July 10th, 2010
11:04 AM ET

Former officer apologizes for shooting unarmed man

A former police officer convicted of involuntary manslaughter for killing an unarmed man in Oakland, California, apologized to the public and described his memories of the moments after the shooting in a handwritten letter obtained by CNN.

In the letter, Johannes Mehserle said he was "truly sorry" for killing Oscar Grant.

"For now, and forever, I will live, breathe, sleep, and not sleep with the memory of Mr. Grant screaming 'you shot me' and me putting my hands on the bullet wound thinking the pressure would help while I kept telling him 'you'll be okay,'" Mehserle says in the letter. "I tried to tell myself that maybe this shot would not be so serious, but I recall how sick I felt when Mr. Grant stopped talking, closed his eyes and seemed to change his breathing."

Mehserle's letter was dated July 4, four days before a jury found him guilty of involuntary manslaughter for shooting 22-year-old Grant on an Oakland train platform on January 1, 2009.

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Filed under: California • Crime
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Smith in Oregon

    Simply a ploy for sympathy from the judge prior to his prison sentence being determined. This corrupt police officer EXECUTED a man in the back that was being held face down by two other officers on the concrete. You don't Taser someone held on the ground by fellow officers as they might be zapped as well. You don't sight a semi-automatic pistol and mistake that for a Taser device. This corrupt police officer had to look down the sights on his pistol to avoid shooting his fellow officers. This was a execution, the corrupt police officer shot the rowdy suspect in the back out of revenge.

    July 10, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. TexVet

    I think all those people screaming around him made him over react. I'm not saying what happened is right.....I'm just saying he became overly stressed out and caused him to make a grave mistake. I really put the blame on all those other people.

    July 10, 2010 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Thozzomantis

    Whites are killed by police officers all the time. Some on purpose, some by accident.
    White criminals are killed by black policemen as well.
    The difference is whites don't riot and loot or look to make money off their dead loved ones.

    Black street thugs use these events as an excuse to rob, loot, burn and commit crimes.

    July 11, 2010 at 6:13 am | Report abuse |
  4. vanessa

    Those were not black street thugs, but PROFESSIONAL PROTESTERS, who hide behind mask and hooded sweatshirts and are MAJORITY WHITE. It would have been nice if CNN had reported that out of 96 arrests 75% percent of them were not from Oakland. They were mostly from the neighboring state of Oregon and other parts of California. Their main purpose was to agitate who they could into joining their mayhem mission, unfortunately some misguided youth did. For the most part it was a peaceful gathering until nightfall. This is not the first BART officer to shoot a young black man in the back–it has happened at least 3 other times, the only difference here is it's recorded. If it had been a black officer that shot him, I'd want him prosecuted too. It was wrong period, point-blank just like he shot him.

    July 15, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |