My thoughts about yesterday’s town hall meeting for Oscar Grant
by Ner City
original story: http://bit.ly/9di80X
First of all I would like to thank Josh Healey for giving me the 411 about this meeting. Josh excuse my language but you’re a real a** mutha fucka for real.
Yesterday’s town hall meeting was very interesting. It was sad that it wasn’t really a “Town Hall Meeting” but more like a “Street Hall Meeting”. What I mean by that was I wish there were more people there. No Oakland Raider, Athletic, Golden State Warrior rep, no KMEL rep, KTVU, NBC, CBS, ABC (Shout out to Greg Bridges from KPFA for being there) but besides him and maybe a few people from grassroots movements everyone else seemed M.I.A. The church was maybe half full. Maybe a lot of people were like me out of the loop and found out about this meeting at the last minute or not knowing at all. *shrugs*
Things that I learned:
There are tiers to Manslaughter, Involuntary Manslaughter & 2nd Degree murder. Meaning that a person convicted of involuntary manslaughter can still get a lot of years if a gun was involved. Same for Manslaughter & 2nd degree murder. So if Mehserle gets a guilty verdict for whatever he can still have 10-21 years added mandatory. .
There were some disturbing things that I learned also. As reported on my status update Mehserle was kicked out of the same high school where he was voted “Most huggable” for slapping a Latina woman. This evidence was not allowed in court for some strange reason.
The Judge’s final instructions to the jury were that if they felt that Mehserle was going for his taser they must find him not guilty.
Things that moved me:
Oscar Grant’s mother being there. It’s one thing to see the woman on TV and try to feel her pain, but it’s a totally different thing to see her in person. She’s a very strong woman and probably wishes she didn’t get so much attention. A mother losing her son has to be the biggest pain ever felt. 9 months carrying the child, all those years raising them and now you have to spend the rest of your life trying to cope without them. Damn.
My feelings about the Town Hall Meeting:
I have mixed feelings. For two hours only 4-5 people spoke. Two Muslim ministers, this guy named “Tony”, Oscar Grant’s uncle, Donald Lacy and the pastor of the church that we were at to wrap things up. Though all of them said things to move the crowd (though some of them started preaching, ranting & going on a tangent a little too long) to me there wasn’t any “So this is what we’re going to do now.” Moments
I wanted to know what are we as a people in this room going to do to spread the message about the different tiers of involuntary manslaughter, manslaughter & murder to the people that don’t know because the news isn’t doing that.
How do you feel if Mehserle gets involuntary manslaughter but gets 14 years? Will you say that it’s “Injustice”? If so will you riot? And speaking of “rioting” I highly doubt one person in that church would throw a brick, kick out a window, jump on a car or start beating white people which is being said by so many people if the verdict doesn’t go their way. My point is that we need to talk to the people that will or might want to do that. Hell, we were on 27th & San Pablo (Just a few blocks where my Grand Father lived in some of the most hood spots) and I bet you a few of these young kids would love to “tear some shit up for injustice and rage”. We need to touch them.
So Monday I’m going to do my part and walk the streets of both East & West Oakland to talk to some of these young men and just to see where their head’s at. People are quick to say that the riots could happen downtown but what about the rest of “The town”? What about the Fruitvale area where Oscar was murdered? What about East Oakland where if you remember our people went wild twice, once over the Raiders winning the AFC championship & another time just because there was suppose to be a Tupac & Dogg Pound concert at the Eastmont Pavilion <—– I’m showing my age. What about Oakland’s west side? Those are questions that need to be asked and addressed don’t you think?
These were the things that Josh and I were talking about as I was dropping him off from the meeting. It was strange how our conversation just stopped when we pulled up & seen two Oakland’s police cars near Josh’s “favorite taco truck”, that just shows you there’s still tension in the air, my question that I asked Josh that I wished I could’ve asked the people in that room, or the mayor or the police chief (Both who weren’t there) this…
My Question- Everybody’s worried about what Oakland is going to do if they don’t get the verdict they want and how are they going to react, but how will Bart Police, Oakland Police, SFPD, Richmond PD, LAPD and every PD in the state of California and outside of it..how will they react (to us) if they do not get the verdict they want? Will they feel that justice was not served and lash out at us in their own special way?
Just something to thing about.
BTW I hate that picture of Oscar Grant wearing all black with the beany. To me it helps play into people’s ignorance and fear of a dangerous black man painting a picture of him being a thug and the media, defense attorney and police on the scene can hype that bs so I found a better one to post.
I will leave this note with a remix to the battle cry that was created from this horrible crime against a young man’s life “I am Oscar Grant, who doesn’t want his Son to be the next Oscar Grant”
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forwarded from a bay activist-
these Town Halls have been happening nearly every Saturday for the last
18 months. Tony Coleman is a great guy, currently standing up to the
city and others for the right of the Oakland Assembly to hold an event
at 14th and broadway. Not sure why he felt he had to put Tony’s name in
quotes. It’s interesting he says no recommendations were made but “his”
idea about going door to door was specifically recommended by the last
speaker. And sorry if he thinks Oscar’s image needs to be scrubbed up
for public presentation, even though it makes no difference as to the
injustice of the murder.
