Family wants maximum punishment for officer who killed Oscar Grant

originally published by: The Final Call
30th July 2010

The family of Oscar Grant, III. has launched a letter writing campaign asking a judge to impose the maximum prison term for his killer at the sentencing date scheduled for Nov. 6 2010.

Johannes Mehserle, a former Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) police officer, shot the 22-year-old Black man in the back on a station platform in Oakland, Calif., on New Year’s Day 2009. He is the first cop in California ever to be tried and convicted of killing a Black man in the line of duty.

On July 8, an L.A. jury, consisting of no Blacks, convicted Mr. Mehserle of involuntary manslaughter. The jury found that he acted negligently, but did not intend to kill Mr. Grant.

Mr. Mehserle claimed that he intended to use his taser instead of his gun. Without the gun enhancement, he could be freed on probation, but if L.A. Criminal Court Judge Robert Perry keeps the enhancement charge, he could face anywhere from five to 14 years in prison.

“No one wants to see him get a slap on the wrist and be sent home, not for a murder he committed,” said Cephus “Uncle Bobby” Johnson, Mr. Grant’s uncle.

At press time, in addition to writing letters to Judge Perry, Mr. Johnson said he was set to meet with members of the International Longshoreman and Warehouse Union in San Francisco to schedule a march and rally to protest his nephew’s murder.

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