Required Reading for Blacks: Black Citizen’s Guide To Police Confrontation!New!
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Top News Story! Family Law Court!
July 16, 2011
Officials say a woman is facing charges after she was caught on court cameras trying to attack a judge.
A Wayne County woman is facing new charges after she was caught on court cameras trying to attack a judge Thursday. Melissa Hardwick (pictured left) now faces three new charges along with contempt of court. She was in court after her husband filed a domestic violence order against her. The incident started when the judge asked Hardwick's husband to explain the situation. Hartwick then interrupted, and when the judge told her to stop talking, she continued to talk and was held in contempt of court and sentenced her to 10 days in jail. That's when she lunged at the judge. Court security officer Adam Dodson got in the middle and tackled Hartwick.
Hardwick was given 120 days in jail for contempt of court for the incident. She'll also now have to go before a judge charges of third-degree terroristic threatening, intimidating a participant in the legal process and resisting arrest.
Hartwick's bond is set at $25,000 cash.
After the altercation, the judge ruled that the DVO filed by Hardwick's husband will remain.
Mehserle to be Released!
Posted: 05/31/2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Updated: 05/31/2011 09:42:01 AM PDT
OAKLAND, CA -- A year after facing a lifetime in prison for killing an unarmed BART passenger, former transit police Officer Johannes Mehserle will be released from jail in a couple of weeks. With credits for time served and the leniency of a Los Angeles County judge, Mehserle will be set free after serving 11 months of a two-year sentence issued after the 29-year-old was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the killing of Hayward resident Oscar Grant III. Mehserle's release from Los Angeles County Men's Central Jail, most likely in the middle of June, should not come as a surprise because the date was determined when Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Perry declined last year to issue a harsher penalty.
Mehserle was charged with murder for killing Grant on the Fruitvale BART station platform in Oakland. The killing made national headlines and sparked several destructive demonstrations after videos captured by BART passengers recorded the shooting. The videos showed an unarmed Grant being shot in the back as he lay prone on the station platform with another BART police officer holding him down. Mehserle refused to speak to investigators immediately after the killing and eventually was charged with murder by now-retired Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff.
Publicity surrounding the shooting and the frequent protests in downtown Oakland forced a relocation of the trial to Los Angeles, where Mehserle testified in his own defense, saying the shooting was an accident caused when he mistook his gun for his Taser. A jury appeared to believe Mehserle, finding him guilty of involuntary manslaughter. That verdict and a decision made by Perry during a sentencing hearing to throw out a complicated gun enhancement charge reduced Mehserle's possible term in jail from 25 years to life to two years. It also angered Grant's family members, who continue to believe Mehserle purposely killed Grant and that he has not paid enough for the crime.
For Grant's family, the release is a bitter reminder of the tragedy that occurred in the early hours of Jan. 1, 2009, and how, in their minds, the criminal justice system failed. "We really don't feel like there has been accountability for his actions," said Cephus Johnson, Grant's uncle and a family spokesman. "We were totally let down by the judicial system." Johnson said Grant's family is also upset because, in their view, Mehserle never apologized for the killing. "We are hurt and angry." Although Mehserle released a written apology to the media after his conviction, Johnson said Grant's family viewed the action as a stunt rather than a sincere signal of remorse. "There has not even been an apology," Johnson said. "While he is sitting in jail, he never wrote a letter to the family."
"The sentencing was a slap in the face," Johnson said. For Grant's family, the only hope for justice is winning the federal civil suit and persuading the U.S. Justice Department to file federal criminal charges against Mehserle and other BART police officers who were at the scene of the killing. The Justice Department had said it was investigating the killing but has never issued a statement regarding the results of that investigation. Phone calls to the department were not returned. "Right now, we are grasping to hope that the Department of Justice will pick this case up," Johnson said. "When we finally get through the civil case and the Department of Justice decision, at that time, we will truly know how we really feel."
For Mehserle, being freed from jail offers a chance to begin anew but not in the profession he had chosen when he became a BART police officer more than three years ago. And while Mehserle's release closes a chapter in the highly publicized saga, the story of Grant's death and its implications will continue for years as both a federal civil suit and an appeal of Mehserle's conviction remain active in the courts.
