The Bay area transit officer convicted of killing Oscar Grant will go free on Monday after serving less than a year in jail.

Johannes Mehserle, a white former Bay Area Rapid Transit cop was convicted last July for the shooting of Oscar Grant, a black unarmed man on an Oakland train station platform on New Year’s Day 2009. The incident was captured on video by onlookers and quickly uploaded onto YouTube, where it was watched by thousands of viewers online.   In the clip, Mehserle is seen shooting Grant in the back with his firearm while Grant lay face down on the ground. According to police reports, Grant had allegedly been pulled off the train for fighting.

During a tearful testimony at his trial, Mehserle said that he had simply been arresting Grant for resisting an officer, claiming he thought he had pulled his stun gun to subdue Grant and mistakenly pulled his .40-caliber pistol instead.

The case sparked outrage in Oakland and throughout the country as many felt Oscar Grant’s unjust killing was another example of police using their authority to inflict brutality. The trial was moved from Alameda County to Los Angeles in December of 2009 after a local judge ruled that “pretrial publicity and the threat of violence” would make it impossible for Mehserle to have a fair trial. None of the jurors chosen to hear the trial were black.

Given his mistaken weapon use defense, jurors in Los Angeles convicted Mehserle of criminal negligence instead of murder. He was sentenced to two years for involuntary manslaughter sparking riots and protests. In the hours following the announcement of the verdict, more than 150 people protesting Oscar Grant’s wrongful death were arrested in Oakland, the city which has struggled with racial tensions running decades back.

Now, the Alameda County District Attorney’s office has confirmed that Mehserle has been granted early release for good conduct. Oscar Grant’s uncle, Bobby Johnson, says that he was notified that the man who killed his nephew will be released on Monday. He says that the news has added insult to injury for his grieving family and the community:

“What really hurts is that we are just expected to get on with our lives. How can we?” Johnson said. “We’ve been dealt with a racist criminal justice system that has denied our true rights to justice…This whole thing was staged. It was planned. It was acted out. It has brought this type of conclusion.”

It is unclear where Mehserle will head after he leaves prison, but Oakland and Los Angeles police say they are preparing for protestors to take the streets following his release. Many who have followed the case say that Mehserle’s early release may spark a wave of unrest from the community that has not healed or forgotten last fall.

When asked what he expects the reaction to be to Mehserle’s early release, Grant’s uncle Johnson says he hopes that protestors will express themselves and stick together:

“I hope what happens is that we stand together, share our experiences and speak to the injustices that occur in our communities. Voices can be heard when there’s unity.”

What do you think of Mehserle’s early release from prison after shooting Oscar Grant? Do you think it’s fair he served less than a year for taking a man’s life? Tell us what you think Clutchettes and gents- weigh in!

  • Ms. Pillowz

    If you can’t tell the difference between a stun gun and a 40 caliber pistol, then you are not fit to serve as a police officer. Not sure of the whole story, so I am not claiming that these guys were innocent, however, MURDERING an unarmed man is a deplorable and cowardly act. This could have been handled better. A disgrace.

  • T.A.E.

    absolutely ms. pillowz. I live in oakland within walking distance to the Fruitvale bart, the place where Oscar Grant was murdered. I’ve only been out here for about 9 months so I’m new in terms of being seen as an oakland “resident” but when I see all the murals, all the posters of this beautiful young man and his smiling face it makes me want to cry. The fact that this officer was even able to get away with the defense that he used is almost like something out of the twilight zone. A police officer, trained and expected to protect and serve the members of his community, not a rookie MISTAKENLY put a bullet in someone when he just meant to stun them a little bit. BS, it’s such BS. You already know what it is, they don’t care about us. How can you not be angry when black folk is getting locked up for petty crimes, doing more time than this murderer with no “good behavior” early releases in sight. How can you not be angry when a life was TAKEN, an INNOCENT young man murdered, and to the man who did it, to the organization who armed him and put him on the streets it was all just a big mistake?

  • darkestskinman

    Sometimes it is best too remember that laws like government were created by the people. When these things go awry then ‘people’ must taken matters into their own hands in order to secure a better solution/circumstances/future/chance for prosperity.
    There are all kinds of justice. A lot can be and often times, must be man-made.

