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Mehserle verdict protest in Downtown Fresno

Friday, July 09, 2010

Thursday's verdict in the Oscar Grant Bart shooting case sparked outrage all over the state...including right here in Fresno.

"We are all Oscar Grant. No justice..No peace!"

Standing on nearly every corner of Fresno and C streets in Downtown Fresno, protesters held signs and voiced their concerns about the verdict reached in the highly contentious Bart shooting case that happened last year in Oakland.

"It's not okay, it's unacceptable and it definitely isn't involuntary manslaughter," said protestor Destiny Thomas.

"Just because you're a police officer doesn't give you the right to make the mistakes that were made in this case," said Juan Avitia with the Brown Berets.

Among the crowd were members of the shooting victim's family. The Fresno residents wore special shirts with 22-year-old Oscar Grant's picture.

His aunt and cousin both say Thursday's verdict was not what their family expected. They were hoping the officer in this case, Johannes Mehserle, would be charged with a harsher crime.

"If it was changed and if it was a black cop that shot at a white young man, that cop would have been found guilty of second degree murder," said Sharon Raffety.

"He didn't deserve this. His mother didn't deserve this. She's the one that asked him to ride Bart that night. It was her birthday," said Colleen Raffety.

Fresno police stood across the street during Thursday's protest and despite some taunting, no problems were reported.

Meanwhile, Grant's family says even though this case has come to a disappointing end, they vow to continue fighting for Oscar and the injustice they say led to his death.

"You would think in this day and age that racism would stop, but it hasn't and all of us are out here to stop the violence the violence between races," said Sharon Raffety.

Oscar Grant has a young daughter. His relatives here in Fresno plan to travel to the Bay Area this weekend to be with their other family members.

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protest, fresno downtown, fresno, fresno county, local
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