Friday, June 8, 2012

Johannes Mehserle, Ex-BART Cop Convicted of Killing Oscar Grant, Won't Be Getting His Old Job Back

Posted By on Fri, Jun 8, 2012 at 4:32 PM

click to enlarge Won't be back on patrol after all
  • Won't be back on patrol after all
Johannes Mehserle, the former BART cop who spent nearly a year in prison for fatally shooting Oscar Grant at BART station in 2009, was hoping the courts would clear his name and he could go back to working in law enforcement.

But his dreams were shattered today when a three-panel Appeals Court upheld his felony conviction of involuntary manslaughter. As we told SF Weekly readers last month, Mehserle had asked the courts to overturn this conviction, arguing that he made a terrible error, but not one for which he should be prosecuted.

However, the court upheld the conviction, saying there was enough evidence to prove that Mehserle had acted with "gross negligence." For starters, the handgun was black and weighed three times more than the yellow stun gun, the justices said.

"A reasonable jury could conclude a reasonably prudent person would have known he was holding his deadly handgun and not his nonlethal Taser," Presiding Justice James Marchiano said in the 3-0 ruling.

Mehserle was convicted in 2010 of shooting Grant on Jan. 1, 2009, after Grant was pulled from the BART train. Mehserle says he didn't mean to shoot Grant, who was unarmed and lying face down on the Fruitvale BART platform when he was killed. Mehserle argued in court that he meant to grab for his Taser, but accidentally pulled out his gun and fired one shot in Grant's back, killing him instantly.

The shooting was recorded by other BART passengers, which was used as evidence in his trial.

A jury acquitted Mehserle of murder, but convicted him of involuntary manslaughter. He served only 11 months of his two-year sentence, and was released last year on good behavior.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert has been Online News Editor for SF Weekly since 2010. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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