Mehserle Gets 2-Year Sentence In Killing Of Oscar Grant

LOS ANGELES (CBS/BCN/AP) – A judge has sentenced a former BART police officer to two years in prison in the shooting death of an unarmed passenger on an Oakland train platform.

Johannes Mehserle was convicted in July of involuntary manslaughter in the videotaped, New Year’s Day 2009 killing of 22-year-old Oscar Grant at the Fruitvale station.

The incident sparked rioting and widespread protests by those who viewed it as an unjustified killing of a black man by a white police officer.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Perry had wide discretion Friday when sentencing the 28-year-old Mehserle.

Prosecutors sought prison time for Mehserle, whose lawyers argued for probation.

Mehserle testified during the trial that he thought Grant had a weapon and decided to shock him with his stun gun but instead pulled his .40-caliber handgun. Grant was unarmed and face down when he was shot.

Listen to KCBS’ Interview with Legal Analyst Steven Clark:

Earlier, Grant’s family urged the maximum sentence for involuntary manslaughter.  Four of Grant’s relatives and his fiancee pleaded with Perry to order Mehserle to prison for 14 years.

mehserle protests Mehserle Gets 2 Year Sentence In Killing Of Oscar Grant

Protestors rally outside a Los Angeles courthouse Friday where former BART officer Johannes Mehserle was being sentenced in the shooting death of Oscar Grant.

The family still maintains that it was murder when Mehserle shot Grant as he lay face down on the platform.

Mehserle also spoke, apologizing for a shooting he says was accidental and wasn’t racially motivated.

Before Perry sentenced Mehserle, he first ruled on a motion by Mehserle’s lawyer, Michael Rains, asking that Mehserle be granted a new trial. That motion was denied.

The trial was moved to Los Angeles due to concerns about the extensive media coverage in the Bay Area.

Listen to KCBS’ Interview with U.C. Hastings Law Professor Rory Little:

Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums pleaded for peace in reaction to a judge’s decision to sentence Johannes Mehserle to two years in prison.

Dellums said he understands the anger, hurt and disappointment following Friday’s sentencing for the white former transit officer in the shooting death of an unarmed black man.

However, he said he hopes that people will express their emotions “in a manner that is nonviolent, in a manner that is nondestructive to our community.”

Police Chief Anthony Batts said officers are monitoring for possible unrest, but so far there have been no reports of disturbances. He said officers intend to remove anyone who’s behaving dysfunctionally in a crowd.

Dozens of people were gathering after the sentencing announcement outside Oakland City Hall at a rally billed as a tribute for victim Oscar Grant.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press and Bay City News contributed to this report.)

  • Big G

    Free him!!!

    • Manny Silva

      Why the hell is CBS5 perpetuating racism in the first paragraph of this article…. Promoting more riots???

      • Tim

        Douglas, there is no evidence whatsoever that race has anything to do with this case except for irresponsible politically motivated people who want to play this case for their own agenda.

      • Manny Silva

        Douglas – I do not in any way believe this was a raciest situation… I do however think it was a horrific accident…. my personal opinion.

      • Manny Silva

        To Tim – I was curious about the same, they must have received many complaints.

      • douglas

        Truth hurts does it?

        How often do you see a white kid being shot in cold blood while he lays face down on the cement and 5-6 cops are restraining him/standing near by?

      • Tim

        Thank you for fixing that CBS. The new wording is a lot more objective. I was wondering why this page was unavailable for the last few minutes.

      • MMM

        I so agree!!!! there just giving some the excuse to loot the stores and trash our streets!!! in the name of justice i might add!

      • The Bone

        Because they are idiots and need things to report on. Good Lord, we don’t want to be non racially biased on the Bay Area do we??

      • Tim

        This is the first sentence: A judge has sentenced a white former BART police officer to two years in prison in the shooting death of an unarmed black man on an Oakland train platform.

        Maybe it should read this way: A judge has sentenced a former uniformed BART police officer to two years in prison in the accidetial shooting death of an unarmed criminal suspect on an Oakland train platform.

        Maybe the facts would look better than a provocative editorial statement.

  • zaq

    What the hell is a rent-a-cop doing with a handgun?

    • Helen

      This Police Officer was called because of a DISTURBANCE on the train, by OSCAR GRANT and his HOODLUM friends. People should be demonstrating in front of the HOOLDUMS homes, and leave innocent people alone. Instead these idiots go out destroying people’s property that had nothing to do with what happened that night. DISGUSTING behaviour. This Officer was on duty, not roaming the streets, causing disturbances like OSCAR GRANT, and his HOODLUM friends did.

    • Will in the Bay

      ever been to Oakland?

