On Eve of Johannes Mehserle’s Release, Hundreds Peacefully Protest in Oakland
Hundreds of people rallied and marched through the streets of Oakland yesterday to demonstrate against the imminent release of former Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) policeman Johannes Mehserle from a Los Angeles jail. Mehserle served 216 days for involuntary manslaughter for the shooting death of 22-year-old Oscar Grant on New Year’s Day 2009. After an altercation on a BART train early that morning, BART police detained Grant and two other passengers. Grant was lying face-down on the ground with his hands behind his back when Mehserle shot him in the back, killing him. The officer argued that he meant to use his taser, not kill Grant. A Los Angeles jury believed him.
Moral Low Ground was present at yesterday’s rally and march, which began with a gathering at the Fruitvale BART station. Numerous speakers addressed the crowd, which numbered in the low hundreds, including Grant’s mother Wanda Johnson and Grant family attorney John Burris. Grant’s five-year-old daughter Tatiana appeared alongside some of the speakers.
“Oscar, if he was here, he would be so overwhelmed and so thankful that everyone has come together to get justice,” Johnson declared before the rally turned into a 3.3 mile (5.3 km) march that ended at the 12th Street/Oakland City Center BART station.
Just hours after the peaceful protest ended, Mehserle was quietly released from a Los Angeles prison at 12:01 am. He snuck out the rear door and disappeared back into freedom. His current location is unknown.
Moral Low Ground’s raw footage of yesterday’s protest march:
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