Justice for Oscar Grant
Youth Justice Coalition
Digital Print, 2010
Los Angeles, California
Oscar Grant, an unarmed 22-year-old black man, was shot and killed by Johannes Mehserle, a white BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) police officer, at a station platform in Oakland on New Year's Day in 2009. Mehserle fired a single round as he stood over Grant, who was lying face-down on the subway platform. Grant was struck in the back and died hours later. The shooting was captured on cell phone cameras by several passengers on the crowded train. Some of the footage was broadcast on television and the Internet, stirring public outrage, including riots on the streets of Oakland on Jan. 7, 2009. The video of Mehserle shooting Grant can be seen on YouTube or linked through the Huffington Post.
Mehserle, 28 years old, had been on the force for less than two years, and resigned from the department days after the shooting. His trial began in Los Angeles this week. The trial was moved from the Bay Area, where the shooting occurred, to Los Angeles, due to the extensive media coverage in the Bay Area. More cynical interpretations see this as a scheme to bury the case under the outpouring of celebrity news endemic to Los Angeles. Murder charges are rarely filed against police officers in connection with an on-duty shooting, and legal experts say convictions of officers are difficult. The L.A. Times reported that the jury, which includes no blacks, is expected to hear testimony for two to four weeks.
The racially tinged case has evoked parallels with the 1992 trial of four Los Angeles police officers accused of beating Rodney G. King. All four were acquitted, sparking riots in Los Angeles.
This poster is simultaneously publicizing the case and promoting action by calling for people to monitor the trial.