Once released from jail, Mehserle will be on parole and he will have to work with his parole officer on the details of where he can live. "Things are still unsettled," said Mehserle's defense attorney. "(Mehserle) would just as soon fade into oblivion, find a job, support himself and his family and do so without fanfare." He said Mehserle will seek a job in either sales or business and remain in California for the "short term."
B.A.R.T. Tasers, ... Again!
June 25, 2010
BART police are in trouble with Tasers again, after an officer zapped a man in the back just days after the transit agency lifted a two-month moratorium on the devices. The man's crime? Fare evasion. BART says the officer's actions could be defensible, but that's not how BART Board of Directors member Lynette Sweet sees it. "I want the Tasers gone," Sweet said. "It's one of the stupidest uses of a Taser I can think of." Justifiable or not, the incident probably couldn't have happened at a worse time for BART - not with former BART cop Johannes Mehserle's defense trying to avoid a murder conviction in the Oscar Grant shooting by maintaining Mehserle thought he was pulling his Taser. One of the arguments from Mehserle's attorney is that BART did a bad job training its cops in using the shock weapons. Then came an incident in April, when a BART officer fired his Taser at a bike-riding 13-year-old suspect from his cruiser in Richmond. After that, BART yanked Tasers from officers and spent two months retraining the force on how and when to use them. Officers got their Tasers back two weeks ago. Then, on Tuesday, 35-year-old Jason Johnson was spotted by an officer trying to leave the downtown Berkeley station without going through a pay gate.
According to BART police Lt. Andy Alkire, the officer told Johnson to stop, then reached out to grab him. Johnson pushed the officer away and headed up the stairs, Alkire said. When the officer tried to grab him again, Johnson swung around, revealing what Alkire described as a large object bulging from his pocket. Johnson "clenched his fist and squared off against the officer in an aggressive fighting stance," then turned and started walking down Shattuck Avenue, Alkire said. "Not knowing what was in his pocket and (with Johnson) already having shown an aggressive take," Alkire said, the officer figured he wasn't going to get any cooperation and that Johnson "was a definite threat to him."
So he pulled out his electric-shock weapon and warned Johnson three more times to stop or he would be Tasered. "At this point, the subject just kept walking away, and (the officer) felt it was reasonable to use the Taser - which he did," Alkire said. After being jolted once in the back, Johnson dropped to the ground. The officer then rushed to handcuff him, but Johnson allegedly continued to resist - that is, until he was threatened with a second Taser bolt and complied, according to police. BART would not identify the officer, citing state confidentiality laws on police personnel matters. Johnson was booked and later charged by the Alameda County district attorney with fare evasion and resisting arrest. Police say he has at least one other fare evasion case pending in neighboring Contra Costa County.
BART policy says officers may use Tasers only if they perceive an "imminent threat of bodily injury." Transit agency spokesman Linton Johnson said Tuesday's incident was reported to police brass, as required, and is being reviewed by new Chief Kenton Rainey. He took over the police force just days ago and was not immediately available for comment. The matter is separately under review by the BART police department's internal affairs unit. The BART spokesman and Alkire said the officer had made a "judgment call" that could be justified. "You could let the suspect go, but now you are sending a message to all suspects that they can put up a fight with officers, and we will have no law and order on the system anymore," Linton Johnson said. He said the suspect outweighed the officer by 50 pounds, and that the cop had used the Taser in hopes of causing "the least amount of injury" to both.
BART also says Jason Johnson is a registered sex offender with a long criminal record. Sweet doesn't buy it. She says it's doubtful the officer had any inkling of the suspect's past before he Tased him. "I get the whole character assassination," Sweet said, but "there is no policy saying an officer can Tase someone for evading fares." With everything that's happened involving BART and Tasers since Mehserle shot Grant to death early New Year's Day 2009, Sweet said, "The police still don't seem to have a grasp about when they should be appropriately used."
Equal Justice, Race & Jury Selection
June 21, 2010
"[A]ssertions about intelligence are "one of the most troubling but persistent reasons" given to dismiss potential jurors who are black. Many of those potential jurors are college graduates[.] The culture has tolerated this all-white jury, white prosecutor, white judge phenomenon, because that's what people have seen for decades."
- Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative
Twenty-five years ago, Earl Jerome McGahee was charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of his ex-wife and her friend. McGahee, an African-American, was tried by an all-white jury in an Alabama county that was more than 55 percent black. The district attorney dismissed every one of the 24 blacks who qualified to serve on the jury, including Edith Ferguson, who had worked for the Selma, Ala., Police Department for many years. The reason cited for striking Ferguson from being a juror: "low intelligence." Last year, McGahee was granted a new trial because of the racially discriminatory jury selection in his original case. But many defendants are not so lucky.
Study Documents 'Widespread Discrimination'
Bryan Stevenson of the nonprofit group Equal Justice Initiative tells NPR's Guy Raz that assertions about intelligence are "one of the most troubling but persistent reasons" given to dismiss potential jurors who are black. Many of those potential jurors are college graduates, Stevenson says.
In a new study, Stevenson's group details "widespread discrimination" in the selection of jurors across the Deep South. He says it's been illegal to exclude people from jury service on the basis of race since 1875. But prosecutors can give any reason they want for dismissing a juror, and it's rarely challenged. Stevenson found that serious criminal cases and death penalty cases are even more prone to have discriminatory jury selection than other types of cases.
We've had African-American jurors excluded because they're too old at 43, because they're too young at 28, while other white jurors much older are being accepted, and other white jurors much younger are being accepted.
The study looked at eight states: Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi and South Carolina. In some counties, 80 percent of the African-Americans who had qualified for jury service were excluded. "The evidence of racial bias that we focus on is evidence that's pretty obvious," said Stevenson. "It tends not to be unintentional. ... We've had African-American jurors excluded because they're too old at 43, because they're too young at 28, while other white jurors much older are being accepted, and other white jurors much younger are being accepted. ... We've had jurors excluded because they were in an interracial marriage or had a biracial son. "It is a violation of the law," says Stevenson, "but it is an area of the law where there has been almost no enforcement."
A Sense Of Humiliation
For some of the people he spoke to, Stevenson says, state courts found they had been illegally excluded from juries on the basis of race. He says many felt humiliated, knowing that the assertions against them were false and demeaning. Stevenson says the problem could be fixed if laws on the books were enforced. He says prosecutors should report on jury diversity, and that trial and appellate courts should more rigorously enforce laws from state and federal statutes and Supreme Court rulings through sanctions and fines. But he admits that the habit will be hard to break.
The People of the State of California Johannes Mehserle
C.J. Note: We note that Johannes Mehserle immigrated from (former Nazi) Germany at the age of two (2) years, then resided in the White, Racist enclave of Napa, California (wine-country) up until the time he murdered Oscar Grant, an African-American citizen of the United States. Shame on every Black police Officer that contributed to Mehserle's $3,000,000.00 bail!
Mehserle takes the stand:
June 26, 2010
"The only thing that went through my head was that I had to hurry up and tase[.]"
- Johannes Mehserle testifying in his own defense [on June 25, 2010] in the shooting and killing of unarmed B.A.R.T. rider Oscar Grant on January 1, 2009.
The only thing Johannes Mehserle (pictured left in January 1, 2009 file photo) can remember about the moment he fatally shot the Hayward man is seeing a gun in his own hand a split second after he fired. "I didn't think I had my gun," Mehserle said as his face turned red and his lips started quivering. "I heard the pop. It wasn't very loud. It wasn't like a gun shot. And then I remember thinking, What went wrong with my Taser? "I remember looking at my gun in my right hand," Mehserle said as he broke down in sobs. "I didn't know what to think. It just shouldn't have been there." Mehserle spoke publicly Friday for the first time about shooting Grant during a day spent on the witness stand that included several moments of tears from Mehserle and an outburst from the courtroom gallery resulting in a man's arrest. The 28-year-old's testimony began Thursday, but the question everyone following the case wanted answered was not asked until Friday morning. The answer left Grant's family in frustration and Mehserle in a heaping lump of tears. Grant's mother, Wanda Johnson, abruptly left the courtroom as Mehserle began to cry while describing how he thought he had fired his Taser at Grant and then realized it was his gun. Another member of the gallery, Timothy Killings, shouted toward Mehserle as the German-born but Napa-raised former BART officer began to cry. "You save those (expletive) tears, dude," Killings yelled as he was quickly surrounded by Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies, handcuffed and whisked from the courtroom.
Before his emotional breakdown, Mehserle described a struggle he had with Grant as he tried to grab Grant's right arm in an attempt to detain him for resisting arrest. As he reached for Grant's arm, Mehserle said, Grant tensed up and refused to move his arm behind his back. Mehserle said he thought Grant might have been reaching for a gun when he saw Grant move his right hand into his right front pocket. "I remember the digging motion," Mehserle said. "It was like he was looking for something in his pocket." Mehserle said he then yanked on Grant's right arm harder, remembering that the strength he used forced Grant's entire body to move. "I was pulling as hard as I could," Mehserle said. "At that point, I made that decision, at that point to tase him."
In the couple of seconds that followed, Mehserle said, he believed he was grabbing for and then pointing his Taser at Grant. Mehserle said he had no idea that he had pulled out his gun. "There was never any indication that anything, there were no red flags that popped up," Mehserle said. "It felt smooth. No problem. "There was no point where I realized that (I had pulled out my gun)." Mehserle said he first realized he had his gun after he fired the shot and then saw he was holding a gun. While Mehserle said he believed he was justified in using his Taser on Grant because he suspected Grant was reaching for a gun, deputy district attorney David Stein suggested even that decision was wrong.
Comparing the circumstances Mehserle faced just before the shooting to tactics taught to police officers about such incidents, Stein had Mehserle admit that many of the actions he took early Jan. 1, 2009, did not follow proper protocol. Stein said Mehserle's movements just before the shooting were not consistent with the movements an officer should make after deciding to use a Taser on a suspect who is lying on the ground. Mehserle admitted he never yelled "gun" when he thought Grant was reaching for one as officers are taught to do if they see a weapon. Mehserle said he did not yell "gun" because he never saw one.
Stein also pointed out that Mehserle admitted he did not notice that Grant was being pinned down by then-BART police Officer Anthony Pirone (pictured left in January 1, 2009 file photo) even though officers are taught always to be aware of their surroundings. "The only thing that went through my head was that I had to hurry up and tase," Mehserle said. Stein ended his questioning of Mehserle by asking the former officer why he had not told anyone — during his 10 minutes on Oakland's Fruitvale BART station platform after the shooting or a friend who stayed with him for a week after the killing — that he had made a mistake. Mehserle said he could not remember talking to anyone on the platform after the killing even though a security camera shows him talking with several people. Mehserle said he did not talk about the mistake because "I was still trying to figure that out."
Mehserle takes the stand:
Direct -Examination !
Direct -Examination !
June 25, 2010
"You save those (expletive) tears dude."
Timothy Killings, 24, shouted out as Mehserle began to cry on the witness stand.
LOS ANGELES – For 18 months, former Bay area transit officer Johannes Mehserle (pictured left) maintained a public silence about what led him to shoot unarmed Oscar Grant as he lay face down on an Oakland train platform. More answers may come on Friday when Mehserle resumes testifying at his murder trial in a Los Angeles courtroom. His testimony marks the first time he’s spoken publicly about the shooting early New Year’s day 2009. Mehserle, who is white, has pleaded not guilty to the 22-year-old black man. The trial was moved from Alameda County because of intense media coverage and racial tensions. In a surprise move Thursday, Mehserle took the stand and told jurors that training he received didn’t emphasize the possibility of mistaking his stun gun with his handgun. But that’s what his lawyer claims happened when Mehserle pulled out his .40-caliber handgun and shot Grant.
On questioning by defense lawyer Michael Rains, the brawny, 6-foot-4 Mehserle said he received Taser training in December 2008 and had only pulled it out once while on duty in the month before the shooting. He said his former employer didn’t put much weight on possible “confusion issues” where officers should place the Taser holster, only that the weapon wasn’t to be put under their issued handgun. “They left it up to us to figure it out,” said Mehserle, who spoke in a calm, soft voice. “For me it wasn’t that big of a deal.”
