Just over a year in Johannes Mehserle sentencing

Oscar Grant protestors

A demonstration remembering Oscar Grant will follow the Johannes Mehserle sentencing. Photo Credit: NeitherFanboy/Flickr.com/CC-BY

Southern California has been on high alert as the Johannes Mehserle sentencing drew closer. Johannes Mehserle, a former Bay Area Rapid Transit system police officer, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. He allegedly mistakenly drew his firearm instead of his Taser while assisting in an arrest. He shot Oscar Grant at point blank range. Grant, 22 years old, died the next day. Mehserle received two years with credit for time served.

Mehserle sentencing hotly awaited

At the Johannes Mehserle sentencing hearing, Mehserle received two years with credit given for 292 days of time already served. Mehserle was convicted in July of involuntary manslaughter, and will serve just more than 14 months in prison, unless released early, according to ABC7 in San Francisco. However, a gun enhancement charge was overturned by judge Robert Perry, and that may be retried later. The gun enhancement charge, or using a firearm in commission of a crime, could add 10 years on to his sentence. Grant’s mother asked the judge to give Mehserle the maximum sentence of 14 years. Judge Perry insisted that there was insufficient evidence that Mehserle intended to draw his pistol instead of his Taser. Mehserle could be released in as little as seven months.

Police on alert

After Mehserle’s conviction for the Oscar Grant shooting in July, protests broke out in Oakland, according to CNN. Police officers made arrests at that time, and there was some damage and looting of local area businesses. There is a rally and protest planned for the afternoon of Friday, Nov. 5, and a permit was issued for one, though police expect the demonstration to not be as turbulent as the last one. The jury had no African Americans, and the B.A.R.T. Oscar Grant incident has been blasted as a white California police officer murdering a young African American.

Tensions run high

The trial was initially moved to Los Angeles County as it was felt that tensions were too high in Alameda County. The sentence was decried by friends and family of Grant, who felt it tantamount to letting a police officer get away with murder.




Other recent posts by bryanh