Oakland edgy, awaits Mehserle verdict

Oscar Grant poster in Oakland store window


Oakland riots, will they or won’t they happen? Johannes Mehserle, the BART cop accused of killing Oscar Grant at the Frutivale station, could face 2nd degree murder (15 years – life), voluntary manslaughter (3 – 11 years), involuntary manslaughter (2 – 4 years), or acquittal. If the latter verdict is read in court, the city of Oakland could explode to bits. Or not.

If you’re not familiar with the case, it is not in dispute that Mehserle shot Grant in the back as Grant was lying on his stomach on the floor of the BART station. Multiple cell phone videos showed this happening. Mehserle says he mistook his gun for his Taser.

My guess – he will be convicted of manslaughter, not second degree murder, and there will serious unrest. If the verdict, God help us, is not guilty, then Oakland could burn. This is a city with a turbulent history. It was the birthplace of both the Hells Angels and the Black Panthers.

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