Ex-BART Officer Johannes Mehserle Released From Jail

LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) – Now that a former Bay Area Rapid Transit officer convicted of fatally shooting an unarmed man has been released from jail, he is also free on unsupervised parole.

Johannes Mehserle , who served one year of a two-year sentence, was released under California’s non-revocable parole law because a risk assessment found he is less likely to reoffend, according to the state’s corrections department.

While Mehserle will be on parole for at least a year, he has no conditions placed on him. He also does not have to meet with a parole agent and his whereabouts will not be tracked, corrections spokesman Luis Patino said.

However, Mehserle would be subject to searches by law enforcement without probable cause for the length of his parole. The law also prohibits sending him back to prison unless he is convicted of a new crime.

“He obviously met the corrections department and parole board’s criteria and therefore they feel his supervision can be minimal,” said Steven Clark, a Bay Area defense attorney and former prosecutor who has followed Mehserle’s case. “He’s a very well-known parolee and his notoriety could work against him in terms of violating his parole.

“People will drop a dime on him in an instant. The whole community will be his parole officer.”

Mehserle managed to slip away from the Los Angeles County’s Twin Towers jail at 12:01 a.m. Monday unseen by the few protesters in the street as well as waiting reporters.

KCBS Team Coverage of Mehserle’s Release:

Mehserle’s attorney, Michael Rains, said on Monday that precautions were taken because there were too many safety concerns to let his client just walk out of jail.

When asked if Mehserle can go home again, Rains said sounded optimistic.

“Well, we don’t know. We’ll know more about that in the next 10 days to two weeks,” Rains said. “We hope he will be able to go home because he has always called Northern California home and he really doesn’t want to call any place else home.

“But if he can’t go home, he’s going to call another place home and he will go there with his family and he will live a productive life.”

>> Photo Gallery: The Oscar Grant Shooting

Mehserle, 29, was convicted last July of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Oscar Grant, 22, on the Fruitvale BART station platform in Oakland on New Year’s Day 2009.

He served his time in Los Angeles after his high-profile trial was moved to Southern California.

The shooting continues to spark debate and racial tension, and occasional protests have turned violent. Last fall, more than 150 people were arrested in Oakland hours after Mehserle’s sentencing.

About 25 protesters gathered Monday at the downtown Los Angeles courthouse where Mehserle was tried. They walked to a nearby U.S. District Court building to demand that federal charges be brought against the former officer.

“We are here because there has been an injustice,” protester Julia Wallace said.

A few federal police officers watched the protest, which remained peaceful.

Meanwhile, a group of demonstrators in Oakland on Monday filed a class action lawsuit against the police department claiming they were unlawfully arrested and jailed while protesting Mehserle’s sentencing in November.

They were among the aforementioned 150 people arrested as police cited them with unlawful assembly, but no charges were ever filed.

>> Related Story: Lawsuit Filed Over Arrests Following Mehserle Verdict

The Oakland City Attorney’s office declined comment as it has not reviewed the suit.

On Sunday, about 300 protesters held a peaceful gathering in downtown Oakland as they vented their continued frustration over the shooting and Mehserle’s release.

“The people know it was wrong,” said Jabari Shaw, 32, a protester who had also attended Mehserle’s trial. “As much as we want justice, we’re still not getting it.”

A judge ruled Friday that Mehserle should be given credit for time served and good conduct.

The shooting was recorded by bystanders, and video posted online showed the Bay Area Rapid Transit officer firing a bullet into the back of Grant as he lay face down after being pulled off a train, suspected of fighting.

The videos were subsequently used as evidence during Mehserle’s murder trial and posted online, further stoking the racial tensions brought on by the shooting.

Facing a second-degree murder charge and a maximum 14 years in prison, Mehserle tearfully testified at his trial that he meant to use his stun gun instead of his .40-caliber pistol.

Jurors found that while Mehserle didn’t mean to kill Grant, his behavior was so negligent that it was criminal. He received a two-year sentence for involuntary manslaughter.

In L.A., Grant’s uncle, Cephus “Bobby” Johnson, was among those waiting in vain outside county jail late Sunday to witness Mehserle’s release.

“There’s much rage in our community,” he said. “It’s a shame that our children still have fear from police officers that come into our communities.”

A civil lawsuit against Mehserle and several other officers involved with Grant’s shooting is still pending.

Grant’s family attorney, John Burris, on Sunday urged the Oakland crowd before their march downtown to remain peaceful as they exercised their freedom of speech.

