BART Officer Johannes Mehserle Gets 2 Years for Killing of Oscar Grant
Today an LA county judge handed down the sentence for Bay Area BART officer Johannes Mehserle who shot and killed the unarmed Oscar Grant on New Years day 2009. The judge gave Mehserle the minimum possible sentence of 2 years (of which he's already served 146 days).
The San Francisco Chronicle reports:
The verdict meant that jurors concluded that Mehserle, 28, did not intend to kill Grant, 22, when he shot him in the back at Fruitvale Station, but acted negligently and took his life unlawfully.
The jury also found that Mehserle, a Napa County resident, had used a gun during the crime. However, Judge Robert Perry threw out the gun conviction today, saying it was not supported by the evidence, and gave Mehserle two years for the involuntary manslaughter conviction, the shortest term possible.
This is an epic disappointment and failure of the justice system. Grant's family, friends, and many in the Bay Area community are likely to be outraged. As the Chronicle reports:
The judge's decision infuriated members of Grant's family, some of whom left the downtown Los Angeles courtroom in tears. Grant's mother, Wanda Johnson, and Sophina Mesa, the mother of Grant's 6-year-old daughter, stalked out before Perry finished his remarks.
John Burris, an attorney for Grant's family, said at a news conference afterward that the message to African Americans in the Mehserle case is that "your life ... can be taken from you with no just cause and no price to pay." Mehserle is white, while Grant was black.