    Those that that have the intention to do the group with the darkest skin harm should meet with afflicted with the same.

  • TCN

    Well if you remember the laws correctly then you would remember who those people were that created and enforced the laws. So people of color your rightas a citizen to claim and cling onto those laws are limited and that’s why our rights are often pushed aside in the persuit of justice. Knowing the system is only half the battle. To know why it is what it is today you must learn about what it was. Last time that i saw this chilling footage i didn’t recall a struggle with the young man at all for there to be any use of excessive force. If you can show me differently give me a time mark on the video and some strong glasses.

  • Clnmike

    What a surprise.

  • J

    Since the dawn of the creation of this nation it has been open season on negroes. This just furthers my conviction that there are no repurcussions for cops who shoot black men.

  • JustSaying…

    Why exactly do you expect repercussions for cops when there are BARELY any repercussions both inside and outside the black community for black men that kill other black men??? Where is your outrage for that??

    Funny how it’s only a tragedy when the killing is done by someone non-black.

  • J

    I never said that black on black crime isn’t t a tragedy, and I never said that there shouldn’t be repercussions for black men who kill other black men, or anybody who commits a murder period, but this article is about the shooting of an unarmed black man. As a cop I would expect him to be held to a higher standard than the rest of us. I would expect him to know the difference between a taser and a gun, and I would expect him to be held accountable for his actions. He got off with a slap on the wrist and that is a tragedy.

  • ……………..

    FOCKING RASCIST MUTHA-FOCKERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jtao

    Your wasting your time responding to Justsaying. She hates black men and would rather blame the victim in this case.

  • Britlliance

    Commenting on articles gives empty power to weak-minded individuals like Justsaying so they can feel important like their opinion matters when they only have the ability to sit behind a computer screen and make comments they wouldn’t dare say to anyone in Real Life so even acknowledging foolishness like her comments doesn’t solve or address the issue that is most important, which is police brutality. So getting back to the issue at hand I know that this world is a world of sin no matter who is killing who or why. At the end of the day coming together as a united community from coast to coast is a promising idea in theory but execution is where the true work has to be done and because of all our selfish, self centered nature, the cohesiveness that we long for can never be achieved. As someone has already said every last one of these steps have been calculated and in the times we live in it should come as no surprise that he would be released, because the systems in place were not designed with people of color in mind. They are still using instances like this one as fear tactics to keep everyone in line. I can’t be too sure but I would hope that everyone who weighs in on these issues realizes that the tactics used by Willie Lynch are still being used today but can be cleverly hidden and masked by media but they are still alive and well so, of course it is not fair but nothing in this world has proven otherwise so the shock value is very low. I just would advise him to be very careful wherever he does end up because as “forgiving” as they were in releasing hi
    m, the community he ends up in may not be.

  • cupcakes and shiraz

    Um yeah- you’re wasting your keystrokes. JustSayin… seems to have deep issues with black men so don’t bother arguing with her.

  • Fox

    What JustSaying means, I think, is that black life is viewed as worthless in the courts. Plus, we are so numb to black men killing each other and people are only outraged when a white person (especially a COP) kills a black person. I get what the commenter is trying to say.

  • Fox

    …..also, didn’t Michael Vick serve more time for killing dogs??? It’s hard not to hate all cops, and that’s all I’m going to say.

  • JustSaying…

    Thank you. It’s amazing how people on this site try to act brand new or deflect to my supposed “black man hating” when faced with bitter reality. Black people are indeed NUMB to black on black crime but waste no time crying foul when the situation involves non-white people. I’m done here.

  • JustSaying…

    *non-black people

  • Clnmike

    That’s not what Bobbo the Baboon is trying to say at all Dr. Dolittle, not one damn bit.

  • Fox

    Bobbo the Baboon and Dr. Dolittle? Nice… Dr. Dolittle still believes the courts discount the black lives like we ain’t shit.

  • JustSaying…

    I don’t want to hear ish about black men getting dropped by white cops.

    When black people start showing this SAME amount of outrage whenever a BLACK MAN commits a crime against another BLACK person (which is 10 times MORE likely to happen than a black man being killed by a white/non-black person) come back and talk to me.

