Ex-Cop Who Killed Unarmed Black Man Is Released From Jail

Ex-Cop Who Killed Unarmed Black Man Is Released From Jail

Johannes Mehserle, a former Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer, was granted early release from jail Monday. Mehserle was convicted of accidentally killing Oscar Grant, 22, on New Year’s Day 2009.

Published June 13, 2011


(Photo: Douglas County Sheriffs Office/Getty Images)

The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police officer who fatally shot an unarmed Black man on New Year’s Day 2009 was released from Los Angeles County Jail early Monday morning.

Johannes Mehserle served 11 months of a two-year sentence and a judge released him for time served and good conduct. Last July, Mehserle, 29, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the accidental killing of Oscar Grant, 22.

The ex-BART police officer shot and killed Grant, who was unarmed, as he was face down on a BART subway platform in Oakland. The shooting was recorded by bystanders and went viral.

Grant had been taken off a BART train by police for suspicion of fighting. The video showed Mehserle firing a bullet into Grant’s back. The officer said that he inadvertently grabbed his .40-caliber pistol while reaching for his stun gun.

There was a small protest Sunday over Mehserle's early release that ended peacefully. It was a stark contrast to previous demonstrations that resulted in destruction of property and scores of arrests.

Mehserle had faced a second-degree murder charge with a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.

The jury that convicted Mehserle said that the former officer’s “behavior was so negligent that it was criminal.”

Written by Frank McCoy


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