US cop convicted of manslaughter in shooting

2010-07-09 08:19

A former San Francisco area transit police officer has been

convicted of involuntary manslaughter in last year’s shooting of an unarmed man,

an incident that inflamed racial tensions in the region.

Johannes Mehserle (28), was found guilty in the trial that had to

be moved to Los Angeles because of a racially charged atmosphere in the northern

California city of Oakland, where the shooting took place.

The Bay Area Rapid Transit (Bart) officer was responding to reports

of fighting on the subway when he shot and killed Oscar Grant (22).

Mehserle claimed in his defence that he intended to use his Taser

stun weapon to subdue the man, but inadvertently grabbed his gun instead.

The lethal shooting of an unarmed black man by a white police

officer was captured on video and widely broadcast on television and the

internet, and to violent protests in the Oakland area.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Perry scheduled sentencing

for August 6.

The involuntary manslaughter charge normally carries a prison

sentence of two to four years, but the jury found that the officer used a

handgun in the crime, which could add to the sentence.

Wanda Johnson, Grant’s mother, said: “The system has let us down,

but God will never, ever let us down.

Crowds gathered in Oakland following the verdict.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that small groups of angry

protesters smashed windows and looted some stores in downtown Oakland near City

Hall, with some people throwing rocks and bottles at police. At least 20 arrests

were made, according to the Chronicle.

The city website said youth centres would be open “as places for

you to express yourself in positive ways” on the verdict.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger called on state residents “to remain

calm in light of the verdict and not to resort to violence.”

John Burris, an attorney for the Grant family, said outside the

courthouse that the conviction was better than nothing, but the family was

angry.

“We do believe that this was a murder case, a second-degree murder,

and we are surprised by the verdict,” said Burris.

There were no black jurors on the panel that convicted

Mehserle.

Olis Simmons, executive director of an Oakland youth group that is

advocating a peaceful reaction, called the verdict a miscarriage of

justice.

“It is a walk for him. It is a walk,” Simmons said.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.