Jan 08 2010
A little over a year ago, on January 1, 2009, a young Black man was fatally shot by a white police officer in San Francisco’s East Bay. Unarmed, and with his stomach to the floor, twenty two year old Oscar Grant was shot in the back by a BART police officer at a subway station in Oakland on New Year’s Day. Cell phone camera videos by various on-lookers made their way onto YouTube and television networks, igniting anger in and around the neighborhood of the Fruitvale Bay Area Rapid Transit stop where the shooting took place. According to news reports, Oscar Grant was one of a small group of men restrained by police after reports of a fight. Various pieces of footage show Grant shoved to the ground by one officer, while another police officer, Johannes Mehserle, stood over Grant, pulled out his gun, and shot him in the back. Six months after the incident, Mehserle was indicted as the first police officer ever to be charged with murder in the history of California. One year after the incident, Oscar Grant’s family gathered at the Fruitvale station to commemorate his death. Due to extensive media coverage of the murder in Oakland, the trial was moved from Alameda County to Los Angeles County. He is due to appear in the Superior Court of Los Angeles today to begin scheduling dates for his upcoming murder trial, which some officials say could start as early as this June.
GUEST: Thandisizwe Chimurenga, assistant editor of the LA Watts Times, KPFK Programmers, and an embedded journalist with the LA Coalition for Justice for Oscar Grant