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Last July, a California court sentenced Bay Area Rapid Transit Police Officer Johannes Mehserle [above] to two years for involuntary manslaughter. Mehserle was convicted in the shooting death of 22-year-old African-American Oscar Grant at point blank range on an Oakland train platform on New Year’s Day, 2009. This morning, after less than a year behind bars, Mehserle was released. A relative of the victim was none-too-happy with the City for its alleged refusal to provide him with the exact release time. “They snuck him out,” Cephus Johnson told the LA Times. This after Mehserle’s verdict sparked protests across the city from people who considered the shooting racially motivated. A civil lawsuit against Mehserle and other officers involved with Grant’s death is pending.

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  1. Did any of his superiors get reprimanded or fired for the obviously appallingly poor training?

  2. Just to quibble slightly, the post seems to imply that the LA Co. Sheriff’s Dept. made the decision to release him. I don’t believe the SO has that power, other than to open the door once the courts/judge makes the determination that a sentence has been served.

  3. I still can’t get over how you wear a duty belt day in and day out, and “forget” which spot your taser is and where your primary firearm is-having worn one for years. Muscle memory alone would also tell my brain the difference between my pistol and my taser. Also, it wasn’t exactly like he was locked in mortal combat at the moment.

  4. Who really cares? I don’t. The media has been for the 2 years promoting this idea that Oscar Grant was just a good guy trying to calm things down, but the video shows the difference, if you are trying to make things calm you don’t every damn time you get told to shut up and put your hands behind your back just keep them on the ground applying your weight and grabbing at the cops.

    The evidence in the end pointed to him thinking the gun was his taser due to the fact he clearly stands up and tells the other officer to stand up too. I don’t want to hear some stupid moron here complaining as if they know anything about whats going on through your mind during the situation.

    • The video clearly showed Johannes Mehserle committed and act of pure, cold blooded murder. The “suspect” was being retrained by other officers when Mehserle pulled his gun out and shot him in the back. I don’t buy the racial motivations – just a jack-ass cop who knew he could get away with murder.

      If anyone else besides a cop did that we’d either be executed or serving a life sentence.

  5. He resisted arrest and got shot by accident. When a cop tells you to do something you should pay attention or bad things may happen.

  6. Just a couple things I heard that, if true, should be taken into account: Mehserle was a BART cop, and apparently they aren’t always issued TASERs at the beginning of their shift. So a cop might have one on Thursday and not on Friday, which I can imagine could wreak havoc on muscle memory depending upon where on your belt the TASER is usually carried. Second, and this is pure speculation, certain popular TASER models (M26) were designed to feel just like a Glock in your hand, supposedly to reduce training time.
    That said, I feel pretty confident that this was an accident and highlights a fairly large training and equipment deficit. I could go on a rant about fundamental, conceptual issues with LE, but I’ll leave it there for now.

    • I agree it was likely an accident, but if I have an accident with a firearm that takes a mans life I go to jail for at least 3- 10…It is unfortunate, but that’s the law. Those that enforce it should be subject to all it’s vagaries just like anyone else.

      Being an officer should play no more of a role in sentencing than income level or race (which it obviously did as we would not get credit for time served much less double credit as Mehserle did. Nor would the average citizen get out of a gun enhancement adding 3-10 years). Sometimes mistakes can ruin your life…it certainly did for Oscar Grant, there is no reason that 6-20 years should not have been taken from Mehserle.

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