Feds to investigate Oakland train killing

Federal officials say they will investigate the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a white police officer on an Oakland train platform to determine whether the case warrants federal prosecution.

(Audio of KPCC's Shirley Jahad speaking with USC law school professor Jean Rosenbluth about the significance of the federal investigation. Rosenbluth is a former federal prosecutor.)

The U.S. Department of Justice said Thursday the review will be conducted by its Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Francisco and the FBI. The probe will begin at the conclusion of the state's case against former Bay Area Rapid Transit officer Johannes Mehserle.

Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of 22-year-old Oscar Grant on New Year's Day in 2009. He has yet to be sentenced.

Prosecutors had sought a second-degree murder conviction.

The verdict touched off violent protests in Oakland, where the case has enflamed racial tensions.


KPCC's Shirley Jahad contributed audio to this report.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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