Oscar Grant had a criminal record, according to the California Department of corrections and Rehabilitation, he served several months in state prison in 2007 and 2008. The Department of Corrections didn’t disclose the offenses for which Grant was sentenced. Grant had 12 separate cases between April 12, 2004, and May 8, 2008. But the records for all of those cases are at the Hayward Hall of Justice and weren’t immediately available.
On New Year’s Day 2009, Oscar Grant was shot by former BART police officer, Mehserle. Mehserle testified that he mistakenly pulled out his pistol instead of a stun gun when he shot and killed an unarmed Oscar Grant, reaching into his pocket, while lying face down on an Oakland train platform. On 8 July, 2010 a jury found former Officer Mehserle Guilty of Involuntary Manslaughter.
There were fears of further trouble if Mehserle had been found not guilty. Police were yesterday deployed in riot gear in case of any outbreaks of violence.
The case has become a cause celebration in the US, with its echoes of the treatment of Rodney King, a black man whose severe beating by police in LA in 1991 was captured on video. The subsequent acquittals of four LAPD officers sparked the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
The verdict means the judges thought Mehserle had been criminally negligent but had not intended to kill Grant.
Mehserle, who is to be sentenced next month, could face anything from five to 14 years in jail.
John Burris, a lawyer representing the family, described it as a “compromise verdict”.
“The system is rarely fair when a police officer shoots an African-American male,” Burris said. “No true justice has been given.”
The trial was held in Los Angeles because of the tension in the Oakland and neighbouring San Francisco over the shooting.
Everyone has a question that this trail could be considered fair. According to the sixth amendment, people are guaranteed the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed. An impartial jury is the key point in this trail highly publicized incidents of police misconduct have adverse effects not only on the victims of abuse but also on public perceptions of the police departments implicated in the incident. Yet the magnitude and longevity of such effects have rarely been investigated.
“Media reporting, however, did effect citizen evaluation of the guilt of the officers involved in the case. The more a citizen read a newspaper or read about the case, the more likely she was to think that the officers were guilty. Concern about crime in the neighborhood was an important predictor of attitudes toward the police, and race effects were much more pronounced after media coverage of the case.”
The problem in this case as well as most cases involving police officers is that not only do many people have unfavorable thoughts of police due to sensationalized media, the fact that race was brought into the issue, but more than all of that is the inability of a mere citizen to empathize with Police Officers and understand their job in the first person. The point is that if you haven’t been there in the heat of the moment, you couldn’t possibly comprehend a verdict made in a split second.
If all still esteem the fairness and freedoms granted by our Bill of Rights and the Constitution then they should hold to them. All should consider the sixth amendment and heed the word impartial in its definition. Then, people must ask themselves if we are honoring the sixth amendment by offering a civilian jury, to a trail, of a police officer.