The defense has rested in the trial of Johannes Mehserle, the former BART police officer accused of murdering an unarmed black man on an Oakland train platform.

Mehserle’s defense attorney, Michael Raines, told the jury the shooting on New Years Day last year was an accident and that this was Mehserle’s “shot at justice”.

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The judge has given the jury their instructions and deliberations are set to begin after lunch this Friday.

There was no mention of a sequestered jury or about how long the deliberations would last.

The trial was moved to Los Angeles because of tensions that boiled over into rioting in Oakland soon after Grant’s death.
Meanwhile BART is joining East Bay civic leaders in a call for calm and peace once a verdict in the trial of Johannes Mehserle is announced.

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The fact that Johannes Mehserle was a BART police officer when the killing of Oscar Grant occurred on the BART platform of the Fruitvale station has shaken confidence in their police department.

A disturbance ensued that included several acts of violence after his death.

Now BART Board President James Fang is urging calm and says the agency’s police department has changed.
“We have a new police chief now who’s come in with some fantastic new ideas on community policing. We now have a citizen’s oversight committee and we just need to continue to let people know through our actions, not flashy stuff but just solid community policing and relations, to just slowly get the confidence back in our police department,” said Fang.
BART went so far as to cancel a news conference about the issue at the request of Oakland officials.

The defense is looking for an acquittal on all three charges including second degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, and involuntary manslaughter.

The prosecutor’s rebuttal should take about an hour.

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If you want a KCBS text message when the verdict is announced text the word ALERT to 45227.