“There’s still an opportunity for all of us to continue our sense of outrage, our sense of frustration at the (criminal justice) system and do what we can through public speaking, through organizing, community involvement to continue his legacy,” Burris said.

(Copyright 2011 by CBSSan Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. Jim Kelly says:

    Is anyone Protesting the
    weekly Murders in Oakland

    1. peters says:

      good thought!!!!!

  2. G says:

    OAKTOWN IS A JOKE TOWN. THIS WOULD OF NEVER BEEN NEWS IF THE BART OFFICER WAS BLACK. THE KID WAS A THUG AND IT WAS AN ACCIDENT. ALSO, BEFORE ANY OF YOU TRY AND BASH ME. KISS MY ASS FIRST.

  3. 123 says:

    Welcome back murderer.

  4. Bloodhounds says:

    If the officer had been black and shot a white kid in the back he would be in jail for life. Mehserle will be looking over his shoulder the rest of his life. I sure wouldn’t want to be in his shoes! What goes around comes around! That karma will bite you in the butt every time!

  5. Christy says:

    It was an accident and he wasnt thinking clearly. If Oscar was already on the ground why did he need the stun gun? I thought he was already under control. Wouldn’t you just handcuff his ass and pick him up and transport? He didn’t seem to be fighting with the officers. Weird.

  6. Tom Done says:

    Mehserle won’t be looking over his shoulder for any of you Oakland fools. He knows as well as anyone, people in Oakland forget about their causes within a day or two of the last protest. They will be saying “Oscar who” in about a week and will look for the next event to drink Night Train and break windows. Meanwhile Mehserle will be starting a new life somehwere in a nice conservative state where someone will give him a good job just because he cleaned the streets of another low life. So keep talking that smack about someone getting to Mehserle….won’t happen. No Oaklander I know who cares about the Oscar Grant thing can even afford the bus ticket out of town…Hahahahaha!

  7. SMH says:

    they make a big deal about a white man shooting a black man. But everday on the news all you hear about is a black man killing another black man. it’s only a big deal now cuz it was a white man that did it. SMH

  8. Rayboy says:

    Too bad there are never demonstrations over Oaklands dropout rate, illiteracy, pervasive preventable obesity leading to heart disease and diabetes, and every category of out of control crime.
    I can thank the “fine citizens” who rampaged through Hayward BART the day of the original verdict causing hundreds of dollars vandalizing cars including mine while I was at work and paying taxes for their ET cards.

  9. Zack Debarco says:

    Taken in totallity, this case would never have happened had Oscar Grant been smart and followed the orders of the BART cops. However, as a young black male, he is entitled to act like the thug he was. Once the black community starts holding its criminal element fully responsible, then I will consider anything they say. Oscar Grant was destined to end up like he did, DAD in Prison, going to prison and still not learning that there is a time and place to complain about official conduct. Where are these same demonstrators when the black on black holocaust is trickling on?!!!

  10. 123 says:

    I CAN ONLY COUNT TO (3) THAT WHY i BE 123

  11. pite says:

    if OScar grant wouldnt start a fight, he certainly wont be dead. He paid what hes done. It was an accident. Thx god Mesherle FREEDOM!!!!!!!

  12. R2K1-Black Panther says:

    Believe Me The people of Oakland know how to travel and arrive at their destination without any person knowing. I live in Oakland. I know the people of Oakland will never forget Oscar Grant. This is our driving force that proves Officers and the Justice systems are RACIST forces against Blacks. This is a lesson that will be passed down from generation to generation-Never trust the justice systems, never be kind to any Officers and despise anyone who works for the law. Son will tell his father I thought officers responsibility was to protect and serve the community? No, son officers are here to kill us and to destroy our communities and families and look what happened to Oscar Grant if you do not believe me. Tupac was right things will never CHANGE BUT there is Alot of HOPE FOR the FUTURE!!!! Thanx mehserle for reminding us!

