Grant's Family: Mehserle "Must Suffer"

By Jodi Hernandez
|  Monday, Jun 13, 2011  |  Updated 2:12 PM PDT
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Grant's Family: Mehserle "Must Suffer"

Mike Anderson

A demonstrator wears an Oscar Grant mask in downtown Oakland, California, on July 8, 2010 after BART cop Johannes Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Grant III. (Photo by Mike Anderson)

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"His name is Johannes I'm calling to tell you there's a change in custody status."

That's the call Oscar Grant's uncle, Bobby Johnson, got just after midnight letting him know Johannes Mehserle, the former BART police officer who shot and killed an unarmed Oscar Grant in 2009, had been released from jail. 

"Let's be clear. We did not receive justice in this whole proceeding we've been denied our rights," Johnson said Monday in Los Angeles. "I'm here to tell you this fight is not over."

Protesters in Los Angeles marched from the courthouse to the federal building Monday to show their outrage over the release. Mehserle, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter last July, served one year for the killing.

Back in Oakland, a group of Grant family supporters filed a class action lawsuit against the Oakland Police Department.

"They couldn't even wait a minute to let him out," said Julia Wallace, an organizer of Monday's protest in Los Angeles. "They were so eager to let a killer cop out on the street.

Mehserle's attorney, Michael Rains, speaking by phone, insisted his client meant to fire his Taser and not his gun on the night Grant was killed. He said Mehserle hopes to apologize to the Grant family in person.

"In my opinion he served far too much time," Rains said. "In my opinion he didn't commit a crime because he made a tragic mistake and that negates the existence of a crime.

"He wants them to know how sorry he is and how sincere he is. I'd like to see that day come too."

But Johnson says his family is not ready to accept an apology.
 
"I will see that as a fake apology and I will not accept it," he said.

Grant's uncle says he doesn't believe Mehserle is sorry. Not even for a second. And he's determined to make sure he never stops paying for his crime. 

"Not only will you be in prison in your mind but your whereabouts where you live will never be just back to normal," Johnson said. "You must suffer for the rest of your life for the crime you perpetrated on an innocent young man."
 

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