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Ex-Oakland transit officer charged with murder

Ex-Oakland transit officer charged with murder

A white former Bay Area transit police officer has been charged with murder in the shooting death of an unarmed black man, officials said Wednesday.
Johannes Mehserle, 27, was arrested Tuesday in Nevada and appeared briefly Wednesday in court. He was expected to return to California later Wednesday.
"At this point, what I feel the evidence indicates, is an unlawful killing done by an intentional act and from the evidence we have there's nothing that would mitigate that to something lower than a murder," Alameda Country District Attorney Tom Orloff said at a news conference announcing the charge.
Mehserle's attorney, Christopher Miller, planned a news conference later Wednesday at his office in Sacramento.
Witnesses say Mehserle fired into the back of 22-year-old Oscar Grant while the man was lying facedown on a train platform at a station in Oakland. Grant and others had been pulled off a train after reports of fighting, as New Year's Eve revelers were shuttling home after midnight.
The shooting, captured on cell phone cameras and widely viewed on the Internet, has inflamed long-running tensions between law enforcement authorities and many African-American residents.
Hundreds of protesters have taken to the streets calling for the prosecution of Mehserle, with one rally last Wednesday spiraling into violence and resulting in more than 100 arrests and dozens of businesses damaged.
Another demonstration was planned Wednesday afternoon.
John Burris, the attorney for Grant's family, said the news of the charge was "terrific."
"It is consistent with the evidence I have seen. I think the family will be pleased," he said.
Mehserle had refused to talk to Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) investigators before resigning last week.
"I want to know why he did it," said BART board member Carole Ward Allen. "We've heard from everybody else but him. While I can't speak for the entire BART board, we want to make this process as transparent as possible."
State Attorney General Jerry Brown assigned a prosecutor to monitor the case, and the U.S. Department of Justice sent mediators to help avert additional violent demonstrations.


Updated : 2021-05-06 20:33 GMT+08:00