Community responds to Mehserle request for retrial in the shooting of Oscar Grant


by Cat and Michael Walker

Oakland – Three groups who have actively been working toward justice for Oscar Grant – ONYX, The New Years Movement and the General Assembly for Justice for Oscar Grant – are denouncing an announcement today by the defense team for former BART officer Johannes Mehserle that they asked a judge today to set aside Mehserle’s involuntary manslaughter conviction and are seeking a retrial in the shooting death of unarmed Oscar Grant III.

Citing a 2008 case from Kentucky, Michael Raines, Mehserle’s lead attorney, said that prosecutor David Stein was inaccurate in saying that “in a million Taser draws” there had never been a mistake like this one. But prosecutor David Stein was right on the money.

“The question raised here is did this officer pull his Taser out two times before accidentally shooting the man in Kentucky?” asked Cephus Johnson, Oscar’s Uncle Bobby. “In the case of Oscar, Mehserle took out his Taser twice. Oscar took a picture of him holding that Taser, so Mehserle knew exactly where it was and he knew where his gun was too. He chose to pull his gun. There is no comparison here.”

At every juncture in this case, there have been attempts by the defense to justify the actions of Mehserle and blame the victim for the crime of the perpetrator. And although Mehserle was convicted of mere involuntary manslaughter, the family of Oscar Grant – and indeed the community at large – continues to believe he was murdered.

“He is comparing apples and oranges,” said Lesley Phillips, a member of the New Years Movement. “The man in Kentucky didn’t die, he wasn’t beaten by the police prior to the shooting as Oscar was and we have no way of knowing if that shooting was an accident either.”

America has a long history of looking the other way when innocent civilians are wounded or killed by police – particularly if those innocent civilians are of color. In fact, Johannes Mehserle is one of only two police officers in the history of California to ever be convicted of killing a civilian in the line of duty – a gross imbalance when compared to the hundreds of innocent lives lost at the hands of law enforcement each year across the nation.

“There is no logical reason for a new trial,” said Michael Walker, a member of ONYX and active on the Oscar Grant case. “A new trial will be looked at by the community as another attempt by the defense to manipulate the facts of the case and allow Mehserle to go free for his crime. It will also be viewed as a slap in the face to the remaining survivors of that night – the friends of Oscar Grant who were on the platform to witness the unprovoked and unwarranted execution of their friend.”

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  1. This is a standard defense attorney procedure along with filing an appeal. It is denied in 99.9% of cases. It is nevertheless filed in most serious cases because failure to do so, in the .1% case, constitutes ineffective assistance of counsel. There is simply no need for any kind of alarm or anger at this news as this motion will be denied absent some kind of gross prosecutorial misconduct or juror tampering.

    • 7 October 2010

      With all due respect to Mr. Mulligan's comment:

      The entire judicial process – from Johanne Mehserle's record of prior police misconduct, to his detention and assassination of Warrior-Ancestor Oscar Grant, to his flight from prosecution, to the so-called 'trial and verdict,' and his insistent perjuring of himself, to his position in the universe at this point in time – has been a series of illegalities, and an extreme example of gross state/federal prosecutorial misconduct and / or juror tampering.

      If I go any further back in the charade of this state sanctioned killer's life, I will question the sanity of his conception and the legality (or not) of his subsequent birth. Some would call this indecent and unfair.

      I don't care.

      I am firmly convinced that one Cristobal Colon (known as C. Columbus) shouldn't have been allowed to survive conception, definitely shouldn't have been born, and most seriously should have been destroyed the moment he set the first of his dis-eased footsteps on any part of AFRIKAN lands.

      I am therefore perfectly willing to assess Johannes Mehserle the same 'courtesy,' neither batting an eye, nor losing a moment's sleep over the decision.

      So, Mr. Mulligan, though your comment appears to be referencing a point of law; I reject your deposit, (to quote yet another murdered Ancestor, Tupac Imaru Shakur) for it is questions of law, legality, ethics, truth, justice, and morality which are precisely what are at issue here.

