The killing of Oscar Grant, a 22-year old black man, by Johannes Mehserle, a white transit police officer, on New Year’s Day in 2009 was a tragic event that sent ripples of rage through Oakland, California, and beyond.
The cop thought he was pulling out his taser, but instead drew his gun, and shot Grant at point blank range before a bunch of witnesses, including Karina Vargas, whose cell phone video recording of the incident would go viral and raise the promise of citizen journalism in the pursuit of justice.
Youth Radio, the Oakland-based multimedia training and youth development organization has been covering this story from the beginning, through Mehserle’s Los Angeles trial and conviction for involuntary manslaughter, a verdict of deep disappointment and disillusionment to the Grant family and their many supporters.
Following up on its in-depth reporting, commentary and live coverage of protests and the trial, Youth Radio has just published a digital magazine called “Grant Station: A Killing and the Aftermath,” featuring a timeline, photographs and reflections.
The publication captures the raw, honest reactions from young people, including Abraham from San Francisco, who says, “Oscar Grant didn’t do anything. He wasn’t a criminal or anything. He was just at the wrong place at the wrong time…It makes me feel…you know; like I could be that same person…like it could happen to….me, my brothers, my family.”
The magazine includes excerpts of interviews with Officer Mehserle’s former basketball coach and a cadet-in-training. Indeed, this shooting was a tragedy from every angle.
Grant Station is a beautiful document and an excellent example of how to repurpose content across platforms, how to keep a story alive and the conversation going. According to Youth Radio’s website, the magazine is a “living archive of community response.” Readers are invited to share their reactions and contribute additional content at email@example.com.