Behind Bars

‘When Murder Ain’t Murder’

By Mumia Abu-Jamal

With the sentencing of former BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) cop, Johannes Mehserle, for the killing of Oscar Grant, the system announced its evaluation of the worth of a Black young man from Oakland, California.

Mehserle was sentenced to two years; and with time offs, and good behavior, he may do only seven months; for killing a man. Seven months—excuse me—for killing a Black man.

After all is said and done, Mehserle may end up doing less time that rapper Lil’ Wayne did for only possessing a gun—rather than using one.

And therein lies the tale of the American prison industrial complex.

Can you imagine any set of facts, any convergence of chance, personalities or fate, that could have had Grant as the shooter, and Mehserle as the shot, and Grant sentenced to essentially, 7 months in jail?

Neither can I.

And that, I think, says it all., November 7, 2010