Tell the Justice Department to Hold BART Police Accountable for Oscar Grant's Death
This petition had 818 supporters
On New Year’s Day 2009, the life of a young father named Oscar Grant was cut short. As he lay face down on a Bay Area Rapid Transit platform in Oakland, BART police officer Johannes Mehserle fatally shot the 22-year-old black man. For killing the unarmed Grant, a jury without a single African-American on it convicted Mehserle of involuntary manslaughter in July 2010 to the outrage of Grant’s loved ones. The lack of African-American representation on the jury wasn't the only concern of Grant's supporters. There was also the fact that the trial was moved from the Bay Area to Los Angeles, where the controversy over Grant's killing was less well-known, and that Los Superior Court Judge Robert Perry was widely viewed as going easy on criminal police officers due to his perceived leniency on the officers charged with misconduct in the Los Angeles Police Department's Rampart scandal. In the end, Mehserle was sentenced to just two years in prison because involuntary manslaughter was the least serious of the convictions Mehserle faced for killing Grant (voluntary manslaughter and murder were also options). Due to good time credits, however, Mehserle was released on June 13, 2011. That’s less than a year after he entered Los Angeles County Jail.
Grant’s loved ones and supporters don’t consider this justice. They want Mehserle and BART Police to be held accountable for setting into motion the series of events that led to Grant’s death. That includes reportedly stoking racial tensions by using ethnic slurs while detaining Grant and his friends on the BART platform for allegedly fighting in a train car. The Coalition for Justice for Oscar Grant has been pressing the U.S. Justice Department to file charges against the BART Police for violating Grant’s civil rights. Mehserle has maintained that he shot Grant accidentally after mistaking his gun for his Taser. If Mehserle had been better trained by his department and his colleagues hadn’t sparked chaos the night of Grant’s murder by using racially abusive language and physical aggression, Grant could very well be alive today. Don’t let BART Police off the hook for ending a life on Jan. 1, 2009. Ask the Justice Department to file charges against the force for violating Grant’s civil rights.
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Nadra Kareem Nittle needs your help with “Tell the Justice Department to Hold BART Police Accountable for Oscar Grant's Death”. Join Nadra and 817 supporters today.