    The reality is black men have a CLEAR disregard for black life themselves. So why get mad when others in society share that same disregard?? It is hypocritical to sit around mad about this white cop while not saying a damn thing about Ray-Ray killing other black men EVERYDAY.

    Do you people know that a black man is FAR more likely to lose his life to another BLACK man than any white racist?? Do you get that? If not here is a link…

    *Crickets* don’t hear a thing about this FACT. You people are so used to being mental “victims” of the so-called oppressor that you can’t see the truth.

  • Jenell


  • Girl

    Vick deserved that shyt. Dont know why people keep using that moron as an excuse.

    JustSaying, I completely agree with you BUT I do think this situaton is pretty effed up. Hopefully he’ll die in prison the day before the release.

  • darkestskinman

    A group that protects itself is destined to have a future. Those wiht the darkest skin need to start to act as a group and every time an atrocity against members of the group take place. Complete and utter force should be exacted to establish a proper foot-hold. Hire your own. Push down those local opponents with votes. By voting for those who you can ensure will assist in the building and positive development of your kind. We are not in this country as immigrants but by the forcing of those who were long before us. Close ranks, and find the way to communicate with each and every member again – whilst simultaneously determining one path for the future of darkest skinned people here and for the birthplace of your ancestors.
    It all starts where you live.
    Right in your home, in your family. Then right outside of your door(s).
    Discuss, ‘what is best for my race to move forward?’ ‘What is best to protect my race against( to be proactive against) blatant racism, local terrorism all devices meant to bring about the destruction of my race?’( then later ask and seek a solution for – regional/national/worldwide terrorism)?
    The work is to strengthen the chain first. A reason for said work is this: when a darkest skin man/woman/child is crippled/destroyed we all feel it/are affected – like it or not. Our lives are meant to find the path that will lead to a ‘true’ existence for our entire race. Locally work to ensure a full education of each and every darkest skinned child. Our work will never be done so long as any act that maims/reduces/causes the reduction of our numbers continues without answer.
    May we choose one language from the mother continent to speak. That, worldwide – we all speak, read and write in. The sharing of experiences and need to understand each other will assist in building a better group. Look around when you are out. Listen when you are out. Listen. Every other race/group utilizes the language it stems from. Listen. Look. Learn.
    The time for a single direction demands that we, the darkest skin race, find the common elements – one of which should be LANGUAGE. Fill your head with it, fill your mouth with it. Write in it. Read in it. Record everything the group knows in it. – Absolutely communicate in it. In person. Via the Internet. In every possible way. Find out what a darkest skin people in the mother continent uses for the word ‘people’ and again for the word ‘land’. As the words africa and african are NOT words from darkest skin people but from arabs. No group describes or speak for another. All of these terms MUST be changed.
    Locally change you. Your environment. Your family. Your people.

    Perhaps it is a matter of measured and exacted Retaliation(of global proportions). . .

  • WoW

    @ J

    Thank you for saying that. Everyday in the Bay a black male dies @ the hands of another black male. No one is outraged. No one is marching and no one is concerned. In fact no one says any thing due to the ‘no snitching’ commandment set down by a bunch of criminals that have replace the Masons and Ministers.

  • WoW

    oops> This comment was for @JustSayin’

  • Intellblackman

    First of all, Mehserle’s defense is an outright lie, fabricated by his defense team. First, Tasers are light weight and “plastic”. Even plastic framed handguns like the Glock have a steel slide and barrel, making their weight significantly heavier than a Taser. Second, Tasers are brightly colored, usually bright yellow with black strips, similar to the reflective decals used on the bumpers of police cars. They’re colored like this for the same reason as the bumpers…..enhanced visibility. Third, Tasers are carried on the “opposite” side of the gun belt, in a cross draw position (grip facing forward). This is done so that it’s impossible to accidentally confuse it with a firearm. It’s drawn in the complete opposite fashion as a handgun. For reasons of liability, cops are trained extensively on the use of Tasers. This includes how to distinguish it from their firearm. They don’t just hand them a Taser and say, “Hit the road.” Also, the video clearly shows that this was not an instantaneous “quick-draw” and shoot. He drew his weapon, paused and then shot. Are we expected to believe that in all of that time he didn’t realize he was holding a heavy ass, steel gun instead of a lightweight plasticTaser?