Prosecutors say Mehserle intended to shoot Grant, and that Mehserle used his handgun because officers were losing control of the situation. Mehserle wore his stun gun on the front left side the night of the shooting, while his handgun was mounted on his right hip. The trial adjourned late Thursday before Mehserle could give details about the shooting. Legal experts say while defendants in criminal trials rarely take the stand, his testimony could be compelling for jurors. “They are going to want to get a sense of is he a good person, a thoughtful person,” said Dr. Philip Anthony, a Los Angeles psychologist who is chief executive of the jury consulting firm DecisionQuest. “Most importantly, they want to hear what was running through his mind, his thought process when he fired that fatal shot.”
On the stand, Mehserle did say when he arrived with his partner to the train station in response to a possible fight, that he could hear yelling and screaming from the platform above. “I remember it being real loud,” Mehserle said. “I didn’t know if officers were involved in the fight or the crowd had turned on them. It didn’t sound good.” He added he intercepted a few men who he said were approaching two fellow officers that had detained Grant and several friends against a concrete wall. He said the men, who turned out to be more of Grant’s friends, were taunting the BART officers. “I just instructed them to get back,” Mehserle said. He said he eventually looked at Grant and Jackie Bryson, who appeared to be upset. The other two officers, Tony Pirone and Marysol Domenici, had pulled their stun guns out and given the situation, Mehserle said he decided to do the same. Before Grant was shot, he snapped a photo of Mehserle pointing his Taser stun gun in his direction.
Mehserle said he wasn’t sure what had transpired but tried to cool down Grant and Bryson. “They were yelling ‘(expletive) that officer,’ ‘I’m going to sue,’” Mehserle recalled the two men saying of Pirone, who was described by some onlookers as the most aggressive and hostile toward Grant and his friends. The shooting, and the events leading up to it, were captured on video by several bystanders.
Grant’s uncle, Cephus “Bobby” Johnson said he believes Mehserle will try using his testimony to differentiate himself from Pirone. “Now all of the sudden he’s this huggable, passive, non-aggressive person who really believes in communication instead of exerting authority,” Johnson said. “I’m not buying that.”
June 24, 2010
LOS ANGELES — Johannes Mehserle took the stand this afternoon in an attempt to convince jurors he mistakenly pulled out his gun when he meant to pull his Taser on Jan. 1, 2009. Mehserle, wearing a gray suit, blue shirt and red tie, did not get a chance to discuss the shooting of Oscar Grant III before court ended for the day but will do so Friday morning. Come back here later for the complete story.
Oscar [was] the Aggressor!
Michael Schott, a forensic video expert who has been paid at least $65,000 by former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle's defense team, told a jury that more than 500 hours of analysis shows it was Grant and his friends who appeared to be the aggressors on Oakland's Fruitvale BART station platform early Jan. 1, 2009. Highlighting defense attorney Michael Rains' primary contention in the murder trial, Schott said his analysis shows it was Grant and his friends who tried to strike police officers with fists and knees rather than the police officers acting aggressively toward the group. Rains guided Schott through the events that led to Mehserle's firing his gun into the back of the unarmed Hayward man and asked him to pinpoint times in which his analysis differed from what most who have viewed the videos believe they saw.
Schott's analysis began shortly after the court's afternoon lunch break and ended just before he reached the moment Mehserle, then 26, shot Grant, 22. Schott, a former sheriff with a degree in math who's a member of several forensic video organizations, will testify about that moment this morning. In each instance Schott testified about Wednesday, he said his analysis shows that former BART police Officer Anthony Pirone and Mehserle never tried to strike Grant or his friends while the officers attempted to arrest the group for fighting on a Dublin-Pleasanton-bound train.
After a prolonged and technical explanation of how he was able to assess the videos, Schott was asked to explain what he observed during specific actions recorded. The first action Rains focused on was a video that, in real time, appeared to show Pirone walking toward Grant and then punching or elbowing him in the head. Schott said his analysis does not show Pirone doing anything of the sort and instead shows Grant punching Pirone, even though the former officer never testified that Grant had hit him (watch below as Grant punches Pirone).
And, Schott said, his analysis shows that while Mehserle tried to handcuff Grant seconds before shooting him, Grant fell to the ground rather than Mehserle pushing him onto his back. Despite his extensive explanation about how he analyzed the videos and his declared confidence in his observations, Schott admitted throughout his testimony that each incident viewed is open for interpretation. "Again, I'll tell you what I see and leave the interpretation up to the jury," Schott said at one point. "You have to be cautious," Schott said at another point. "This gets tricky."
