Conflict & Justice

How race affects a jury: latest in BART shooting case surprises activists

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Jury selection is complete in the murder case against former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle against an unarmed passenger, Oscar Grant, on New Year's Day 2009; but, while the case is moving forward, many activists are concerned about the jury's racial make-up. The shooter is white and the victim is black.

Race seems to be playing a central role in the story. For this reason, it surprises many court watchers, that none of the eight women or four men on the jury are African American.

Paul Rosynsky, courts reporter for The Oakland Tribune, details the case. And Paul Butler, a former federal prosecutor and current law professor at George Washington University discusses the importance of race to the prosecution. Paul Butler is the author of "Let's Get Free: a Hip Hop Theory of Justice" and he shares his surprise at the jury's racial make-up.

Credit: Some audio for this story was provided by YouthRadio.

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