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Keyshia Cole Weighs in on Oscar Grant Shooting Verdict

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Keyshia Cole is offering her condolences to the family of Oscar Grant. An unarmed Grant was shot during an altercation with Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer Johannes Mehserle on New Year’s in 2009. Mehserle has since received a controversial two-year prison sentence for the death.

Cole, a native of the Oakland, where the shooting took place, revealed that she understands the pain the Grant’s family is going through. “It’s unfortunate,” Cole told The BoomBox during the video shoot for her latest single ‘I Ain’t Thru,’ over the weekend. “A lot of things are still going on [in Oakland] and were going on when I was there also. [Loosing someone], that’s an emotion that I can say I’ve experienced. I tried so hard to not have to face that and I’ve been trying so hard and constantly work harder to make sure that my child doesn’t have to face that, but I still deal with that kind of thing in my lifestyle as well. So I can understand how that can make somebody feel. It’s very sad that somebody lost their life.”

Police officers responded to a reported fight on the BART train and restrained Grant and other passengers. Officer Mehserle, alleges that Grant resisted arrest causing him to mistakenly shoot the youngster in the back. Grant was pronounced dead the next morning at Oakland’s Highland Hospital. The ordeal, which was captured by several witnesses’ cell phones, has caused strong opposition on both sides of the case. Mehserle was subsequently charged with involuntary manslaughter, which holds a maximum sentence of 14 years, but will likely only serve approximately seven months for the shooting, due to a credit for time served.

Despite receiving over 1,000 letters urging him to inflict that harshest punishment possible, Judge Robert Perry decided to go with the much shorter sentence. “This had to do with Oscar Grant’s actions and my reaction to it,” the former officer said at the sentencing, Friday (Nov. 5). “If my incarceration would bring peace to my family, I will go to jail.” Mehserle also revealed that he has received death threats, and expressed remorse for the incident, despite failing to face Grant’s family who were sitting in the courtroom.

“I told my son to take BART and the very people who are supposed to protect and serve took his life,” expressed Grant’s mother Wanda Johnson, who was sobbing following the hearing. Civil rights attorney John Burrus has also filed a $25 million wrongful death suit against BART on the family’s behalf. Grant is survived by his fiancee, and 6-year-old daughter.

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