The Oscar Grant story was one of the first stories to put Photography is Not a Crime on the national radar.
But none of those stories had the impact of the Oscar Grant story, especially since PINAC was one of the first sites to show the second, much clearer -and still shocking – video to the nation.
Even though I followed the Grant story for almost a month until after Johannes Mehserle’s arrest, I had not until this week seen the last photo Grant took of Mehserle, before the Bay Area Rapid Transit cop shot him in the back.
After all, we were all focusing on the video that clearly showed Grant was not resisting when he was shot.
This week, Photography Prison posted the cell phone photo Grant snapped of Mehserle before his death.
The above photo, which appears to show Mehserle holding a Taser gun in his right hand, was used as evidence against him during his trial.
It was used by prosecution to show two things: 1. that he [Mehserle] knew his Taser from his gun, that he had actually taken out his Taser twice, that he knew full well between the two weapons. 2. That Oscar was being abused and was concerned about it.
Grant snapped the photo while being detained by Mehserle, sitting against the wall with other detainees. He called his ex-girlfriend and told her he was being abused by Mehserles. Then sent her the picture.
Mehserle ended up convicted for involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to two years in prison. He was released this month after serving 11 months.
If there is any lesson we learned from this story, it’s that we shall never leave home without a camera.
Below are the links from oldest to newest of my Oscar Grant coverage.