For Immediate Release: May 25, 2011
Contact: Cat Brooks (510) 703-1500
Rachel Jackson (510) 390-6420
On Wednesday, June 1st, Johannes Mehserle, the former BART officer convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the murder of unarmed Oscar Grant III, will go before Judge Perry for the first time since his sentencing on November 5, 2010. The purpose of the hearing is to both assess whether Mehserle has served enough of his two year sentence to be paroled and to appeal several aspects of his original conviction. The community of Oakland will respond accordingly: With Outrage.
“As far as we are concerned, Mehserle is a murderer,” said Rachel Jackson of the New Years Movement. “In the state of California, you can get more time for a DUI than he has served for the cold blooded murder of Oscar Grant. It is unacceptable and shameful.”
On Wednesday, June 1st, The Coalition for Justice for Oscar Grant (CJOG) will hold a press conference at 3:00 pm outside of Grant Station (Fruitvale BART). The purpose will be both to denounce the release of Mehserle back on to the streets after serving only 1/3 of a too lenient sentence and to begin to mobilize the Oakland community for an organized response to Mehserle’s release on the day he walks out of Los Angeles County Jail.
“From the verdict to the sentencing, the system has continuously tried to withhold the information of the exact date in an effort to dilute the community response,” said Cat Brooks, co-chair of the ONYX Organizing Committee. “And each time they have failed. Just as we have on every important marker of this historic event, we will organize, mobilize and respond to the injustice of this racist system. And we will do it on the day he walks out of jail.”
Additionally, members of the CJOG will receive community members at both Grant Station AND at 14th and Broadway and will engage attendees in several outreach activities; including handing out hundreds of flyers BOTH on BART and throughout Oakland neighborhoods to inform and engage the whole of Oakland. Media and camera crews are invited and encouraged to join these activists as they make their way on the BART train and on foot to spread the word of Mehserle’s upcoming release and the community’s planned response.
“What we have found is that a lot of people don’t know he is getting out so soon”, said Kim Rorbach of the CJOG. “But once they find out, they are angry. Each turn of events in this case is like being repeatedly slapped in the face. He didn’t even really go to prison. He has sat comfortably in the Los Angeles County Jail being treated like a king. It’s disgusting.”