All Articles Tagged "oscar grant"
From The Grio
Fruitvale, a narrative film that depicts the last 24-hours of Oscar Grant’s life, ending with his shooting death by a transit officer, is one of the most buzzed-out films premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
The new film marks Ryan Coogler’s directorial debut. The 26-year-old filmmaker and USC graduate is also the film’s writer.
Based on a true story, Fruitvale stars Michael B. Jordan (Chronicle) as 22-year-old Oscar Grant.
Read more at TheGrio.com.
Happy birthday Latasha Harlins…you would have turned 35 this month. This fact, combined with the recent DUI arrest of Rodney King necessitated this commentary; given the backdrop of the Casey Anthony verdict.
I have to remind myself now that at the age of 41, I’m not young anymore in the objective sense of the word. Maybe relative to senior citizens but that’s about it. Certain events indelibly etched in my memory are only Youtube footnotes in history for the Gen-Y generation.
As the fallout continues from the Casey Anthony verdict, I’ve grown increasingly tired of the questionable comparisons in “outrage” over supposed unexpected verdicts.
True students of relatively recent history should know better.
Directly aligning the O.J. Simpson case to Casey Anthony is flawed and in total ignorance of historical context at best. Yes, the Simpson trial will forever be the yardstick in which all televised trials are measured in terms of media coverage. But if the national media (i.e. Nancy Grace and company) are to indict the justice system; begin with Latasha Harlins and Rodney King. Move forward from there, not O.J. Simpson.
Los Angeles was set ablaze in 1992 in large part to the acquittal of Rodney King, but also in delayed response to the 1991 killing of Latasha Harlins. 5 years of probation, $500 fine and 400 hours community service was the sentence handed down to Korean grocer Soon Ja Du for shooting her in the back and killing 15-year-old Latasha Harlins.
Harlins caught a bullet in the back for allegedly stealing a bottle of orange juice. The store video footage showed the unjustified murder in plain view, which led to Du’s conviction on the charges of voluntary manslaughter.
Du was CONVICTED.
Nevertheless, she never saw a day in jail for shooting an African-American 15-year old child in the back…caught on videotape.
There was no national outrage and barely any Los Angeles mainstream media outrage for that matter. If we are going to honestly and truthfully enter into any discussion as to the inequities and inadequacies of the legal system; Latasha Harlins and Rodney King are far better points of comparison to Casey Anthony, not O.J. Simpson. And even then, the Casey Anthony verdict falls tremendously short.
There is no witness testimony available more objective or accurate than video. Casey Anthony should be in jail, no doubt; reasonable or otherwise. Just stop feigning disgust today, when yesterday there was none for King or Harlins, despite clear video.
If our justice system had failed anyone for all the nation to see, it was long before anyone knew the name Casey Anthony.
That’s not even speaking of the pittance of a sentence for former BART officer Johannes Mehserle in the murder of Oscar Grant, also caught on videotape. Mehserle was released last month after serving only seven months of a 2-year sentence. He too was convicted…with video of the murder.
Murder on video? National Media Outrage? Miscarriage of justice? The civil unrest in the wake of the Du and King verdicts forever changed Los Angeles and America. 51 people murdered, with hundreds of businesses looted and burned. This in many ways set the stage for the African-American response to the O.J. verdict.
Conversely, the Anthony Verdict inspired “twitter unrest” from celebrities and angry commentary from media personality Nancy Grace. To fume over the “flawed” justice system now, relative to OJ Simpson and Casey Anthony going free is indicative of gross historical negligence. There are better cases to rally one’s anger around, both before and after O.J.
The same “outrage” should have been directed at acquitted Robert Blake and the associated jury.
Nobody pays him any mind, even to this day. The same anger should have been directed at Judge Joyce Karlin who “sentenced” Soon Ja Du.
It wasn’t. She was in fact praised for being “courageous” in her sentencing. Again, I will excuse Generation Y. In many instances, they aren’t old enough to remember. The news media encouraging this Casey Anthony circus on the other hand…
African-Americans in large part cheered O.J.’s acquittal in 1995 with the inverted tears of Rodney King and Latasha Harlins just 3 years before. It was a Los Angeles knife which finally, finally cut in the other direction for once.
You can’t understand O.J. without understanding its proximity to King, Harlins and the city of Los Angeles. I remember exactly where I was, watching the verdict with 30 other co-workers in Los Angeles; 28 of them White. After the verdict, I looked at the only other person of color in the room and we instinctively nodded in agreement with each other. Now, they knew what it felt like.
Even still, those outraged at O.J. didn’t understand that there but for the grace of God went I instead of Harlins or King. There was a personal, racial understanding and connection. “We” inherently and personally understood police brutality and verdict injustice.
For the next 5 or so years, the national stories about the failed justice system were either in relation to O.J. Simpson or Jon Benet Ramsey, the 6-year old child beauty contestant found murdered in 1996. Blame was continuously placed on the supposed “stupidity” of the Black jurors in the O.J. Simpson case while the White jurors who voted for acquittal in the Rodney King criminal trial were ignored.
Harlins wasn’t even mentioned.
Casey Anthony likely got away with murder. I don’t say that with any happiness or celebration in my heart. Our imperfect justice system is not built upon any search for truth, it’s an amalgam of legal gamesmanship; a competition like Survivor to outwit, outplay and outlast one’s competition. Casey Anthony won. To the victor go the spoils. And to the seemingly surprised goes this brief history lesson.
Happy Birthday Latasha Harlins, you are not forgotten.
