November 5th, 2010
04:54 PM ET

Former BART officer gets 2 years in fatal subway shooting

Johannes Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for killing an unarmed man.

A former California transit police officer was sentenced Friday to two years with credit for time served for killing an unarmed man, in what a lawyer for the victim's family called "a punch in the stomach."

Johannes Mesherle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in July for shooting 22-year-old Oscar Grant on an Oakland train platform on January 1, 2009. With its verdict, the jury declined to convict him of second-degree murder or voluntary, which would have carried lengthier sentences.

Grant's mother, Wanda Johnson, asked Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Robert Perry to impose the maximum 14 years in prison, calling Mehserle "a murderer."

But Mesherle's lawyer claimed the shooting was an accident and urged the judge to sentence him to probation. He said Mesherle intended to draw his Taser and not his gun. Mesherle told the judge Friday that he would be willing to go to prison if the sentence made his city and family safer.

Attorney John Burris, who represents the victim's family in a civil action against the city of Oakland, said the sentence reaffirms the idea that the justice system in inherently biased against the African-American community.

"This case is a  profound statement that no, it is not fair," Burris said outside the courthouse. "Your lives as African-Americans can be taken from you without cause."

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Filed under: California • Crime
soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. Wild Hurricane

    Its a wild hurricane.

    November 7, 2010 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
  2. Wild Hurricane

    I look at the world and i notice its turning. I look at the floor and i notice it needs sweeping. And my song is one of weeping.

    November 7, 2010 at 1:04 am | Report abuse |
  3. flux

    Sometimes bad things happen when you put yourself in bad situations. Stay out of trouble.

    November 7, 2010 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
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