can spin it how it wants. But when a cokehead white girl named Nicole gets in too deep with Colombian drug dealers it's still the brothas fault. Murder is murder but when it comes to Black males in our society being murdered, it's not really frowned upon. It's almost preferred in middle america!

    Reply

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