A former BART officer was found guilty of manslaughter in the slaying of Oscar Grant on January 1, 2009.
Prosecutors said that officer Johannes Mehserle, 28, deliberately shot his gun into Oscar J. Grant IIIs back as he attempted to handcuff him on New Year’s Day 2009. Mehserle testified in court that he thought he was unleashing his taser, not a gun.
The killing was video taped by several witnesses in Oakland. Mehserle, a White man, shot a round into the back of Grant, a Black man, who was face down on a train station platform. Police were working 12-hour shifts in preparation for riots and crowd control.
Mehserle resigned from the transit force a week after the shooting.
Alameda County Deputy Dist. Atty. David R. told jurors that Mehserle’s holster was designed to avert discharge of the handgun, reports the L.A. Times. “He let his aggression dictate his conduct,” Stein told jurors. Lawyers for Mehserle charged the gun and the taser had similar weight.
A friend of Oscar Grant testified that he heard Mehserle proclaim that he was going to use the taser to in the infraction that occurred with 22-year-old Grant and three other men. Grant was unarmed.
Others testified that Mehserle expressed immediate grief and despair after the killing of Grant.
Detractors of the police system and the case continue to express discontent with the verdict, considering it too light for Mehserle.
“He’s sick to his stomach, because he has shot a man who did not deserve to be shot, a defense attorney told the jury. A group of protesters expressed a unified discord after the verdict was announced.
Several members of Oscar Grant’s family and friends have filed multimillion-dollar lawsuits against the BART transit agency.
Johannes Mehserle faces two to four years in jail for involuntary manslaughter.