A jury in California yesterday convicted a white former transit police officer of involuntary manslaughter for shooting Oscar Grant, an unarmed Black man, in Oakland on New Year’s Day 2009. The slaying was video recorded from multiple angles via camera phones.
The former officer under the sentencing guidelines may get between two to four years in prison.
Corporate media is once again failing in its coverage of the civil unrest, which broke out last night after the verdict by painting it as “rioting” and “looting.” Though destruction of private and public property is completely wrong and illegal, no historical context, be it the systematic police brutality that Black males have endured since the era of Reconstruction to excessive verdicts against Black males in the criminal justice system compared to Whites, has been mentioned in mainstream corporate media. This is why the people of Oakland went to the streets, not because they are angry Black people who were looking for the first opportunity to steal some televisions and yell at “the pigs.”
This murderer may do the same jail time or even less than NFL football player Plaxico Burress, who was convicted to two years in prison for weapons charges where he shot himself. Yes, he shot himself. Moreover, the murderer may do the same time or less than NFL football player Michael Vick, who did two years in prison for being cruel to animals (dog fighting).
I can’t help but being taken back mentality to when I heard of the news last October when Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah was shot 21 times by the FBI, and instead of law enforcement calling for emergency assistance for him, they used their helicopter to medivac an FBI attack dog to an animal hospital, even stopping car traffic in the process. I’m still waiting on the video surveillance footage that was taken by the FBI during his homocide.
Either way you cut it, it seems that the lives of Black men in America aren’t valued especially in the American criminal justice system. The question is, what are we going to do about it outside of going to the streets for a day, which then further dehumanizes us and paints us in the media as uncontrollable animals rioting in the streets?