Grant, Mehserle - A Role Reversal
Having listened to Mumia Abu Jamals' commentary the other day regarding the Oscar Juliuss Grant III verdict & why people were still outraged, i wanted to repeat Mumia's observance here, with my own observations.
After former BART pig Johannes Sebastian Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter on Thursday July 8th, many Whites, afew [mentally enslaved] Blacks, & particularly all in corporate media expressed a collective bewilderment that folks in Oakland & elsewhere were still outraged. How could Wanda Johnson, Oscar Grants' bereaved mother, be soo ungrateful, many undoubtedly wondered? Mehserle was CONVICTED for Pete sakes; the system worked! As corporate media kept showing the same loop of rioters in Oakland over & over, it's as if they were asking,: "Damn, what do YOU PEOPLE want now?" Now there's undoubtedly some neo-liberal Whites who regularly lurk this site, occasionally chiming in, who may be asking the same question,: "What are they soo mad about if the guy was convicted?"
Well, here's a reversal scenario. Imagine this:
Oscar Grant went out on New Years Eve earlier that day looking for trouble.
He guns down a police officer in the back on a subway platform, in cold blood.
This crime happens in full view of dozens of riders.
Moving video & audio of the crime is captured on many cell phones from various angles.
Grant immediately flees to another state before he's arrested.
Would Grant be able to have his entire defense paid for by the state?
Would Grant be able to have his trial postponed several times over?
Would he be able to have his trial placed in Los Angeles, hundreds of miles away from the crime scene?
Would he be able to have a jury of mostly his own peers, racially, with an Asian & afew Hispanics, with all Whites weeded out from a jury pool that started with 200 people?
Would Grant have been convicted of the LEAST POSSIBLE OFFENSE of involuntary manslaughter, where he would face a possible minimum of 5 years to a maximum of 14 years [with a gun enhancement conviction]?
Now media & right-wing commentators can take afew broken windows, a handful of arrests, & a bunch of shouting protesters & blow it out of proportion all they want. But just imagine the nation-wide tsunami of WHITE RAGE that would follow a Black man gunning down a White cop, then being convicted of involuntary manslaughter. Think about that for abit. A mostly Black jury with NO Whites on it, handing a Black man the least possible conviction they could for murdering a White officer, in a trial moved hundreds of miles away from where the killing occurred, of which the murderer could receive a possible sentence of as little as 5 years. We'd see dozens of tea-bagger/klan rallies all over the country, burning Grant in effigy & demanding his immediate lynching. The judge, Grant's lawyer/family, etc. would be inundated with countless death threats. Conservative politicians running for office would instantly make Grant their new "Willie Horton", the new political ads would be rolling out within days of the verdict (this being an election year). You can also count on a new wave of hate crimes & racist attacks on Blacks everywhere. Of course, the president would be forced to step in. He would either have to make an example out of Grant, or face White rage in 2012 - so much for that 2nd term.
Now, even if Mehserle were found NOT guilty on all counts, the [rightful] outrage you'd get as a result would be utterly dwarfed in comparison to the sort of racist hysteria that would follow the lightest possible conviction of a Black man killing a White cop. This country is already locked in a vice-grip of debilitating, stifling bigotry & many on-line cowards already regard Mehserle as a "martyr" while insiting on Grant's "supposed" criminality.
But i guess the point i was trying to make is void by the fact that Mehserle was a cop while Grant was simply a civilian. That's because cops are automatically given the benefit of a doubt, no matter what, regardless of any/all circumstances. Because people [generally] like to think that cops truly are here to "protect & serve" & you can't possibly judge them all over the actions of afew "bad apples". Which is why it's standard procedure for a cop to receive PAID VACATION whenever they shoot someone (not having to stick your neck out for the same paid is a huge incentive for cops to shoot people). Which is why a cop can MURDER an innocent unarmed man & have it ruled an "accident", or claim that he "thought he was going for a weapon". Which is why such "bad apples" receive the full brotherly love of all their fellow cops, who're even willing to march on city hall by the hundreds claiming to be him/them, over a pissant disciplinary decision. Which is why when one of these pigs MURDERS someone, it's never ever regarded as the MURDER that it is in almost all media outlets, including free "progressive" weeklies. Which is why when-ever one of these pigs murders someone, they're largely protected by anonymity by the media. Which is why it's soo exceedingly rare for a cop to ever even see a court room, much less a conviction of any sort, when they've murdered someone. And as we all know, a city or county will far sooner pay out a multi-million dollar settlement rather than fire, or even disciple afew "bad apples". This is all due to the "benefit of doubt" that cops are afforded. Not so for Black men. Only the worse is expected & assumed of 'us'. Which is why even as Mehserle was fleeing to Zephyr Cove, Nevada, immediately after that murder the media & many White people were openly speculating as to just what kind of "thug" they assumed Oscar was, what kind of "no-good" he was up to that night, what he & his "trouble-making" friends were doing to "provoke" BART officers to begin with, etc. Which is EXACTLY why it was soo damned important that Grant's murder was captured on video [& why the cops that night were confiscating people's cell phones]. Because nobody would've believed it, otherwise. Though the fact is, there's a particular history in Oakland & surrounding cities of Blacks being murdered by these pigs ALWAYS getting away with it.
Oscar's murder was no anomaly, except that it's been soo thoroughly documented on video. So the outrage we've seen in that city & surrounding areas following such a pitiful verdict has alot of history behind it. Also, the likely probability that Meserle will be sentenced to far less than the 14 year max, & even then end up serving just a portion of that time. And after afew years in prison (assuming he even does that much time) Meserle will be freed & who's to say his life won't be in complete ruins. Like any true sociopath, Meserle hasn't at all been moved by the fact that he murdered this unarmed man, creating a fatherless child & a grieving mother in the process - sorry only for what impact this has had on HIS life. Mehserle has his own family & many of his own supporters as well. Even now a PRO-Meserle rally is being planned in his "honor" http://sfist.com/2010/07/13/walnut_creek_to_hold_pro-mehserle_r.php. In attendence you can expect your usual garden variety of tea-baggers, cop-lovers, & racist thugs. So his sorry-ass life still has potential years down the road.
But Oscar Grant's dead, his potential having come to an abrupt ruthless end on Jan.1st 2009. And people have the nerve to wonder why Folks in Oakland are [still] outraged...
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