    In spite of all of this, I’m surprised he was actually convicted of anything. Usually, white jurors don’t believe cops are capable of doing anything wrong because they base their beliefs on how THEY are treated by the police in THEIR neighborhoods. Why do you think an all white jury in Simi Valley acquitted those cops? The real crime here is the judge’s decision to give him 2 years, which ended up being 1 year with good behavior. He could have sentenced him to as much as 14 years. People need to take notice the next time this judge comes up for reelection.

    What happened to Oscar Grant was an out and out EXECUTION!!!

  • Isis

    Um I agree with JustSaying. We can’t complain about racism when we kill and hate each other. The situation is extremely sad nonetheless. It’s always the positive black men that are taken too young. Never the doing nothing negroes that are a poison to our race. Very sad

  • Charlay King

    The case was distorted but the past is the past…how can we want respect but don’t respect ourselves as a group. I was born and raised in Oakland blacks killing blacks everyday, Also the level of respect in my generation and in the bay area at that is the WORST…Someone asked me how come I didn’t protest about Oscar Grant b/c coming to the defense of people just b/c and not weighting every aspect is a waste. I know how young men are these days and how my generation is being mislead…my dad handled a similar situation just fine b/c his coach told him how to handle this situation the smart way “keep your mouth shut” until spoken to and give them your name and address and handle your friends later…my dads still alive by the way. My frustration is I can’t defend ppl just b/c I’m black, if they said Oscar Grant was a college student or was mentoring city youth then I can vouch…but no more defending just b/c of my race

  • Clnmike

    You know people need to get off this ‘well black people kill each other so were is the outrage there’ BS. Yes black people kill each other in greater numbers than cops, just like whites kill whites in greater numbers, just like hispanics, just like any other ethnic group enclosed in their own community. The difference is that the people who are paid by us to protect us should not be the ones doing the murder or else why the hell do they exist? It doesn’t matter what this man’s background was, here is a man who was subdued laying prone on the ground being shot in the back by an officer whose job is to up hold the law. It doesn’t matter if the cop was “mistakenly thought he pulled his taser” why taser someone who is already secured? And than trhis rich little thinking that if Oscar was a productive member of society I could feel for him. Really? You think the cops give a rats ass if your a productive/role model/ saint? You think there going to say “…….excuse me sir before I put this bullet in your ass are you of the Obama breed of nigger or the 50 cent type? I’d hate to make a mistake here.”. Like some how that couldn’t be you laying down there. Many a foolish negro got tuned up thinking that way. You let them do it to him they will do it to you Mr./Ms. Magoo.

  • BluTopaz

    Say a White cop pulls you over for speeding. You are courteous, don’t give him any reason to suspect you of wrongdoing, etc. but he still decides you didn’t call him sir fast enough, or you are uppity because you politely asked why you are being questioned when you know you were not speeding. So he slams you on the pavement, maybe yells a racial slur, handcuffs you and you’re charged with resisting arrest.

    You’re not going to say his acts were racist, because there is so much Black on Black crime? That makes absolutely no sense, and it sounds just like clueless Whites practicing their privilege when they say the exact same thing.

  • SoulPatrol

    I’ve been an AA police officer for over 25 years, working in an area that’s 98% white. I’ve made thousands of traffic stops and arrests of young white kids. They abruptly reach under their seats, unexpectedly open the glove box, reach into their pockets, get out of the car and walk toward me (at night) without being asked to, mouth off and argue about the traffic stop, etc., etc., etc. I’VE NEVER SHOT ANY OF THEM, and they were NOT handcuffed!!!!

    Enough said.

    As for some of the people on this thread who want to make parallels to black on black crime, you’re comparing apples to oranges. B on B crime is committed by known CRIMINALS. A law enforcement officer is not “supposed” to engage in criminal acts. They’re supposed to uphold the law and protect the people they serve. No segment of the public should have to fear the very people whose salaries they pay to protect them. When a police officer violates the law in such an act of gross misconduct, he’s worse than the common criminal. We “expect” criminals to commit crimes. We don’t expect cops to.

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