Rains is expected to have Schott testify today about the actions Mehserle took while pulling out his gun and shooting it. During that testimony, it is expected Schott will say the movement of Mehserle's fingers is consistent with an officer who believes he has a Taser in his hand. Rains has argued that Mehserle mistook his gun for a Taser when he shot Grant. Before Schott took the stand, the jury heard testimony about the Taser training Mehserle attended just a month before he killed Grant. That training, which lasted six hours, included discussion of three previous incidents in which police officers mistook guns for Tasers and demonstrations of how an officer should carry a Taser to avoid such mistakes.
Gun v. Taser: The Difference!
June 23, 2010
LOS ANGELES — Former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle was told about the dangers of confusing a handgun and a Taser a month before his lawyer claimed he did just that in the shooting of Oscar Grant III. During a six-hour training course he attended Dec. 3, 2008, Mehserle was told about three incidents when police officers confused guns with Tasers (see below) and was told the best locations to carry a Taser to avoid such mistakes. A month later, Mehserle, then 26, shot and killed Grant, 22, in the back while the unarmed Hayward man lay facedown on Oakland's Fruitvale BART station platform. Mehserle's lawyer is arguing that he confused his gun for his Taser because, in part, of a lack of training.
Mehserle's training, conducted by BART police Officer Steward Lehman, was a roughly daylong affair that included classroom discussions and slide shows, a demonstration of the effects of a Taser, and about an hour of practice for officers to learn how to draw a Taser from a police utility belt. Lehman testified today in Mehserle's murder trial that the training included a demonstration and practice on how and where an officer should carry a Taser to avoid confusion with a gun. "It was to avoid weapons confusion based on previous cases," Lehman said. Lehman also conducted an in-court demonstration of the different locations a BART officer was allowed to carry a Taser and the different ways to draw the Taser from a holster depending on where it was located.
Lehman also showed the steps an officer must go through to release a Taser from his holster, two distinctly different steps than are needed to remove a gun from its holster. At the time of Grant's death, BART allowed officers to carry and draw Tasers in four distinct ways depending on whether an officer was right-handed or left-handed. For a right-handed officer like Mehserle, there were four ways to carry and draw a Taser:
• lower left leg holster, draw with left hand
• left side of utility belt, draw with left hand
• left side of utility belt, draw across the body with right hand
• right side of utility belt, draw across the body with left hand.
Mehserle wore his Taser on Jan. 1, 2009, on the left side of his body with the intention of drawing it across his body with his right hand, evidence in the case has shown. Although Lehman said BART police officers met the minimum standards set by a state agency that monitors police standards, he admitted under questioning from Mehserle's attorney, Michael Rains, that BART cut corners to save money. For instance, during Taser training, officers were only allowed to fire their Tasers once because after a Taser is fired, the cartridge holding the electric darts can't be used again. Each cartridge cost at least $23, and BART did not want to waste money buying new cartridges for training, Lehman said. Lehman also said BART did not purchase enough Tasers to equip every officer with a device, meaning Tasers were shared among officers when they switched shifts.
"That's another economic consideration, isn't it?" Rains said at one point. Before Lehman took the stand, Rains notified Superior Court Judge Robert Perry that his defense of his client could be completed by Friday. Rains made the statement as the court was discussing scheduling. Based on a completion of evidence Friday, closing arguments would be made to the jury Tuesday.
Mehserle Attorney: "Grant was resisting!"
June 22, 2010
LOS ANGELES -- The attorney fighting a murder charge against former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle opened his defense case today by trying to show jurors that shooting victim Oscar Grant had the motivation - and the character - to resist Mehserle's attempt to arrest him. Defense attorney Michael Rains called his first witnesses after prosecutor David Stein rested his case Monday following seven days of testimony in Los Angeles County Superior Court. Rains is trying to persuade jurors that Grant was resisting Mehserle as the officer attempted to handcuff the 22-year-old Hayward man after a fight on a train Jan. 1, 2009.
Rains says Mehserle, 28, meant to shock the unarmed and prone Grant with a Taser, but accidentally pulled and fired his pistol. Stein says Grant was not resisting, and that the Taser story is a fabrication.
Once again, here's the video: At what point does Oscar Grant resist to the point a taser is necessary?