    1. l says:

      I have absolutely no idea why cops don’t just get out of Oakland until the black on black violence is done. How many thug on thug killings have you had to date? 6858 violence crimes in 2010. 5th most dangerous city in the USA! Yes, they will blame the cops for trying to protect so why should they? Fence off the city and let them have at it. Just keep them out of our area so that those of us who still understand law and order and don’t want to be killed or assaulted by some punk won’t be contaminated. [Citizens called for Bart cops to protect them from Grant …. Meserle made a mistake by pulling gun instead of tazer and was convicted to appease crowd mentality]

    2. Tom Done says:

      Hey R2K1! If you hate the agents of your government so much and are the true soldier you seem to claim to be, why don’t you stop collecting your government welfare check and get off the state health care system…huh soldier. That’s right, the same gub’ment that pays your electric bills and for your sorry butt to get doctor services is the same gub’ment that certifies it’s agents (the po po) to arrest you and your sorry friends for breaking the law. And I have a nice wager for you….I bet Mehserle is fine and dandy 20 years from now,because once again,your sorry city Oakland thug friends are apathetic (look it up in the dictionary) to anything that extends 5 feet from them at any given moment and yes they will forget Oscar Grant. Once again, anyone who would even remember Grant a few weeks from now and are still angry, including you, more than likely can;t afford the bus fare out of town…hahahaha….I pity you. But I do challenge you to be the soldier you act like online…stop collecting the gub’ment cheese….but you won’t because you are no soldier…just a pitiful talker.

  13. R2K1-Black Panther says:

    Being a gay man and a Black Panther has been hard. It makes me say things that are not true 321 I am the messed up one. 123 look at me pee on myself. See what you white folks have done to me.

    1. R2K1 says:

      I don’t know why you use an anonymous name white boy. When you don’t even know what the name stands for or the meaning of this name. This name could be a convict name be care ful how you use it!

  14. R2K1-Black Panther says:

    Did I say white folks, I ment crackers. 123,321 I am the being wrong is just no fun

  15. Zack Debarco says:

    It is obvious that Oscar Grant’s upbringing included the indoctrination that the previous poster mentions, “don’t trust them, don’t be kind to them,,,,,,”. This
    philosophy just re-enforces the stereotypical depiction of blacks as nothing but
    savages. They seem to want to proove the racists right by their actions up and including the rampant black on black homicides that nobody seems to care about.

  16. Drowning Mess says:

    We moved from Oakland to Sacramento. People are racist here; we’re on our fourth count of racism. I’m sorry, but there is no reward to our group until we learn to accept one another

  17. l says:

    Excellent example of the kind of thinking that keeps blacks killing blacks and committing 6858 violent crimes in 2010.

  18. Tom Done says:

    Hey R2K1! If you hate the agents of your government so much and are the true soldier you seem to claim to be, why don’t you stop collecting your government welfare check and get off the state health care system…huh soldier. That’s right, the same gub’ment that pays your electric bills and for your sorry butt to get doctor services is the same gub’ment that certifies it’s agents (the po po) to arrest you and your sorry friends for breaking the law. And I have a nice wager for you….I bet Mehserle is fine and dandy 20 years from now,because once again,your sorry city Oakland thug friends are apathetic (look it up in the dictionary) to anything that extends 5 feet from them at any given moment and yes they will forget Oscar Grant. Once again, anyone who would even remember Grant a few weeks from now and are still angry, including you, more than likely can;t afford the bus fare out of town…hahahaha….I pity you. But I do challenge you to be the soldier you act like online…stop collecting the gub’ment cheese….but you won’t because you are no soldier…just a pitiful talker.

    1. Pink Panther says:

      Tom, ‘Good night sweet dream. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  19. R2K1 Black Panther says:

    Ha ha haha!! You think every black person is on welfare I am not on welfare actually i like the government paying for my education and a place to stay off campus. Also , the black people of Oakland aren’t apathetic ( lack of concern or interest) We are important cause we are your future leaders.While your rich white children are drinking thru college we are taking their positions in college and getting our degrees. … I bet Mehserle can not sleep comfortable tonight and nights in the future cause he is daunt (look it up) by the Grant family and people of oakland not knowing when someone will find him and kill him. Good night I hope Tom and him are on the same “Hit List” just kidding. I hope I didnot scare you in to your mamas arms! We will see how long the people of oakland will remember Grant and how long mehserle will last as a free man?

  20. R2K1 Black Panther says:

    Good night and Good Bye and see you later all you white HATERS or white (SUPREMACISTS) i do not need to be bothered. Why did he have to go out the back way if he is not daunt?

    1. R2K1 Black Panther says:

      Also I have traveled in and out of california. Agreed!

  21. Tom Done says:

    R2K1 and Pink Panther….pitiful blabbermouths. All talk no walk. I and I am sure Mehserle slept sound last night and will continue to do so. Pitiful talkers….hahahahaha! Seriously….you two crack me up….pathetic.

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