Oscar Grant Verdict Comes Back as Involuntary Manslaughter; Bloggers React

BlogHer Original Post

New Year's Day, 2009. An unarmed man, Oscar Grant, was shot in the back at an Oakland, California BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) station by transit cop Johannes Mehserle. The shooting was caught on cell phone video. Mehserle was charged with murder, but the first verdict, which was handed down tonight, came back as involuntary manslaughter, which by itself holds a maximum 2-4 year sentence.

Mehserle was also found guilty of using a gun, which, according to the Silicon Valley Mercury News,

could make him ineligible for probation, give him a strike under the state's "Three Strikes Law," and add additional years to his sentence which will be decided, next month, by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Perry.

Because of the gun enhancement conviction, the Mercury News estimates Mehserle will be given a sentence ranging from a minimum of five years to a maximum of 14 years in state prison.

OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 30:  Javone Sloan holds a sign saying 'Justice For Oscar Grant' during a protest of court case involving a Bay Area transit officer outside of the Alameda County Superior Court January 30, 2009 in Oakland, California. A three million dollar bail was set for former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle, who was arrested for murder after he shot and killed an unarmed man on New Years Day.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

When the video of the shooting was released in January 2009, it touched off "several nights of protests in Oakland," according to Colorlines, which also reports that "city officials have been frantically preparing for months for large scale protests that are now expected in the city tonight."

But the protests tonight have also been verbal, and people have voiced their feelings in blog posts and tweets about the verdict.

A Roundup of Responses to the Oscar Grant Verdict

  • Artise1 cannot fathom how an event caught on video could produce this ruling.
  • LilianaSegura points out the irony in a newscaster's statement.
  • TommySchillz doesn't understand how the term "involuntary" could come into play.
  • Saeedjones wishes the focus would be on the verdict rather than possible riots.
  • BlogHer Contributing Editor Genie Gratto tweeted her trip home in Oakland, and posted video of reaction downtown just after the verdict was announced.
  • AndreasHale begs us not to wait for Obama's response and points out that "Movements start from the bottom up, not the top down."
  • Newsday reports that Grant's family is upset with the verdict.
  • LA Times reports on the reaction of the family as well as those around California.

Are you outraged by the verdict of involuntary manslaughter in the Oscar Grant case?

Melissa writes Stirrup Queens and Lost and Found. Her book is Navigating the Land of If.

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