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Topic: Johannes Mehserle

Johannes Sebastian Mehserle, a former Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer, is the defendant facing second degree murder charges over the New Year’s Day 2009 shooting and killing of unarmed BART passenger Oscar Grant.

Grant died at Highland Hospital in Oakland, California from a single gunshot wound from Mehserle’s pistol.

When questioned by BART internal affairs investigators after the incident, Mehserle cited the Police Officer’s Bill of Rights to avoid self-incrimination. He resigned from the force on Jan. 7, 2009 without explaining to transit police investigators why he shot Grant.

The videos of the incident were widely disseminated through local media and on the internet. They touched off protests and rioting in Oakland, and reignited long-standing conflicts between law enforcement and the community — many of which had racial overtones: Mehserle is white, Grant was black.

In an unprecedented legal move, then-sitting Alameda County District Attorney Thomas Orloff announced on Jan. 14, 2009 that he would be pursuing murder charges against Mehserle because of the fatal shooting.

Mehserle was arrested at a friend’s home in Zephyr Cove, Nevada that day and booked into Douglass County jail. He waived extradition and was brought back to Alameda County by Oakland Police detectives the next day.

The former officer was released from county jail after family members helped post a $3 million bond on Feb. 6, 2009.

In pre-trial hearings held in Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland, Mehserle did not testify. His attorney Michael Rains said that the former officer mistakenly fired his service pistol while trying to arrest Grant. Rains said Mehserle wanted to use his Taser to shock Grant, but used his service pistol instead.

The judge presiding over the hearings sided with a motion from Rains to change the venue of the jury trial, citing intense media coverage and concerns surrounding the impartiality of the jury pool if the trial were to be held in Alameda County.

On Nov. 19, 2009, Judge Morris Jacobson selected Los Angeles County as the new venue for the murder trial. The trial is scheduled to commence on June 1 at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown Los Angeles. Judge Robert J. Perry, will preside over the case.

The shooting incident came at a critical juncture in the former police officer’s life. His girlfriend gave birth to their child one day after the Grant killing on Jan. 2. An attorney representing Mehserle said the former officer decided to travel to Nevada to escape the intense media coverage and scrutiny over the incident.

Mehserle, now 28, joined the BART Police force in March 2007 after graduating from the Napa Valley College Police Academy in 2006. He was ranked as one of the top recruits in his graduating class and was described by fellow cadets as a promising future peace officer.

He graduated with a business degree from Sonoma State University. He is the oldest of three children and has spent all but four years residing in the state of California.

Mehserle was a member of the BART Police force for almost two years before the fatal shooting incident.

He is currently out on bail awaiting trial.

Information compiled from Beat research and news services

BART Police Shooting, Oakland »

[By Beat News Service | 29 Nov 2012 | 2 Comments]
Production of the movie "Fruitvale" on July 28, 2012 at an East Bay BART Station. (CALIFORNIA BEAT PHOTO)

A movie about the New Year’s Day 2009 shooting of BART passenger Oscar Grant by a police officer has been selected to compete for best dramatic film in the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, festival organizers announced Wednesday.

“Fruitvale” depicts the hours before Grant’s slaying by BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle at the Fruitvale BART Station in Oakland. The shooting was captured on numerous cameras by witnesses and immediately went viral on the internet.

BART Police Shooting, Oakland »

[By Beat News Service | 17 Apr 2012 | One Comment]
Grant's mother Wanda Johnson reacted angrily to the news that Mehserle was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, not murder. "My son was murdered. He was murdered!" she said. (JENNIFER COURTNEY / CALIFORNIA BEAT)

A movie about the shooting of Oscar Grant, the 22 year-old unarmed Hayward man killed by BART Police in 2009, could begin filming in Northern California this summer, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The entertainment publication said Oscar winner Octavia Spencer and “Chronicle” actor Michael B. Jordan are in negotiations to play the roles of Wanda Johnson, Grant’s mother, and the shooting victim in the production.

BART Police Shooting »

[By Beat News Service | 28 Jun 2011 | No Comments]
Wanda Johnson speaks with reporters on Tuesday after the judge in the case called a recess when she sobbed uncontrollably during a witness's testimony. (Tashina Manyak / CALIFORNIA BEAT)

The Bay Area Rapid Transit District reached a settlement Tuesday morning with the mother of Oscar Grant, the 22-year-old unarmed train passenger shot and killed by a former BART police officer in 2009.