I’ll have full audio up in a few hours and I recommend you check it out
for yourselves if you have time rather than take just accept someone’s
perspective who isn’t sure what he thinks about it and apparently isn’t
very aware of the current issues being fought over regarding verdict day
It’s crazy how the Mayor acts as though nothing and I’ve met him before in a bar. One thing is for sure HOW ARE THE POLICE GOING TO ACT! Are they going to keep killing us and Hunting us down like animals? Are they going to keep shutting down our schools and being the largest gang in america?
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“The Judge’s final instructions to the jury were that if they felt that Mehserle was going for his taser they must find him not guilty.”
if this is true–and i havent seen this reported anywhere else– then this is a shocker. it would seem to invalidate one of the theories of the crime the judge said the jury can consider, namely imperfect self-defense.
“Judge Robert Perry said Wednesday that he will give jurors four options in Johannes Mehserle’s trial: convict him of second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter, or acquit him. For each of the three possible crimes, the judge said, jurors will be given two theories under which they can convict if they choose to.
Second-degree murder theories:
1) Mehserle unlawfully intended to kill Oscar Grant.
2) He intentionally committed an inherently dangerous act, while knowing it was dangerous and acting with conscious disregard for human life.
Voluntary manslaughter theories:
1) Mehserle killed Grant in the heat of passion.
2) He acted in “imperfect self-defense,” based on an actual but unreasonable belief that he needed to use lethal force.
Involuntary manslaughter theories:
1) Mehserle committed a lawful act but with “criminal negligence.”
2) He committed a crime – using excessive force on Grant by deciding to shock him with a Taser – that was not in itself potentially lethal, but became so because of the manner in which it was committed.”
by these definitions, i dont see how drawing a taser must result in acquittal, if the jury finds it was done with conscious regard for human life (which could be explained by the fact that Grant was attempting to place his hands behind his back when he was shot).
is there any other cited source which confirms ner city’s account of jury instructions?
You may wanna talk with the folks at the town hall including oscar’s mom.. bc thats what they all discussed.. The media blackout on this has been glaring especially in LA.. But i doubt you gonna have a townhall and this be brought up and not fully discussed.. If we have the same papers not running Mehserlee’s sordid past why would they fully report everything else.. hell the jury isnt even sequestered yet John Burris is still under gag orders..These are jury instructions
Click to access 1386727507.pdf
(sigh of relief)
ok, i dont see anything there which specifically says belief he was going for the taser = acquittal.
in fact, these instructions are pretty much what the chronicle said.
the key technical legal term is “unlawful act.” if mehserle’s act was lawful, i.e. justified by active resistance, then the alleged taser draw can be considered lawful if the jury believes he didnt in fact intend to pull his gun. if there is no active resistance, i.e. grant was attempting to comply, then drawing and firing any weapon is unlawful and grounds for conviction.
stein addresses this in his closing when he said shooting a man who is attempting to comply is never lawful. he had a freeze-frame image of both of grant’s uncuffed hands behind his back four-tenths of a second after he was shot.
this is powerful evidence IMO as it supports testimony from eyewitnesses, including pirone. only the video expert who was paid almost 50k rebuts this, and he wasnt there. in fact, if you throw out both the expert witnesses who were paid 100k+ to testify in total, the defense case is full of contradictions and not particularly credible.
if the jury does return a guilty verdict, they can also find a weapon enhancement.
i’ll agree it seems biased to not admit mehserle’s past and include evidence of grant’s pervious encounters with law enforcement, but i’d say the fact a guy was tased before could also be a motive to not want to undergo the same procedure, and not evidence of resistance, especially if this is not supported by testimony.
looking at all the evidence which has been presented, i think pirone could easily have been charged with anything from assault to accessory to murder. the jury did receive instructions not to punish mesherle for pirone’s actions, so this might make a murder 2 conviction less likely. or it might not.
looking at the jury instructions again, the question here is intent/mental state needed to convict on M2 or VM. the judge is saying if you buy the taser excuse, it’s voluntary manslaughter at best because intent to kill isnt present. he does not say, you must acquit of all charges. he does say you must find him not guilty of M2 or VM.
this just goes to the high standard needed to convict on murder as defined by the california penal code, and the differences between types of charges.
so, this should not be constituted as bias on the judge’s part. the jury could find that the taser defense doesnt fit the facts, in which case M2 or VM would be the appropriate charges. in other words, if mehserle’s statement’s, “i thought he was going for a gun” is believed to be intent to draw his gun, then he can be convicted on the more serious charges.