FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!

Top News

Former BART Officer Mehserle Convicted of Involuntary Manslaughter

July 08, 2010  | 

A Los Angeles jury convicted former Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Officer Johannes Mehserle of manslaughter later Thursday for causing the death of Oscar Grant III, who he shot and killed Jan. 1, 2009, during an arrest.

The 28-year-old former transit officer shot the unarmed, face-down Grant, 22, at BART's Fruitville Station platform. Another officer held a knee on his back. The incident was captured on at least five cellphone cameras.

Mehserle faces a sentence of between two to four years for involuntary manslaughter, plus up to 10 years for using a gun, SF Gate.com reports. Judge Robert Perry could impose a minimum sentence of five years, and a maximum sentence of 14 years.

Fearing a tainted jury pool and possible violent protests, prosecutors chose Los Angeles as the venue for the racially tinged case. Anticipating possible rioting after the verdict, county offices in downtown Los Angeles were evacuated early Thursday afternoon.

Convicting an officer in a deadly force encounter is a tall order for prosecutors faced with the burden of proving the officer's intent, said Sandi Gibbons, public information officer with the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

"In our society, police officers are given the right to use deadly force when the force directed against them is deadly," Gibbons told POLICE Magazine. "And police officers, when they come into a courtroom, are the cleanest-cut American guys."

During the trial, Mehserle and two colleagues involved in the incident—the three officers lost their jobs over the incident—testified about their role in the arrest. Mehserle, who wept on the witness stand, said he mistakenly pulled his SIG Sauer service pistol and shot Grant when he meant to use his TASER.

A police trainer testified that Mehserle was trained on the importance of not confusing the TASER with his duty weapon.

The last time an officer or deputy was convicted for murder or manslaughter in Los Angeles County was almost three decades ago. Los Angeles prosecutors obtained a second-degree murder conviction in 1983 of Los Angeles County Sherif's Deputy Robert Armstrong, who shot and injured a pregnant woman, whose fetus didn't survive. Armstrong had conducted an illegal raid on a suspected drug house.

Read the full story.

Tags: BART Shooting, Officer Misconduct, Transit Officers


Be the first to comment on this story





POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent News

Video: Fired Phoenix Chief Speaks Out About Unions
Now-former Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia continued to be defiant following Thursday's...
Video: Iowa Officers Injured When Man Rams Squad Car
A Waterloo, Iowa, man rammed his SUV into a police car, injuring two officers during a...
Video: Philadelphia Officer Praised for Not Shooting AR-Wielding Man
"I immediately announced 'police, drop the weapon.' About the second time I yelled it, he...
Man Shot After Attempting to Run Over Michigan Officer
A 24-year-old Port Huron man was shot by police Tuesday after officers said he tried to...
Video: Bystander Urges Panhandling Suspect to Fight California Police
The incident occurred Monday afternoon, when officers were called to reports of an...

Get Your FREE Trial Issue and Win a Gift! Subscribe Today!
Yes! Please rush me my FREE TRIAL ISSUE of POLICE magazine and FREE Officer Survival Guide with tips and tactics to help me safely get out of 10 different situations.

Just fill in the form to the right and click the button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.

If POLICE does not satisfy you, just write "cancel" on the invoice and send it back. You'll pay nothing, and the FREE issue is yours to keep. If you enjoy POLICE, pay only $25 for a full one-year subscription (12 issues in all). Enjoy a savings of nearly 60% off the cover price!

Offer valid in US only. Outside U.S., click here.
It's easy! Just fill in the form below and click the red button to receive your FREE Trial Issue.
First Name:
Last Name:
Rank:
Agency:
Address:
City:
State:
  
Zip Code:
 
Country:
We respect your privacy. Please let us know if the address provided is your home, as your RANK / AGENCY will not be included on the mailing label.
E-mail Address:

Police Magazine