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Mehserle trial to begin in May

on January 8, 2010

During a pretrial hearing in Los Angeles today for Johannes Mehserle, the BART officer charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Oscar Grant on New Year’s Day last year, Judge Robert Perry announced the trial could begin in mid-May. Perry also denied a media request for cameras to be allowed in the courtroom during the trial.

Mehserle shot and killed Grant in the early hours of New Year’s Day in 2009 during BART police officers’ attempt to control a car of revelers at the Fruitvale BART Station. Grant was unarmed. While Mehserle admits to the shooting, he says he meant to reach for his taser gun to subdue Grant but accidentally pulled his pistol instead and shot Grant in the back.

In October, Alameda County Judge Morris Jacobson granted a change in venue to Los Angeles County out of concern that the high profile and racially charged nature of the Mehserle case precluded the possibility of an unbiased local jury. Mehserle, 28, is white and the victim, Grant, 21, was black.

More than 100 protesters gathered outside of a Los Angeles courthouse this morning demanding justice for Grant.

Earlier this week, Grant’s companion that night at the Fruitvale BART station, Johntue Caldwell, filed a $5 million federal civil rights lawsuit. Caldwell is alleging mistreatment by another BART officer on the scene, Marysol Domenici, claiming Domenici used racial slurs and touched a stun gun to Caldwell’s face.

Read our past coverage of the Johannes Mehserle trial on Oakland North here.

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Image: John Burris, an attorney for Oscar Grant’s family, at the Alameda County Courthouse in November. File photo by Armand Emamdjomeh.



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