Activists protest involuntary manslaughter verdict in Mehserle shooting case

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Corey Moore/KPCC

Aigge Patterson leads a protest at Leimert Park against the involuntary manslaughter verdict in the Mehserle case

Protesters in Los Angeles are expressing outrage over the verdict handed down in the case of Johannes Mehserle.

An L.A. jury yesterday found the white former transit officer guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Oscar Grant, an unarmed African-American man. The incident happened early on New Year’s Day 2009 during a confrontation at an Oakland train station.

Soon after the announcement of yesterday’s verdict, dozens of demonstrators gathered at Leimert Park in South L.A. Aigge Patterson led the protest.

“Our coalition’s stance and across California with all the coalitions for Oscar Grant is straight up and down that anything other than a murder conviction is not justice," Patterson shouted into a microphone. "Anything less for what we would have gotten for committing the same cold-blooded murder is not justice of any sort. And we are not going to stand for anything less. We are not going to allow them to get away with murder over and over and over again y'all."

Protesters at Leimert Park carried signs that said “Justice for Oscar Grant” as others took the microphone and expressed their outrage.

Architect Raz Karl was there. The father of two young sons expressed anger over the verdict. He admitted that it may deliver a tough lesson to Oscar Grant’s family.

“Oscar Grant’s parent and uncles – I’ve been hearing them talk," said Karl. "I haven’t heard one thing about what they taught him. I think Oscar’s mistake, being a young dad, is you can’t be going out on New Year’s Day fighting with nobody. And unfortunately I’m going to hold Oscar to that first action.”

Prosecutors said the officer meant to shoot Grant because he thought the young man was resisting arrest. That’s why they sought a second-degree murder conviction. But the jury decided on involuntary manslaughter.

Sentencing for Johannes Mehserle is scheduled for August 6.

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