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Topic: John Burris

John Burris is the prominent Oakland civil rights attorney who was retained by the family of BART Police shooting victim Oscar Grant days after he was killed on the platform of the Fruitvale Station on Jan. 1, 2009.

On Jan. 5, Burris filed a $25 million wrongful death claim against the transit agency, saying that former BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle shot and killed Grant without provocation or justifiable cause.

Burris, speaking at a press conference that weekend, called the videotaped shooting “the most unconscionable shooting” that he has ever seen.

The attorney has been very vocal in discussing the case through appearances on television and across local media. A gag order issued by judges in the case barring attorneys involved in the criminal trial against Mehserle from providing details to the press does not apply to Burris.

Burris has established a legal career spanning close to 30 years representing clients who have been alleged victims of police misconduct. In 2005, he represented men who accused a rogue contingent of Oakland Police officers  nicknamed “the Riders” of planting evidence on suspects and engaging in illicit police practices.

The city of Oakland negotiated a record $10.5 million payout to Burris and his clients in the incident.

Burris was also part of the legal team representing Rodney King, the man who was beaten by Los Angeles Police officers and sued the city in 1992. That incident was also caught on camera by a witness.

Burris is married and resides in Oakland.

Information compiled from Beat research and news services.

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 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 Beat News Service | 15 Nov 2010 | No Comments]
Johannes Mehserle

Johannes Mehserle, the former BART Police officer sentenced to two years in state prison for the shooting death of Oscar Grant in 2009, will return to Los Angeles County Superior Court on December 3 for a bail hearing, according to the Court.

Mehserle’s defense has requested that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Perry allow Mehserle to be released on bail pending an appeal of his involuntary manslaughter conviction. If Perry grants the motion, Mehserle could be released from custody after posting bond.

BART Police Shooting, Cover Stories »

Johannes Mehserle

On Friday morning, one of the final chapters of a tragic high-profile Bay Area story will be written.

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge is set to sentence former BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle on Friday for the shooting death of passenger Oscar Grant at the Fruitvale BART station platform on January 1, 2009.

BART Police Shooting, Cops & Courts »

[By Steven Luo | 1 Jun 2010 | No Comments]

(6/1) — 12:15 PDT — LOS ANGELES — The judge in the second-degree murder trial of Johannes Mehserle, the former BART Police officer who shot unarmed passenger Oscar Grant on New Year’s Day 2009, ruled today that the testimony of a key defense expert witness would be allowed at trial.

Judge Robert Perry also ruled that Grant family attorney John Burris is subject to the gag order covering trial participants, even though he is unlikely to be called as a witness in the trial.

BART Police Shooting »

[By Steven Luo | 28 May 2010 | No Comments]
The lawyer for Grant's family, John Burris (front), and Grant's mother, Wanda  Johnson, speak with reporters outside the Los Angeles courthouse on May 7, 2010. (James Keith/ CALIFORNIA BEAT PHOTO)

The attorney for BART shooting victim Oscar Grant’s family has filed a request to be removed from the potential witness list of the defense for Johannes Mehserle, the former BART Police officer charged with second-degree murder in the shooting.

Mehserle’s defense attorney, Michael Rains, had asked to subpoena Grant family attorney John Burris, saying that Burris could provide “testimony concerning threats or intimidation” of witnesses who “may be reluctant to give testimony which would ostensibly be helpful to Mr. Mehserle and harmful to Mr. Grant.”

BART Police Shooting, Cops & Courts »

[By Tashina Manyak | 27 May 2010 | No Comments]
Former BART Police Officer Tony Pirone seen at the Fruitvale BART station on witness video. (COURTESY PHOTO)

The prosecution in the trial of Johannes Mehserle, the former BART Police officer charged with second-degree murder for the New Year’s Day 2009 shooting of passenger Oscar Grant, has filed a request to compel former BART Police Officer Tony Pirone, who now lives in North Carolina, to travel to Los Angeles to testify in the case.

In the request, dated May 4 and made public this week, prosecutor Scott Jackson calls Pirone a “necessary and material” witness for the prosecution’s case, and requests that he be present between June 7 and June 25.

BART Police Shooting »

[By California Beat | 19 May 2010 | No Comments]
mehserlemeet2

Join the California Beat and The Campanil newspaper to learn more about and to help fund comprehensive daily news coverage of the Johannes Mehserle BART shooting trial starting in June in Los Angeles.

Both organizations are collaborating to provide complete trial coverage from Los Angeles. More information about this project can be found here.

BART Police Shooting, Cops & Courts »

[By Steven Luo | 17 May 2010 | No Comments]
The defense attorney representing Oscar Grant's family, John Burris, addresses reporters outside a Los Angeles courthouse during a pre-trial hearing for former BART officer Johannes Mehserle. (Photo by James Keith/ CALIFORNIA BEAT FILE)

The attorney for BART shooting victim Oscar Grant’s family said Monday that he would fight a legal request by the defense for Johannes Mehserle, the former BART Police officer charged with second-degree murder for the New Year’s Day 2009 shooting, to compel him to testify as a witness.

In a subpoena request dated May 11, attorney Michael Rains says that John Burris, who represents the Grant family in a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit against BART, could provide “testimony concerning threats or intimidation” of witnesses who “may be reluctant to give testimony which would ostensibly be helpful to Mr. Mehserle and harmful to Mr. Grant.”

BART Police Shooting, Cops & Courts »

[By Steven Luo | 7 May 2010 | No Comments]
Protesters gathered outside the Downtown Los Angeles courthouse where the trial for Johannes Mehserle is taking place on May 7, 2010. (James Keith/  CALIFORNIA BEAT PHOTO)

(05/08) 21:24 PM PDT — LOS ANGELES — A pre-trial hearing Friday in the second-degree murder trial of former BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle provided few fireworks, but yielded several key rulings that could influence the outcome of what is expected to be a highly complex trial.

Judge Robert Perry denied the defense’s motion to permit police officers to serve on the jury and granted most of the prosecution’s requests to limit the scope of expert testimony by two witnesses who are expected to be critical to the defense’s case.