    • 7 October 2010

      To continue my response to Mr. Mulligan:

      People are pissed, Michael Rains… 600 years and counting, in fact.

      We will not forgive, nor will we forget.

      Given the already well known factual circumstances in this case, and various attempts by a rabid, corporate, 'media industrial complex' to ignore and misrepresent the most salient points, it would not be surprising in the least if the state lodges this case firmly within the .1% of cases deemed worthy of retrial.

      An action such as that would not only be a crass attempt to override and insult the intelligence of the attorneys for and of the Family of Warrior-Ancestor Oscar Grant.

      It would also be yet another gross miscarriage of 'justice' and a blatant attempt to negate the strength of the people world wide who are watching this case like the proverbial hawk and taking positive action to expose the truth to the light of day.

      Recall that a change of venue was granted in this case, citing Oakland as a venue incapable of deliberating to 'fairness' regarding Mehserle's actions. Then a jury was selected which was definitely not composed of the peers of Oscar Grant; i.e. there was not a single AFRIKAN person on it.

      The haunting words of white, racist, stoop shouldered, Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney, as read by award winning journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, ( himself innocent and on death row in Pennsylvania come to mind, as he speaks upon the relevance, then and now, of the Dred Scott v Sanford Decision of 1857:

      "Can a ‘Negro’ whose ancestors were imported into this country and sold as slaves, become a member of the political community formed and brought into existence by the Constitution of the U.S., and as such, become entitled to all of the rights and privileges and immunities guaranteed by that instrument to the citizen. The plea applies to that class of people only whose Ancestors were ‘Negroes’ of the AFRIKAN race, and imported into this country and sold and held as slaves. We think they are not. And that they are not included, and were not intended to be included under the word ‘citizens’ in the Constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights which that instrument provides for, and secures to ‘citizens’ of the United States. On the contrary, they were considered at that time as a subordinate and an inferior class of beings who had been subjugated by the dominant race, and whether emancipated or not, yet remain subject to their authority, and had no rights or privileges but such as those who held the power in the government might choose to grant them. They had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order an altogether unfit to associate with the white race; either in social or political relations, and so far inferior, that they had no rights that the white man was bound to respect. And that the Negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit." —- Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney; Maryland, 1857; U.S. Supreme Court

    • 7 October 2010

      So, Mr. Mulligan – where, on the planet, in the universe is a PHOTOGRAPHED / VIDEOTAPED murder-IN PROGRESS, ANYTHING but murder?

      Apparently, anywhere in the world, where it is an AFRIKAN who bleeds and dies, and a rigged, kangaroo court of whites, who feel that a cold blooded lynching is 'involuntary' and 'manslaughter.'

      So then, Mr. Mulligan, why would you think that this 'standard defense attorney procedure,' as you termed it, should not raise any alarms amongst the world wide community of AFRIKAN people?

      It is distinctly probable that Michael Raines feels that IF he can manipulate the facts surrounding a murder that has been witnessed by the entire world, THEN he can manipulate a new trial, in the finest Groucho Marxian tradition of, 'who u gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?'

      After all, he graduated summa cum laude from Cal State Long Beach, and magna cum laude (and was elected valedictorian) from Golden West School of Law. He was also an officer in the Santa Monica PD, and a U.S. Marine in Vietnam.

      In short, he probably thinks he's superman…and Mehserle's and the citadels of Christendom's 'great white hope,' begging forgiveness with a gimlet eye, for the 'poor miscreant deemed to have 'lost his way.'

      Disgust would be the mildest terminology I could use for this display.

      For, a valid question here is: Just how many times is the state of California and the Federal government going to attempt to prosecute the dead for being murdered in plain sight of several (in this case thousand) witnesses?

      Whom (and how many) are there in this case for whom white hoods and sheets are secret but normal attire?

      153 years after the Dred Scott v Sanford Decision of 1857, and we still have, particularly in the u.s. of amerikkka, courts of law and not justice…. but 'just-us.'

      War Without Terms,

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