    • Robert

      Mehserle wasn’t a “rent-a-cop”. BART Police officers are exactly the same as OPD or SFPD officers; same training, same responsibilities.

      • Jim

        same training, same responsibilities, less competence

      • kevin

        clearly not the same training…

      • Wendy

        Aww, Training is the key word here isn’t it? Stun gun, real gun, stun gun, real gun??? Police Dept may consider adding a couple more years of “training” before graduation and a REAL GUN. All of you would feel different if it had been YOUR CHILD.

      • Rachel

        And same stupid-ass, swaggering, bully mentality.

    • zaqurri

      Free him to club Fed

    • John

      Never trust any humans!

    • Duh

      Zaq, Go get some education becuase you are clearly a dumb person. Bart police are NOT rent-a-cops. They ARE police officers that have the same exact training that all police have. Go enroll in community college. Please, quickly.

    • r

      zaq- bart police aren’t rent-a-cops. they’re real cops just like any city cop and go through the same training and have the same police powers that city cops have.

      • Armed

        Training? They had to shoot a little kid instead of restraining him. There were five cops in the area. Anyone can be trained to shoot a gun. Real men are trained to use muscle.

      • steve

        actually, real men use their brains

  • California Dan

    Shooting an unarmed man in the back was traditionally a hanging offense. What should it be for shooting an unarmed man in the back who is handcuffed and lying on his face? The video shows he was just lying there when shot.

    • raccoon034

      He was not handcuffed, he was resisting the Police, you sound like another IDIOT, that hae everything all mixed up. These idiots caused a disturbance. He was the one that was putting up the fight, therefore he is responsibile for his own death. How could a man that is handcuffed be on a cellular phone taking pictures. Wake up and smell the coffee!1 This Officer should never have been arrested and put through this hell. He was on doty not roaming the streets, terrorizing people. Just a shame that you and others do not respect the law. Think you can do as you please. Start being civilized and behave in public places. We all live on this planet, and need to feel safe. Be courteous, polite and ind. No matter what color, it applies to all. Stop playing the race card

  • lottawanna

    No matter what the sentence is the thungs anarchists will be out be asshats once again. at the very least Mesherle should get another trial.

    • George

      lottawanna – Us-a you spell-a check.
      Thank-a you.

  • Tina

    Time served!!!!!

  • jaybo

    He wasn’t a rent-a-cop. At least pay attention to the facts. And the jury has already determined that it was involuntary manslaughter, not murder, so why keep revisiting that issue?

    • ladybusdriver92

      @jaybo: The issue of manslaughter vs. murder continues to resurface ater the jury reached a verdict is just like the issue of O.J. Simpson being guilty for murdering his ex-wife, even after the criminal jury found him not guilty. People cannot believe, even after hearing the facts of the story, that this was manslaughter and not murder. Just like people are still not accepting the O.J. Simpson criminal verdict over a decade+ later.

      • Sexiismiles

        @ladybusdriver92 – Exactly, very well put.

        I for one believe that is wasn’t accidental and that he knew exactly what he was doing. If there is true justice to be served the feds will pick up the case. What most people don’t know is true he was with a group of friends on bart. True the group, got into a fight on bart, Not true was that he was part of the fight, What is true is that he was trying to break up the fight. How do I know. I was a passenger on the train that night. I did not, nor do I know the grant family personally. But I do know and can relate to what they are going true and the lose they are feeling.

        I just hope and pray that the Grant family can eventually heal and move forward.

  • Race-Rowdy-Rick

    I wonder what this would all be about if the officer happened to be black… I’m thinking his being white is a lot of what all the fuss is about. Who’s really playing the race card here??

    • Sexiismiles

      @Race-Rowdy-Rick: I so totally agree with your statement. I am a white woman and I believe had the officer been black and Oscar Grant been White. He would be serving a life sentence.

      • kevin

        I am an African-American man I believe it would still be a huge issue because it still hits back to the bottom line of blacks feeling that cops (white, black, whatever) are allowed to perpetrate various crimes upon them and get away with it because of the inherent suspicion that “the black guy must have been doing something wrong”. I think Mehserle being white clearly muddles the issue. But at heart it’s a police vs. blacks issue much more than a white vs. black.

    • ladyfred

      It’s not about race….Those are two young lives. Over acting is over acting and if your a police officer you know that the taser gun use is being abuse. anything with giver power to Man will come with abuse.
      That’s the point.
      Both young lives has rotted.
      Mothers are crushed. shaking my head….

  • A Mother

    What if this were your son, unarmed, face down on the ground and shot in the back and killed while pleading for his life, what would YOU then recommend at sentencing?

