Two Years

t_chimurenga_mehserle_trial - 2yrs

2 years.

If you wanted to know what the life of a Black man is worth in the Golden State of California, all you have to do is to check the justice system of the Bay Area and ask how much time did Johannes Mehserle get for the killing of Oscar Grant. There, you would find a judicial system unable to explain how Grant, handcuffed and face down on a BART platform could be sufficient enough of a threat to warrant being shot in the back by a police officer standing on a platform with his foot on Grant’s back. Within both hands reach were two other police officers who could offer support should Grant be getting out of control. Yet Mehserle, claiming to be reaching for a taser, instead, mistakenly (so they say) pulled his Glock and shot Grant, killing him at the scene on New Year’s Day 2009.

2 years.

You might think that Grant and a group of hoodlums had Mehserle surrounded and outnumbered, and in the unexpected gun battle, Grant was killed in a face to face conflict, where Mehserle life was in danger and he was perfectly within his rights to defend himself with lethal force. Only some technicality has him serving any time at all. The same justice system claimed that Mehserle could not get a fair trial in Oakland and move the trial to Simi Valley, the same Valley that acquitted the police that were accused of beating the hell out of Rodney King. The earlier precedent should have been a clue.

2 years.


You might think Grant overpowered Mehserle in some form of martial arts conflict where the officer was forced to choose to end Grant’s life or die because Grant managed to overcome the larger stronger officer with some martial arts technique that Mehserle was unaware of. That Grant weighed sixty pounds less than Mehserle should surprise no one. He needed to be shot, he was simply too dangerous to subdue any other way.

2 years.

If you are a Black man in America, you can expect that if you kill a policeman who is in the line of duty, you will serve a minimum of 25 years and likely to spend the rest of your life in prison, in one of the harshest prison systems in the world, without worrying about getting a parole before the 12th year of your incarceration. If you should kill a police officer by accident and get a manslaughter charge, you can still expect to have to spend at least 2-15 years in prison. Don’t bother telling me about equality in America, or that racial parity has been achieved, or that institutionalized racism is dead, so said the Republican black Congressional candidate for the state of Florida. Let’s hope, Mister West, you never have to bet your life on that.

2 years.

The life of a Black man who is not a policeman and the life of a white man who is should, theoretically be the same. They should be weighed the same, should, intrinsically on the face of it, have the same value. 4 kidneys, 4 eyes, 4 legs, 4 arms, 2 livers, 2 hearts; yes, on the face of it, internally the same, but outside of that, culture and society have allowed one of those systems to be worth 25 years of punishment, and the other to be worth only

2 years.

ScreenHunter_239 Feb. 25 10.12

Where is the outrage? Who are the criminals? Where is the justice? And given the number of young Black men who have died violently since Oscar Grant, where is the change?

3 responses to “Two Years

  1. “Justice is never truly served if you are Black in America. It is a meal that is always cold, always late, always tastes bad, can’t be sent back, can’t be done over, no oversight by management, no recourse, no refunds, no opportunity to get anything you might actually like on the menu.”

  2. Write On! My brother, unfettered fear fed by imagination feeds into the weak minded soul who thinks they are superior, but in fact they are inferior in every aspect of the human condition……thus their behavior follows into the gutter to which they righteously belong. Their fear is fed by others of the same mindset and they too shall fall under a righteous God….

  3. Pingback: America, Fucked Yeah! | A Matter of Scale

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