Hayes: No justice for Oscar Grant

Updated
By The Rachel Maddow Show
Chris Hayes Thursday tonight, on the Oscar Grant verdict: “A tragic trial ended with a bewildering verdict today in Los Angeles, California. “The case began on New Year’s Day, 2009, when Oakland police received a report that there had been a fight on a Bay Area Rapid Transit train. When officers arrived, they detained a 22-year-old African American man named Oscar Grant and four of his friends. Then, transit police officer Johannes Mehserle arrived on the scene. As one officer kneeled on Oscar Grant’s neck, Officer Mehserle shot Mr. Grant in the back. He shot Oscar Grant, an unarmed man who had committed no crime. A man who witnesses say was attempting to diffuse the situation. The trial of former Officer Mehserle was moved from Oakland to Los Angeles due to extensive media coverage in the Bay Area. Los Angeles prosecutors have not won a murder conviction in a police shooting since 1983. “Officer Mehserle testified that he accidentally drew his gun, located on his right side, thinking it was his taser, which he kept on his left. Today, the Los Angeles County jury of four men and eight women could have found the former officer guilty of second-degree murder, which carries a sentence of 15 years to life. But instead, after deliberating for about six hours over two days, they found Johannes Mehserle guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Oscar Grant. The conviction carries a sentence of two to four years. “What happened to Oscar Grant, a man who had committed no crime that day on the BART was, as it happens, caught on tape. I want you to take a look. The officer stands up and fires a shot down, killing Oscar Grant. “It’s hard to know what to say after seeing that video and seeing the verdict it resulted in. You can note that there was not a single African American juror. That it was in Los Angeles instead of Oakland. That even if Officer Mehserle was reaching for his taser it was completely and totally uncalled for. Was he going to put a jolt in Grant as he lay prone, for no reason? “You can say that there are a lot of people in Oakland and California and across the country tonight dealing once again with a criminal justice system which seems unremittingly punitive when people that look like they do are accused of horrible things, and impossibly forgiving when those same people are the victims. Justice is rooted in fairness. This verdict specifically, and the system of criminal justice and law enforcement we’ve created in this country, isn’t fair. “And it’s not justice.”
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Hayes: No justice for Oscar Grant

Updated