Jury reaches verdict in BART police shooting caught on cellphones: involuntary manslaughter

mehserle.jpg A Los Angeles jury has reached a verdict in the trial of Johannes Mehserle (shown in the photo at left), a white Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer who fatally shot Oscar J. Grant III, an unarmed black man who was lying face-down on an Oakland train platform. The event was captured on mobile phone photo and video by many bystanders—even by the shooting victim himself, just before his death—and much of that media made its way onto the internet.

Here in Los Angeles, crowds have gathered at the courthouse. Up in Oakland, trains and streets are packed with people trying to get out of the way of anticipated civil unrest in the event of a not guilty verdict.

Update, 4:08pm PT: Mehserle has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Mehserle could get 2, 3 or 4 years for involuntary manslaughter plus 3, 4 or 10 years for using a gun. "That means the minimum total sentence that Judge Robert Perry could impose would be five years, and the maximum would be 14 years."

Lots of police on the streets in Oakland tonight.

Image below, courtesy L.A. County Superior Court: a cellphone photo which was taken, according to lawyers, by Oscar Grant of ex-BART cop Johannes Mehserle, just before Mehserle shot Grant to death on New Year's Day, 2009.

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