Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Oscar Grant III, January 1, 2009

On a cold New Year's Day Oscar Grant III (pictured on the left) was fatally shot by BART (Bay Area Rapit Transit) police officer Johannes Mehserle in Oakland, California. Previously, cell-phone video broadcast on local television station KTVU on January 23 showed what appeared to be BART police officer Anthony Pirone (pictured on the right) rushing towards one of the detained men and punching him in the face several times two minutes before the shooting. Additional footage from a cell phone was presented in court showing Pirone standing over the prone Grant before the shooting and yelling: "Bitch-ass nigger, right?". As of May 2013, Pirone was charged with unemployment fraud and is currently in the Army. He was previously in the Marines before his employment as a BART police officer in which he was fired due to his misconduct in the Oscar Grant shooting. Mehserle served was sentenced to two years, minus time served on November 5, 2010. He served his time in the Los Angeles County Jail and was released on June 13, 2011 and is now on parole.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Edwin Pratt, January 26, 1969

On a cold and snowy day on January 26, 1969, Edwin T. Pratt of the Seattle Urban League was shot and killed at his home on 17916 1st Avenue NE in the Shoreline neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. In less than five years upon being initially hired as a Community Relations Secretary at the Seattle Urban League he had been promoted as the Executive Director and a popular civil rights leader who was not afraid to challenge the status quo. Under his strong leadership and guidance the Seattle Urban League had grown from a small and struggling staff of 5 to that of 25 and many initiatives had taken place such as negotiations for more African-American enrollment at the University of Washington and better programs and services for African-American youth. His murder remains unsolved.