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Monday, July 12, 2010

Civil Rights Feel Violated After Lesser Conviction

When a white ex-transit officer was convicted of involuntary manslaughter instead of murder in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man in Los Angeles, violent protests erupted with stores being damaged and dozens being arrested. Prosecutors had sought a murder conviction in the death of Oscar Grant; Justice Department officials announced they would look into whether the case warrants federal prosecution. The anger was not quite reminiscent of the Rodney King verdict, but protesters were quite angry nonetheless. Race relations has long been a problem in the Los Angeles area, and this latest situation only compounded the problem.

Police state they made 83 arrests following the announcement of the verdict. Approximately twelve businesses were damaged in the rioting, and fires were set in trash bins. A small bomb was even set off near a police station, but, thankfully, no one was injured.

The crime that led to the trial was that 28-year-old Johannes Mehserle, a former transit officer, pulled his real gun instead of his taser and shot Oscar Grant in the back while he lay face down while being restrained to be arrested. The jury found that the defendant did not intend to kill Grant but that his behavior was still so negligent that it was criminal. Involuntary manslaughter convictions carry a 2-4 year prison term.

If you feel your civil rights have been violated, The Cochran Firm stands ready to hear the details of your case. We have over 25 offices nationwide to serve you. Please contact an office near you today.

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posted by Benjamin A. Irwin at 6:20 AM

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