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Shooting of unarmed youth deemed a non-violent offense

Thandisizwe Chimurenga | 5/25/2011, 1:05 a.m.

“It’s insane that he only did a year in jail and Oscar Grant is dead ... it just makes no sense to me,” said Starr.

Sheilagh Polk, a former Los Angeles resident who moved to Oakland four years ago, felt that the charge of Involuntary Manslaughter never should have been an option. “Mehserle ... should have been convicted of Second Degree Murder; he pulled out his gun, cocked it, pulled the trigger and executed an unarmed, young black man with full confidence that he would get away with it. And he did,” she said.

Davey D, a journalist and 20-year resident of the Bay Area, felt that the non-violent designation was just one more indicator of the justice system’s failure to work for African Americans.

“At the end of the day, this is just a repudiation of black life,” he said. “That’s what this all boils down to — the verdict, the picking of the jury, the sentencing — this is all a refusal to acknowledge and see black life as something that is valuable.”

Whenever the sentencing review hearing is held, Patino says, as a matter of policy the CDCR will not release the specific date and time of Mehserle’s release. “It’s for the safety of the inmate, our employees, and many times, the public,” he said.

New America Media