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Jan. 1, 2019, marks 10 years since the murder of Oscar Grant by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle. In the lead up to this grim anniversary, a number of articles, multimedia pieces, radio programs and television news segments have been produced to commemorate the occasion. Especially moving are those that give voice to Oscar’s family and friends. But it’s rare to see significant tribute paid to the fact that were it not for the vigor and relentlessness of protesters and activists, Oscar Grant would have received little to no justice.
Six years ago, on Jan. 1, 2009, Oscar Grant III, 22, was shot and later died of bullet wounds received when Johannes Mehserle, then a BART police officer, fired his gun at point blank range into Grant’s back – after Grant and his friends had been taunted with racial epithets and assaulted by Mehserle and other BART officers on the scene, while Mehserle’s partner, Tony Pirone, held Grant down with both hands and a knee on his head and neck.
Anthony “Tony” Pirone, the police officer who had his knee on Oscar Grant's back while Grant was laying on the Fruitvale BART platform in Oakland as Officer Johannes Mehserle shot and killed him, is seeking arbitration with BART to be reinstated to his previous position with the BART police. Many consider Pirone as one of the main instigators in the events leading to Grant’s murder.
Once again another young Black man has been shot and killed, under highly questionable circumstances, by a representative of law enforcement. Also once again, African Americans and our allies fear that justice will not be served on the perpetrator. Unfortunately, this fear is neither imagined nor an overreaction; it is grounded in concrete reality.
Last week an officer who blatantly lied under oath was given her job back. Marysol Domenici was one of the first officers on the scene when Oscar Grant was shot by convicted former BART cop Johannes Mehserle. The Bay Area is asking 1) How could Domenici be reinstated in the face of all her wrongdoings? 2) Why has she not been charged with perjury?
Local 10 of the ILWU is calling for a labor and community rally on Saturday, Oct. 23, 12 noon, at City Hall, near 14th & Broadway in Oakland, to demand justice for Oscar Grant and the jailing of killer cops. Bay Area ports will shut down that day to stand with the Black community. Get ready for the rally Friday, Oct. 22, 6:30 p.m., with a screening of Minister of Information JR’s film ‘Operation Small Axe’ plus revolutionary art by Black Panther Minister of Culture Emory Douglas at the Black Dot Cafe, 1195 Pine St., West Oakland.
A rally staged in support of former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle in Walnut Creek July 19 drew hundreds of protesters, dozens of journalists and photographers and plenty of police.
On the 8th of July, 2010, the people of the world took to the streets of Oakland to make our displeasure felt at the non-verdict delivered to the killer cop who assassinated Ancestor-Warrior Spirit Oscar Grant III in cold blood on a BART platform a year and a half ago, 1 January 2009. And it wasn’t “outside agitators” who consistently outflanked and outmanned the so-called finest of several different police departments – most of whom were definitely from outside of Oakland. It was thousands and thousands of us who don’t have shit. It was the lumpen proletariat that George Jackson spoke of.
“I AM,” shouted the speaker at the Oakland protest of the verdict in the trial of ex-BART cop Johannes Mehserle; “OSCAR GRANT!” roared back the crowd at 14th and Broadway. The cold-blooded killer of Oscar Grant had just gotten off with an involuntary manslaughter conviction in a trial in LA. After less than two days deliberation, a jury with no Black members cleared Johannes Mehserle of second degree murder.
Addressing those fretting about civil unrest, Michael Walker concluded the press conference by declaring: “For anybody out there who feels like people are against peace, if you really want peace in this city, then fight for justice, and I guarantee you’ll have peace.”
Day 10 of the People v. Mehserle trial – Thursday, June 24 – ended with the defendant, Johannes Mehserle, taking the stand. The former BART police officer is accused of murder in the death of Oscar Grant. Defense attorney Michael Rains, seeking to humanize his client, asked what he was voted “most” of in high school: Mehserle was voted “Most Huggable.”
Never before has a police officer been tried for murder for actions taken while on duty. The defense is taking the position that Oscar Grant was a threat and noncompliant and that BART Officer Johannes Mehserle thought he was tasing him but shot him by mistake. The trial is expected to wrap up soon.
BART train operator Keecha Williams contradicted much of the testimony of former officer Pirone by stating that he never asked her if any of the young men he detained were involved in the fight, that he never asked her who she thought was involved and that she did not state that the young men placed against the concrete wall were the ones involved in the fight.
Mehserle is not the only former officer whose actions that morning have been described as being out of line. All five of the previous week’s witnesses who video-recorded the events of Jan. 1, 2009, say they did so because of Pirone’s actions, which included cursing and an excessive use of force.
Everybody out for the MASS PROTEST FOR JUSTICE FOR OSCAR GRANT all day Monday, June 14, starting at 7 a.m. outside the LA Courthouse at 210 W. Temple at Broadway. Demand murder conviction of Johannes Mehserle, the first ever Cali cop to stand trial for an on-duty murder. Keep the courtroom packed throughout the trial. This is our chance to stop the militarized police occupation of Black and Brown communities. We are ALL Oscar Grant!
“Who would have thought that Oscar himself may help convict his very own killer,” wrote a commenter. In the court hearing today regarding a motion to exclude Oscar Grant’s fiancé Sophina Mesa from testifying about Grant’s fear of tasers, it was discussed that Oscar Grant took a photo with his sister’s mobile phone of Johannes Mehserle pointing a taser at him.
Is Tony Pirone attempting to avoid testifying in Johannes Mehserle’s trial for the murder of Oscar Grant? The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office has filed papers to force former BART Police Officer Tony Pirone – who was fired April 22 – to testify in the murder trial of Johannes Mehserle, set to begin with jury selection next week.
As Oscar Grant triggerman Johannes Mehserle's trial approaches, issues that have been settled in court are still muddied in the media. Reports that Mehserle "allegedly shot" Grant abound, yet even Mehserle's lawyer admits his client did shoot Grant. And why are the media alluding to Grant's "criminal" past when the only evidence is a 2006 arrest for resisting arrest? Get ready to attend the trial at two forum-screenings of "Operation Small Axe" June 4 & 5 at the AFIBA Center in LA.
The BART police officer accused of punching Oscar Grant in the face and calling him a racial epithet moments before his death on New Year’s Day 2009 was fired Thursday. Officer Tony Pirone, who called Grant a “bitch ass nigger,” was also seen in a video attacking Grant. Pirone was the officer kneeling on Grant’s back when then-BART police officer Johannes Mehserle shot Grant in the back.
The murder of a 22-year-old unarmed Black man, Oscar Grant, by a transit cop in Oakland during the early hours of New Year's Day sparked national indignation. Onlookers captured the shooting on cell phones, and their video footage was transmitted to millions via the Internet and TV.
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