Race Relations

CA Cop Guilty of Manslaughter

A Los Angeles jury took almost seven days to deliberate before coming up with their verdict: It found BART police officer Johannes Mehserle guilty of involuntary manslaughter for the 2009 shooting of Oakland resident Oscar Grant. In a region where some say there is a problem of police brutality against minorities, the case had created tension in California’s East Bay because it recalled sentiments leading up to the Rodney King race riots. Grant was black, and his family’s attorney said, "The system is rarely fair when a police officer shoots an African-American male." The jury’s decision to convict on involuntary manslaughter, rather than murder, was “a true compromise verdict,” the family’s attorney said. Mehserle testified in court that he’d meant to taser Oscar, but accidentally grabbed his gun instead, not realizing it until he’d fired it. Mehserle could get anywhere from five to 14 years in jail. Upon news of the verdict, Oakland residents began evacuating.