These short but moving statements of solidarity with the family of Oscar Grant come from parents whose children were also murdered by police. In these videos, posted by Kathie Cheng, you will meet
- Juanita Young, mother of Malcolm Ferguson, who was killed by a New York City police officer in the Bronx on March 1, 2000;
- Nicholas Heyward Sr., father of Nicholas Heyward Jr., who was killed by a New York City housing cop in Brooklyn on Sept. 27, 1994; and
- Allene Person, mother of Timur Person, who was killed by a New York City police officer in the Bronx on Dec. 13, 2006.
Oscar Grant, 23, was murdered by BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle at 2 a.m. New Year’s Day 2009 as he lay face down with his hands behind his back on a BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) platform, unarmed and threatening no one – with BART Officer Tony Pirone’s knee on his neck. As several close friends and hundreds of other passengers watched in horror, Mehserle stood over Grant and deliberately fired one fatal shot into his back.
Rebellions that broke out in Oakland in the ensuing two weeks convinced the authorities that this was one killer cop who would not be allowed by the people to get away with murder. Mehserle was charged with first degree murder and, though his trial, scheduled to begin June 7, was moved from Oakland to Los Angeles, the people of LA have picked up the torch and are committed to seeing Mehserle (pronounced Meh’-zer-lee) convicted.
In Oakland, “I am Oscar Grant” can be seen all over town. Nearly everyone knows and feels a sense of kinship with Oscar and his family. Now the people of Los Angeles need to become that well informed about and involved in the movement for justice for Oscar Grant. These videos are an important contribution.
Let’s encourage all Los Angeles media – especially Black media – to cover the Oscar Grant case. Let’s spread the word to every mayor, city council and police department in the country that the days when police could murder young Black men – or anyone – with impunity are over!