Originally published on Youthradio.org, the premier source for youth generated news throughout the globe.
By: Denise Tejada
Photo Credit: Denise Tejada/Youth Radio
On New Year's Day 2009, 22-year-old Oscar Grant was shot and killed by former transit officer Johannes Mehserle on the platform of Fruitvale BART station in Oakland. Video of the shooting, recorded on cell phone by bystanders, spread virally, sparking protests in Oakland and gaining national attention. After a jury trial in Los Angeles last summer, Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and received the minimum sentence of two years in state prison. Mehserle returned back to court on June 1st and Judge Robert Perry ruled that Mehserle will be released on Monday. He has served 11 months of his two year sentence.
Tracy Bell-borden, community activist of Onyx, an Oakland group that has been organizing ongoing protests related to the case, says Mehserle's release is the beginning of a new chapter. "We have been waiting for this because the civil lawsuit is just starting."
The shooting stirred up racial tensions in the city, reigniting Oakland's long history of tension between its police force and the community. Mehersle, a white man, was videotaped from multiple angles, shooting Grant, a black man. The incident was followed by violent protests and looting in downtown Oakland.
Onyx is putting together a peace rally this Sunday at Fruitvale Bart Station at 3pm.Karina Vargas, who testified on the first day of former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle's preliminary hearing, returned to the scene of the shooting for the first time in this interview.
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