Oscar Grant's Family: 'We Weren't Allowed to Protest Mehserle's Release'

The uncle of the slain man says that they were denied their right to speak at the release under the Victims' Bill of Rights.

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Wanda Johnson, Grant's mother, mourns her son. (Getty)

Fresh from our "You've gotta be kidding us" file, Cephus Johnson, the uncle of Oscar Grant, is speaking out against the judge in the Johannes Mehserle case. Mehserle, a former transit officer convicted in the fatal shooting of Grant, who was unarmed and lying facedown at an Oakland, Calif., train station, was released from jail early Monday without Grants' relatives being allowed to lodge a protest.

Johnson, 53, says that officers "snuck" Mehserle out of the courtroom, preventing the family from speaking at his release. Johnson said the court didn't notify the family of Mehserle's release until after he had left custody, depriving them of their right to address him before his release, as outlined in the "Victims' Bill of Rights." Upon reading about the release in an article in the Los Angeles Times, Johnson went to the courthouse early in the morning to testify under the Bill of Rights, but Mehserle never appeared.

Wow, in our best Mos Def voice. Mehserle "accidentally" shoots Grant in the back while he's lying facedown with his hands behind his back. He is then only sentenced to two years for taking Grant's life, is released early for "good time" and is allowed to leave the courthouse through the back door.

This is one of the most extreme cases of "just us" that we've seen in a while. Can you imagine if the shoe had been on the other foot? The outcome would be very different. As this saga continues to play out, one thing is certain: The justice system is treating Grant's family with the same level of disrespect that Mehserle treated Grant when he "accidentally" killed him -- and that would be none.

Read more at the Los Angeles Times.

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