The Bay area transit officer convicted of killing Oscar Grant will go free on Monday after serving less than a year in jail.

Johannes Mehserle, a white former Bay Area Rapid Transit cop was convicted last July for the shooting of Oscar Grant, a black unarmed man on an Oakland train station platform on New Year’s Day 2009. The incident was captured on video by onlookers and quickly uploaded onto YouTube, where it was watched by thousands of viewers online.   In the clip, Mehserle is seen shooting Grant in the back with his firearm while Grant lay face down on the ground. According to police reports, Grant had allegedly been pulled off the train for fighting.

During a tearful testimony at his trial, Mehserle said that he had simply been arresting Grant for resisting an officer, claiming he thought he had pulled his stun gun to subdue Grant and mistakenly pulled his .40-caliber pistol instead.

The case sparked outrage in Oakland and throughout the country as many felt Oscar Grant’s unjust killing was another example of police using their authority to inflict brutality. The trial was moved from Alameda County to Los Angeles in December of 2009 after a local judge ruled that “pretrial publicity and the threat of violence” would make it impossible for Mehserle to have a fair trial. None of the jurors chosen to hear the trial were black.

Given his mistaken weapon use defense, jurors in Los Angeles convicted Mehserle of criminal negligence instead of murder. He was sentenced to two years for involuntary manslaughter sparking riots and protests. In the hours following the announcement of the verdict, more than 150 people protesting Oscar Grant’s wrongful death were arrested in Oakland, the city which has struggled with racial tensions running decades back.

Now, the Alameda County District Attorney’s office has confirmed that Mehserle has been granted early release for good conduct. Oscar Grant’s uncle, Bobby Johnson, says that he was notified that the man who killed his nephew will be released on Monday. He says that the news has added insult to injury for his grieving family and the community:

“What really hurts is that we are just expected to get on with our lives. How can we?” Johnson said. “We’ve been dealt with a racist criminal justice system that has denied our true rights to justice…This whole thing was staged. It was planned. It was acted out. It has brought this type of conclusion.”

It is unclear where Mehserle will head after he leaves prison, but Oakland and Los Angeles police say they are preparing for protestors to take the streets following his release. Many who have followed the case say that Mehserle’s early release may spark a wave of unrest from the community that has not healed or forgotten last fall.

When asked what he expects the reaction to be to Mehserle’s early release, Grant’s uncle Johnson says he hopes that protestors will express themselves and stick together:

“I hope what happens is that we stand together, share our experiences and speak to the injustices that occur in our communities. Voices can be heard when there’s unity.”

What do you think of Mehserle’s early release from prison after shooting Oscar Grant? Do you think it’s fair he served less than a year for taking a man’s life? Tell us what you think Clutchettes and gents- weigh in!

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  • J

    Since the dawn of the creation of this nation it has been open season on negroes. This just furthers my conviction that there are no repurcussions for cops who shoot black men.

    • JustSaying…

      Why exactly do you expect repercussions for cops when there are BARELY any repercussions both inside and outside the black community for black men that kill other black men??? Where is your outrage for that??

      Funny how it’s only a tragedy when the killing is done by someone non-black.

    • WoW

      @ J

      Thank you for saying that. Everyday in the Bay a black male dies @ the hands of another black male. No one is outraged. No one is marching and no one is concerned. In fact no one says any thing due to the ‘no snitching’ commandment set down by a bunch of criminals that have replace the Masons and Ministers.

    • WoW

      oops> This comment was for @JustSayin’

  • J

    I never said that black on black crime isn’t t a tragedy, and I never said that there shouldn’t be repercussions for black men who kill other black men, or anybody who commits a murder period, but this article is about the shooting of an unarmed black man. As a cop I would expect him to be held to a higher standard than the rest of us. I would expect him to know the difference between a taser and a gun, and I would expect him to be held accountable for his actions. He got off with a slap on the wrist and that is a tragedy.

    • Jtao

      Your wasting your time responding to Justsaying. She hates black men and would rather blame the victim in this case.

    • cupcakes and shiraz

      Um yeah- you’re wasting your keystrokes. JustSayin… seems to have deep issues with black men so don’t bother arguing with her.

  • ……………..

    FOCKING RASCIST MUTHA-FOCKERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Britlliance

    Commenting on articles gives empty power to weak-minded individuals like Justsaying so they can feel important like their opinion matters when they only have the ability to sit behind a computer screen and make comments they wouldn’t dare say to anyone in Real Life so even acknowledging foolishness like her comments doesn’t solve or address the issue that is most important, which is police brutality. So getting back to the issue at hand I know that this world is a world of sin no matter who is killing who or why. At the end of the day coming together as a united community from coast to coast is a promising idea in theory but execution is where the true work has to be done and because of all our selfish, self centered nature, the cohesiveness that we long for can never be achieved. As someone has already said every last one of these steps have been calculated and in the times we live in it should come as no surprise that he would be released, because the systems in place were not designed with people of color in mind. They are still using instances like this one as fear tactics to keep everyone in line. I can’t be too sure but I would hope that everyone who weighs in on these issues realizes that the tactics used by Willie Lynch are still being used today but can be cleverly hidden and masked by media but they are still alive and well so, of course it is not fair but nothing in this world has proven otherwise so the shock value is very low. I just would advise him to be very careful wherever he does end up because as “forgiving” as they were in releasing hi
    m, the community he ends up in may not be.

  • Fox

    What JustSaying means, I think, is that black life is viewed as worthless in the courts. Plus, we are so numb to black men killing each other and people are only outraged when a white person (especially a COP) kills a black person. I get what the commenter is trying to say.

    • JustSaying…

      Thank you. It’s amazing how people on this site try to act brand new or deflect to my supposed “black man hating” when faced with bitter reality. Black people are indeed NUMB to black on black crime but waste no time crying foul when the situation involves non-white people. I’m done here.

    • JustSaying…

      *non-black people

    • Clnmike

      That’s not what Bobbo the Baboon is trying to say at all Dr. Dolittle, not one damn bit.

    • Fox

      Bobbo the Baboon and Dr. Dolittle? Nice… Dr. Dolittle still believes the courts discount the black lives like we ain’t shit.

    • JustSaying…

      I don’t want to hear ish about black men getting dropped by white cops.

      When black people start showing this SAME amount of outrage whenever a BLACK MAN commits a crime against another BLACK person (which is 10 times MORE likely to happen than a black man being killed by a white/non-black person) come back and talk to me.

      The reality is black men have a CLEAR disregard for black life themselves. So why get mad when others in society share that same disregard?? It is hypocritical to sit around mad about this white cop while not saying a damn thing about Ray-Ray killing other black men EVERYDAY.

      Do you people know that a black man is FAR more likely to lose his life to another BLACK man than any white racist?? Do you get that? If not here is a link…


      *Crickets* don’t hear a thing about this FACT. You people are so used to being mental “victims” of the so-called oppressor that you can’t see the truth.