Shortly after Mehserle killed Oscar Grant, another B.A.R.T. Police Officer was videotaped smashing a drunk train patron's face into a glass window at the B.A.R.T. station.
Rains' first witness was San Leandro police Officer Alex Hidas, who chased and arrested Grant after a traffic stop in October 2006. Hidas said a colleague had shocked Grant with a Taser as he ran, causing Grant to fall into the front end of a parked car.
Grant, who landed on his chest partway under the car, did not initially put his left hand behind his back, Hidas said, but complied after Hidas kicked him two or three times.
In his cross-examination, Stein suggested that Grant hadn't been resisting but had been dazed and incapacitated - two of the common effects of being shocked with electricity. "Did you have these things in mind, sir," Stein asked, "when you began kicking Mr. Grant?"
Also today, Judge Robert Perry ordered that all five of the videos of the incident captured by BART riders be released to the public, which could happen as soon as Wednesday.
Some videos have already been aired on television and the Internet. But the public has never seen the clearest footage of the shooting, which was taken from a train doorway by 21-year-old San Francisco State student Tommy Cross on a camera that had video-recording capability.
Cross' video also shows a second former BART officer, Anthony Pirone, shouting profanities at Grant just before Mehserle takes him to the ground. Pirone testified that when he shouted, "Bitch-ass n-, right?" he was repeating a name Grant had called him.
June 21, 2010
[T]estimony came during the first week of what is likely to be a monthlong trial during which, Deputy District Attorney David Stein called other former BART police officers to the witness stand to explain why they acted aggressively toward Oscar Grant (pictured left) and his friends. The testimony also came from witnesses who said most BART police officers on the Fruitvale platform early Jan. 1, 2009, were using excessive force against Grant and his friends. They all also said that Grant and his friends never resisted arrest or tried to strike the officers. Stein has not yet called a BART police official who is expected to testify that in the hours that the official sat with Mehserle after the shooting, the then-26-year-old BART officer never said he made a mistake. Nevertheless, the brief glimpses of Mehserle after the shooting that were captured by video and described by passengers most likely will become the pivotal evidence for Mike Rains as he tries to win acquittal for his client.
Most of the witnesses said Mehserle immediately re-holstered the gun after firing, put his hands to his head and looked "shocked," "dumbfounded" and "stunned." Even Carlos Reyes, a friend of Grant's who sat about 2 feet away from the 22-year-old Hayward man when he was shot, said Mehserle appeared shocked and shouted, "Oh (expletive), oh God, I shot him," after the bullet entered Grant's back, causing his death hours later.
Stein is expected to argue that Mehserle's reactions were a result of his quickly realizing that he should not have shot Grant. Stein still could argue that Mehserle intended to kill Grant but realized that was the wrong choice after shooting him. Rains, of course, will argue that the reaction proves that Mehserle never intended to use his gun and was shocked when he pulled the trigger and a bullet fired from a gun rather than two electrically charged darts from a Taser. Whatever explanation a jury deems reasonable could play a large role in determining the outcome of the trial, attorneys said.
Mehserle's Contrived Defense!
August 27, 2008
C.J. Note: The following event occurred five (5) months and three (3) days prior to the date Johannes Mehserle murdered Oscar Grant, an African-American citizen of the United States. Shame on every Black police Officer that contributed to Mehserle's $3,000,000.00 bail! NICHOLASVILLE, Kent. — A Nicholasville police officer accidentally shot a man Thursday afternoon while trying to break up a scuffle outside the police department. Lt. Bill Jones, a 13-year veteran of the department, was trying to stop the fight when the shooting happened about 2:30 p.m. Police said Jones intended to use his Taser to stop the fight, but he mistakenly drew his firearm and shot the man one time in the side. Nathan MacLaren of Baytown, Texas, identified the man who was shot as Michael McCarty. MacLaren was fighting with McCarty. MacLaren is the boyfriend of McCarty's soon-to-be ex-wife, he said, and they intended to take McCarty's 8-year-old son back to Texas. During the scuffle, MacLaren said, he heard a pop sound, but he didn't know where it came from. McCarty's medical condition was not immediately available.
See: The Johannes Mehserle Trial - 2010
Movie Intermission! People v. Mayta (Murder)!
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