More protests planned after Mehserle sentencing

November 7, 2010 12:48:19 PM PST
Oscar Grant's family and supporters are planning their next move in response to the minimum 2-year prison sentence given to former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle.

They are targeting Friday's decision by a Los Angeles judge to throw out a gun conviction that could have added 10 years to Mehserle's involuntary manslaughter sentence. They are also promising more protests in Oakland.

Every week since the Oscar Grant killing, his family and supporters have gathered at the Olivet Institutional Missionary Baptist Church in Oakland. There was another strategy session held on Saturday night. Yvette Felarca, who was arrested during Friday night's unrest, is promising more protests.

"We're fighting it. We're fighting the charges," she said. "We don't accept them like we don't accept the decision by the judge to give Mehserle a slap on the wrist."

Their newest target is Judge Robert Perry of Los Angeles. He tossed out a firearm conviction and gave Mehserle the minimum prison term after deciding the BART officer did not intend to kill Oscar Grant with his service weapon.

"We're talking about the procedures it takes to have a judge removed or reprimanded for the mistake that he made," said Grant's uncle, Cephus Johnson.

Mehserle's attorney, Michael Rains, was quick to respond.

"Well, that's laughable. That's my first response, is it's laughable. The judge was a very, very thoughtful judge," he said. "And, he didn't give in to the mob threats and he didn't give in to the threats of intimidation that has characterized this case."

Johnson argues that if Judge Perry gave different instructions, the jury might have convicted Mehserle of a more serious crime.

"Justice for Oscar has been attacked from the judge perspective by his own mistake. That's a judicial error that should not have happened," he said.

Saturday night's meeting lasted a little more than two hours. Reporters were not allowed inside the church and afterward there was only a vague comment about what was to come.

"We're actually going to be holding another protest very soon. We'll be in touch with you and let you know," Felarca said.

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