    • A Reasonable Thinker

      If he were my son, he wouldn’t be in that situation in the first place.

      • Yeah Right

        You sound like one of those parents who THINK they know everything their child is up to

      • Sexiismiles

        @ A Reasonable Thinker: There is no way for you to know your statement to be true. I have sons and I know that one day they are going to do something they weren’t raised to do. But that is life. All you can do as a parent is teach your children right from wrong and hope that they don’t stray to far off the path and get lost for the rest of their lives.

        Peace, hope, and healing to the Grant Family. – Amen!

    • td

      The kid should have been home taking care of his kids and not out causing trouble or in that prediciment..
      Hey I feel sorry his family and his kids, but somestimes you put self in bad spots and bad things happen… Proper upbringing comes into in question..

      • kevin

        td, putting yourself on Bart on New Year’s (like thousands of others) is not putting yourself in a bad spot. Or if it is, then many more people should have gotten arrested and shot in the back on that day!

      • Mike

        Kevin, You really don’t know the story so do us a favor and read what happened rather then act like it was nothing. This thug was not just “in a bad spot”. He and his thug friends were HARASSING AND THREATING people. HELLO!! There are plenty of people that were out that night to have a good time. He and his friends had other plans and that was to break the law. When will people wake up and stop blaming everyone else. You need to be accountable for your actions. Plain and simple.

      • ladyfred

        td, same goes for meserhele. bad things happens.
        bad day for both young men.

    • a bart passenger

      My son would never be in that situation, the young man and his friends
      were kicking butt on the train and the police was called, probably by
      the same people that later turned on the officers. If you are involved in
      situations that need police intervention bad things are bound to happen

    • Dr. Beeper

      Since its clearly and accident. I pose this question. What if you were driving down the street your kids screaming in the back seat distracting you and you ran a red light and killed a pedestrian merely walking across the street? Should you be sentences to 14 years. This officer was dealing with a fight on a train where the person calling said that there was handguns seen. How distracting might that be and lets be real. Grant is not an innocent victim in this. He was involved in the altercation, he was not being completely cooperative, and had priors for violence. This is an accident and should be treated as such.

      • td

        Perfect analisys…

      • BK from the Bay

        not really the best example due to the fact that bart police are put through training for these types of situations. When I took my driving exam there was no distractions going on as part of the test or”training”. To me your example is void. As bart police officer you are trained to know the difference between a gun and a stun gun. If you dont know the difference or you dont know the location of each on your own belt, than the academy has failed. GUILTY. Justice system has failed.

    • opleez

      A Mother, Obviously you do not have children because you would know that it is a parents job to teach and nuture their children to be good lay obeying citizens. This thug Oscar was a lifelong criminal and he hadn’t been harrassing and threatening people on bart, none of this would of happened. He choose his own destiny. He is now rotting in the hot hot place.

    • megan

      A Mother, Obviously you do not have children because you would know that it is a parents job to teach and nuture their children to be good lay obeying citizens. This thug Oscar was a lifelong criminal and he hadn’t been harrassing and threatening people on bart, none of this would of happened. He choose his own destiny. He is now rotting in the hot hot place

    • George

      To “A Mother”: He was not pleading for his life – he was resisting arrest. That is why Officer Mehserle went to pull out his stun gun. Facts need to be presented accurately.

  • Bay Bizness

    Lets make this short and simple. When you shoot a man in the back and KILL HIM, purposely or not, you should be punished. Nuff said.

    • A Reasonable Thinker

      That doesn’t take into account a whole bunch of other factors. When you’re in the line of duty, you may in fact kill someone.

      • td

        Exactly… Hey if a cop says lay down on the ground or get of of the car with hands up, you just might want to obey.. They are serious it ain’t like Momma’s gonna give you a spankn’

    • a bart passenger

      He has, 2 years

    • Sexiismiles


  • ladybusdriver92

    @jaybo: The issue of manslaughter vs. murder continues to resurface ater the jury reached a verdict is just like the issue of O.J. Simpson being guilty for murdering his ex-wife, even after the criminal jury found him not guilty. People cannot believe, even after hearing the facts of the story, that this was manslaughter and not murder. Just like people are still not accepting the O.J. Simpson criminal verdict over a decade+ later.

  • ladybusdriver92

    @Bay Bizness: Your thoughts are my sentiments. Right on point

  • td

    What was the you ng doing hanging around and fighting on the BART train that late at night anyway, why wasn’t he home taking care of his kids??
    What if it was a Black cop that shot a White young man would there be this big of fuss…??

    • A Reasonable Thinker

      Exactly. No, there wouldn’t.

      • JB

        and if it was a white kid?

