BART Cop Who Shot and Killed Oscar Grant Will Soon Be Released From Prison
Johannes Mehserle, the Bay Area Rapid Transit Police officer who shot and killed 23-year-old Oscar Grant while the latter was restrained and face-down on the ground, will soon be released from jail:
With credits for time served and the leniency of a Los Angeles County judge, Mehserle will be set free after serving 11 months of a two-year sentence issued after the 29-year-old was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the killing of Hayward resident Oscar Grant III.
Mehserle's release from Los Angeles County Men's Central Jail, most likely in the middle of June, should not come as a surprise because the date was determined when Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Perry declined last year to issue a harsher penalty.
While Mehserle's release closes a chapter in the highly publicized saga, the story of Grant's death and its implications will continue for years as both a federal civil suit and an appeal of Mehserle's conviction remain active in the courts.
"Things are still unsettled," said Michael Rains, Mehserle's defense attorney. "(Mehserle) would just as soon fade into oblivion, find a job, support himself and his family and do so without fanfare."
Radley Balko defended Mehserle's sentence in July 2010, writing
There's ample evidence that Mesehrle was negligent—likely criminally negligent. There's evidence that Mehserle and his fellow officers may have used excessive force the night Grant was killed. There's also evidence that Mesehrle's fellow officers tried to cover up the shooting by confiscating the cell phones of BART passengers who recorded the incident (generally speaking, police can ask for your name and address to later obtain a court order for video of evidentiary value, but they aren't permitted to take your cell phone or camera at the scene). There's evidence that one of Mehserle's fellow officers used a racial slur just before Grant's death. But there simply isn't any evidence that Mehserle is a murderer.
More Reason on Oscar Grant here.