Southern California: First Cop on Trial for Murder in the History of the State Is Headed Your Way


In Oakland, California, in the early hours of January 1st of this year, while Bay Area Rapid Transit passenger Oscar Grant III lay face-down on a BART platform with another officer's knee on his shoulder, BART police officer Johannes Mehserle drew his service weapon and shot Oscar Grant in the back, execution-style. This type of killing of an unarmed, young African American man by police is all too common in America. L.A. police are reported to have killed 310 people in the last ten years. San Diego police have killed ninety-one people in the same time. It goes without saying that the overwhelming majority of those killed by police are people of color....

[Under community pressure and the threat of continuing protests and riots,] on January 13th, Johannes Mehserle was arrested and charged with murder... It was not unexpected when Mehserle's defense team cited the abundance of Bay Area coverage of the case and the January Oscar Grant Rebellions as reasons to move the trial out of the county in which Mehserle murdered Oscar Grant... Unfortunately, Judge Jacobson agreed, and so Mehserle's trial is now set to be held in either Los Angeles or San Diego County.

On the afternoon of November 19th, Judge Jacobson is set to hear defense and prosecution arguments regarding venue selection. In the words of the late great Harvey Milk, I'm here to recruit you. The time is now for Southern California activists of all stripes concerned about justice to join in solidarity with their brothers and sisters from Oakland and the Bay Area. --Read More from dave id--

UPDATE from dave id 11/19: Judge Jacobson ruled that the trial will be held in Los Angeles in 6-12 months. It represents an injustice for it not to be held in Alameda County, but LA was preferred over San Diego by family and community activists, [but SD activists can still contribute with media, support, etc.]

More information: Oscar Grant Coverage on Indybay