      • JB

        Sorry – misread the first part. Forget the first comment. In regards to “why wasn’t he home taking care of his kids??”, it was New Year’s Eve and he was out having fun…lots of parents do that. I don’t think judging him as a father is pertinent at all. Of all the valid arguments I’ve heard on both sides, that’s pretty weak.

    • Har

      first of all… hundreds of thousands of parents go out on new years, and leave their children with sitters or family members. ther eis nothing wrong with that, so your arguing that point, is moot..

      secondly, race it not an issue. it does not matter if it was on purpose or accident, or if the kid was white or black, or yellow. This person was shot while face down. regardless of his backround, which they knew nothing about. reglardless if it was an accident or intentional…. he still shot him, while he was face down….

  • Wonder Eng

    Question: Why were those cops on the platform anyway? Was there something going on in the BART train? I hope we don’t have any violence in the streets today… What if someone makes another mistake and kills another “respectable” thug?? Oh no!

  • td

    What an innocent person gets hurt in the stupid stuff going on..
    Yeah proves a lot to destroy Oakland.. May learn something and OBEY the Frickin’ law and stay out of trouble and go to school..

  • md

    If he had just sat there and did what the officers were telling him to do instead of fighting back this wouldn’t have happened. I’m tired of people thinking that they are “entitled” and not having to obey the law.

    • TheRealMD

      How could he “sit there” when he is face down with a cops knee on his head?

    • Jim

      RE: Oscar Grant – So he was a jerk. He was disrespectful to an officer, possibly defied his orders and did not act appropriately in that situation. He did not deserve to be shot!

      RE: Mehserle – He sought and earned the responsibility to carry a gun in public and use it if necessary. Along with that responsibility should come all the consequences of using it inappropriately. Whether or not you think the shooting was intentional or not, it was undoubtedly an inappropriate use of a firearm. Can’t we all at least agree on that? There should be serious consequences for that error in judgment no matter the victim.

  • Taxpayer

    Mehserle…is my Hero! A true crime fighter in blue.

    Get over it and move on.

    • The Lip

      If he is your hero, you are in need of help. No way is his actions justified. He is doing two years

    • TOM T


  • a concerned citizen who lives in Oaklland

    Should’t we feel sorry for all the people who were murdered in Oakland? Who did this?

    • td

      You are Dang Right…

  • Lastest Mehserle Sentencing News | Fresh NEWS- right NOW!

    […] Mehserle Sentencing Hearing Underway; Defense Asks For New Trial A judge considering the fate of a former white transit officer who killed an unarmed black man in Oakland says he has received more than 1,000 letters urging a harsh sentence. Read more on CBS San Francisco […]

  • RR

    Can you please stop announcing on your tv scroll that he got the minimum sentence of 2 years instead of 14? I live in Oakland and we need the press to help save our city from more vandalism. There are plenty of peaceful protesters, but you making this sound sensational is making our city worse – please stop instigating!

    • td

      But hey the ratings won’t be as high… Tells you where the media comes from Huh..??

  • Bay Bizzness

    3 words: License to Kill

  • Tim

    The root cause of this incident is a youth culture that accepts violence as a way of life. There was a fight on the train. There was a fight with the police. Now, we can expect more violence in the streets of Oakland.

    My message to the supporters of Oscar Grant is to get an education, learn how to live without violence, and join the civilized society that most of enjoy in peace.

    • Randy Fleming

      Yes , I agree and this incident is part and parcel of the fuel that’s been thrown on the right wing , reactionary fire of the ‘Tea Party’ movement , unfortunately. Whether they acknowledge it or not. Oscar Grant and others like him have been the catalyst.

    • Lola

      Perfectly said Tim.

    • CEO22

      I’m an Oscar Grant supporter and I have an MBA, so stick your recommendation where the sun doesn’t shine. Mehserle is a murderer and will get his… Oh, yeah, I’m also white.

      • Randy Fleming

        WOW!…Talk about ‘bleeding heart liberal’…cardiac tamponade.

  • noneya

    What?? he should of got NO prison time. My thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Mehserle. HE IS A HERO!

    • angry

      “Really? your not embarrased by your comment? do you know what a hero is?

  • Marci

    Tim is a wise man. I completely agree with him. THANK YOU

  • Devin

    With time served he is getting just over a year. I’m glad he didn’t kill a dog because the punishment would’ve been alot stiffer as a dogs life is more important according to the courts. Meanwhile Ben Rothlisberger can rape women and get no punishment over than paid leave. This is definitely your country and we are here solely for entertainment and to be made examples of

  • alice

    Totally agree with the sentencing on this. For once the courts got it right.

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