Morris W. O’Kelly (Mo’Kelly) is author of the syndicated entertainment and socio-political column The Mo’Kelly Report. For more Mo’Kelly, http://mrmokelly.com. Mo’Kelly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and he welcomes all commentary. Follow Morris W. O’Kelly on Twitter: @mrmokelly
(AP) — A San Francisco Bay area transit agency Tuesday agreed to pay $1.3 million to the mother of a 22-year-old unarmed black man who was fatally shot by a white transit officer in 2009. The settlement between Bay Area Rapid Transit and Wanda Johnson resolves a $50 million wrongful death and civil rights suit filed in federal court by Grant’s family. ”No amount of money could replace Oscar. Not one dollar or $100 million,” said Johnson during a news conference in Oakland. “My heart feels broken for the loss of my son… “It didn’t have to be this way.” Former BART officer Johannes Mehserle, 29, was convicted last year of involuntary manslaughter for fatally shooting Grant on an Oakland train station platform on New Year’s Day in 2009.
The Los Angeles County Superior Court didn’t use blind folds or gags, but they succeeded in taking away the right of slain Oscar Grant’s family to protest the early release of his murderer.
Former transit officer Johannes Mehserle, 29, was released Monday morning after only serving 11-months of a two year-sentence for involuntary manslaughter. Mehserle, who is white, was convicted of shooting and killing the unarmed Grant, who was black, at a train station in Oakland on New Year’s Day 2009.
Cephus Johnson, Grant’s uncle was on the phone with a court clerk as the judge made his decision to release Mehserle early for good behavior. The clerk told him the hearing on the release would take place Monday morning but when he got to the jail, Mehserle never appeared.
Johnson tells the Los Angeles Times that the situation was “very sneaky.” Mehserle had been allowed to leave out the back door of the jail while Johnson received a recorded message of the release a half-hour after the inmate had left custody.
“We are entitled under the Victim’s Bill of Rights to speak, and we would have liked to be heard,” Johnson said.
About one and a half months ago, he met with the Department of Justice’s civil rights division. The division says they are investigating the case but they “can’t promise any charges at this time.”
So much for putting your faith in the justice system in 2011. This case just goes to show that if you’re a cop and you shoot a black man, more than likely, you can still get away with it.
Tensions continue to brew in California, following the release of a former BART officer who shot an unarmed Black man to death on New Years Eve 2009. Johannes Mehserele was sentenced to a mere two years for involuntary manslaughter and only served one year because of credits for time served while awaiting trial and “good behavior” due to a ruling by L.A. County Superior Court Judge Robert J. Perry last Friday.
Protests are scheduled for Los Angeles and Oakland in the days to come. The racially charged case has been the subject of demonstrations and riots since the beginning, and Meheserle’s light-sentence for the least serious of the available charges led to major civil unrest.
The former BART officer, now 29, has defended himself by stating he “mistakenly” grabbed his pistol instead of his Taser before fatally shooting Grant in the back.
(AP) — A white former San Francisco Bay area transit officer convicted of fatally shooting an unarmed black man is expected to be released from jail next week after serving 11 months of a two-year sentence. Johannes Mehserle is scheduled to be set free Monday from a Los Angeles County jail where he served his time after his high-profile trial was moved to Southern California last year. ”We’ve been informed that he will be released sometime that day,” Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Teresa Drenick said Thursday. Mehserle’s attorney, Michael Rains, declined to comment Thursday on his client’s pending release. Rains recently said in published reports that Mehserle is ready to move on with his life.
(New American Media) — Within 24 hours of the shooting of Oscar Grant – an unarmed, 22-year-old African American killed by a white BART police officer on New Year’s Day 2009 – Oakland rap artist Mistah F.A.B. recorded a poignant, heartfelt tribute titled, “My Life.” F.A.B. recorded the song to “enlighten people to what’s going on.” But given the highly controversial, racially charged subject matter, he said, “I knew that the local radio station wasn’t gonna play it. I knew the clubs weren’t going to play it.” “My Life” was too hot for mainstream outlets to touch. But thanks to the Internet, F.A.B. could bypass those venues and post a video of the song on YouTube. It quickly received more than 15,000 views. “My Life” was also noted on numerous sites around cyberspace, from San Francisco’s Indybay.org to Philadelphia’s OkayPlayer.com to Helsinki’s Multitunes.com. The song appeared as a link more than 45,000 times between January and April 2009.
(New York Times) — Protesters vandalized storefronts and clashed with the police here on Friday night after a white former transit police officer was given what they considered to be a light sentence for the killing an unarmed black man. But protests initially seemed less violent than others that have surrounded the controversial case. The authorities said one officer was hit by a car — perhaps by a police vehicle — and another officer’s gun was stolen and turned on him. That protester was arrested, Police Chief Anthony W. Batts said, and a police police spokesman said 152 people had been arrested. “You have a very aggressive crowd,” Chief Batts said. The demonstrations started after Judge Robert Perry of Superior Court in Los Angeles sentenced the former officer, Johannes Mehserle, to two years in state prison. But the judge dismissed a component of the charges that would have led to more prison time.
(Color Lines) – Oscar Grant’s family has rejected a letter from their son’s killer, ex-BART cop Johannes Mehserle, that was released to the public last Friday. In the three-page letter, which opened with a note to his attorney, Michael Rains, asking that he “make sure this get to the public,” Mehserle said that he did not expect people to understand how sorry he was, but that he felt compelled to make a public statement, regardless.
(NY Post) — The Department of Justice’s civil-rights division will investigate a white Oakland police officer who killed an unarmed black man on a crowded train platform, a case reminiscent of the racially charged 1992 police beating of Rodney King. The feds will step in after Officer Johannes Mehserle, 28, was convicted Thursday of a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter, touching off violent protests that damaged stores and led to 83 arrests.