Saturday, June 12, 2010

Oscar Grant's mother appeals for justice for her son and Black and Brown youth

Opening statements began yesterday/June 10 in the trial of the former BART Police officer who shot and killed Oscar Grant, III. on New Year's Day 2009.  I had very mixed emotions about the day and as I drove to court, praying every mile I marked, I reflected on how difficult the experience must be for his mother, his entire family, and friends.  

The prosecutors have a lot in their favor:  several videotapes, several angles, eyewitnesses, and new evidence (at least new to the public) but it's still an uphill battle as this is the first time in California that a peace officer (Johannes Mehserle) has been put on trial for an on-duty shooting and there are no Blacks on the jury.  

While the trial went on inside the courtroom, a coalition of LA and Bay Area activists (Mr. Grant was shot at a BART station in Oakland) held a press conference outside.  Here, Wanda Johnson, Mr. Grant's mother, speaks about the last time she saw him (on December 31, 2008/her birthday), racial profiling, and her hopes for the trial.

More on the opening statements in next week's issue of the Final Call.

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