Former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Oscar Grant III.

Former BART cop Johannes Mehserle is due to be released from prison Monday after serving less than a year for the fatal shooting of an unarmed train passenger, news reports say. Mehserle was found guilty last year of involuntary manslaughter for the New Year’s Day 2009 shooting of Oscar Grant III as Grant lay face down on a platform at the Fruitvale BART station in East Oakland. Mehserle later said he meant to draw and fire his Taser, not his semi-automatic pistol.

The shooting, prosecutors’ delay in bringing charges against Mehserle (he was eventually charged with second-degree murder), the verdict (acquitted of the murder charge, convicted on the lesser count), and sentence all sparked protests in Oakland and were the occasion of looting and vandalism in the downtown area.

When Mehserle was found guilty last year, the jury attached a gun enhancement to the conviction. With a maximum sentence of four years for involuntary manslaughter and another 10 years for the enhancement, Mehserle faced the possibility of a 14-year sentence. But the trial judge, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Perry, threw out the enhancement and handed down the minimum sentence of two years on the involuntary manslaughter count. With credit for time served and for good conduct while in custody, Mehserle’s total time behind bars was reduced to less than a year.

Mehserle’s final court hearing has reportedly been set for 8:30 a.m. According to news accounts tonight, Grant’s family and supporters will stage protest events Sunday and Monday in Los Angeles. Grant supporters in Oakland have announced they’ll hold a protest at the Fruitvale BART station and march to downtown Oakland the day Mehserle is released.

Oakland Tribune: Mehserle expected to be released Monday
Bay Citizen: Mehserle to be released from jail Monday
KALW Informant: Johannes Mehserle to be released Monday, June 13
Oakland Local: California considers Mehserle shooting of Oscar Grant to be nonviolent offense
Indybay: Community will protest release of Johannes Mehserle

  • Andy Joe

    “Former BART cop Johannes Mehserle is due to be released from prison…”

    Was Mr. Mehserle ever sent to prison? I thought his sentence was served entirely in the Los Angeles County Men’s Jail. This is a subtle distinction but one worth making given the nature of his punishment has been controversial.

  • Andy Joe

    The strangest thing I’ve learned about this case: his crime is not considered “violent” or “serious.”

    Section 667.5c of the California Penal Code lists those felonies that are considered to be violent and Section 1192.7c lists those considered to be serious. Involuntary manslaughter, the crime that Mehserle was convicted of, is not listed among them.

  • That is great that he is being released. Grant should not have been making trouble in BART anyway. He was only doing his job and a good job too.


Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke is a blogger, reporter and editor for KQED News, responsible for online breaking news coverage of topics ranging from California water issues to the Bay Area's transportation challenges. In a newsroom career that began in Chicago in 1972, Dan has worked as a city and foreign/national editor for The San Francisco Examiner, editor at Wired News, deputy editor at Wired magazine, managing editor at TechTV as well as for several Web startups.

Since joining KQED in 2007, Dan has reported, edited and produced both radio and online features and breaking news pieces. He has shared in two Society of Professional Journalists Norcal Excellence in Journalism awards — for his 2012 reporting on a KQED Science series on water and power in California, and in 2014, for KQED's comprehensive reporting on the south Napa earthquake.

In addition to his 44 years of on-the-job education, Dan is a lifelong student of history and is still pursuing an undergraduate degree.

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