As part of the settlement, the District will pay $1.3 million to Wanda Johnson, Grant’s mother, the district announced in a statement.

BART Police Shooting, Cops & Courts, Oakland »

[By Beat News Service | 13 Jun 2011 | 9 Comments]
Cephus Johnson, the uncle of Oscar Grant, plays a phone call from prison officials telling him that Johannes Mehserle has been released outside of the Los Angeles County Men's Jail. (CALIFORNIA BEAT PHOTO)

(6/13) — UPDATE 0720 PDT — LOS ANGELES — Johannes Mehserle, the former Bay Area Rapid Transit Police officer who was caught on video shooting and killing an unarmed train passenger, was released from the Los Angeles County Men’s Jail early Monday morning.

Mehserle left the Downtown Los Angeles facility after serving 11 months behind bars for an involuntary manslaughter conviction for the killing of Hayward resident Oscar Grant.

BART Police Shooting, Oakland »

[By Andrew Leonard | 12 Jun 2011 | 4 Comments]
Oscar Grant's mother speaks during the protest held at Fruitvale BART. (Andrew Leonard / CALIFORNIA BEAT)

An estimated crowd of 200 people chanted, marched and vociferously objected to the pending release of former BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle in Oakland Sunday afternoon.

The crowd gathered at Fruitvale BART Station for a 3 p.m. rally and then marched to 14th and Broadway Sts. in Downtown Oakland — the site of many previous gatherings — for a second protest.

BART Police Shooting, Cops & Courts, Oakland »

[By Andrew Leonard and Beat News Service | 12 Jun 2011 | 10 Comments]
John Burris, the lawyer who represented the Grant family in the civil case against BART, speaks at a protest at Fruitvale BART Station on June 12. (Andrew Leonard/ CALIFORNIA BEAT)

A 3 p.m. protest is being held at Fruitvale BART Station in East Oakland to demonstrate against the release of former BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle on Monday. Mehserle, 29, shot and killed unarmed train passenger Oscar Grant on January 1, 2009 at the transit station.

A march will follow the protest to 14th and Broadway Streets in Downtown Oakland where a 5 p.m. rally will take place.

BART Police Shooting, Oakland »

[By Beat News Service | 10 Jun 2011 | 3 Comments]
A large banner reading "Oakland Says Guilty" was hung from a stoplight in Downtown Oakland during a gathering after the verdict in the Johannes Mehserle trial. (CALIFORNIA BEAT PHOTO)

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said Thursday that her city was prepared to handle possible protests organized in response to the Monday release of former BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle from a Los Angeles County Jail.

In a written statement, Quan said, “Although we expect peaceful gatherings, we do not anticipate nor will we tolerate vandalism or violence. The Oakland Police Department is prepared to respond if personal safety or property are at risk.”

BART Police Shooting »

[By Steven Luo | 10 Jun 2011 | 3 Comments]
Johannes Mehserle

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge has ordered that former BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle, convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting of Oscar Grant New Year’s Day 2009, be released Monday, after serving just over 11 months of his two-year sentence.

“As of June 13, 2011, the defendant’s mandated custody credits will be equal to or exceed the sentence imposed,” Judge Robert Perry wrote in his order, posted to the court’s website Friday. “It is hereby ordered that defendant Johannes Mehserle be released from custody on Monday, June 13, 2011.”

BART Police Shooting, Oakland »

[By Beat News Service | 8 Jun 2011 | 3 Comments]
Johannes Mehserle

Johannes Mehserle, the former BART police officer jailed for fatally shooting and killing an unarmed train passenger at an Oakland station in 2009, will be released on Monday, the Oakland Tribune reported Wednesday evening.

The newspaper quoted family members of Grant who said officials from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation told them that Mehserle was due for release from the Los Angeles County Men’s Jail in Downtown LA after serving a sentence for an involuntary manslaughter charge.

BART Police Shooting, Oakland »

[By Beat News Service | 2 Jun 2011 | 12 Comments]
Johannes Mehserle

Several community groups said Wednesday they would hold protests on the day that former Bay Area Rapid Transit Police Officer Johannes Mehserle is released from a Los Angeles County jail.

Mehserle shot and killed unarmed train passenger Oscar Grant on January 1, 2009 in an infamous incident that was caught by cell phone cameras and ultimately led to his conviction of involuntary manslaughter by a Los Angeles jury.