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Justice for Oscar Grant?: legal obstacles to convicting cops




Supporters of Oscar J. Grant III hold a rally in South Central Los Angeles after the involuntary manslaughter verdict against the former Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) officer Johannes Mehserle was announced, on July 8, 2010
Supporters of Oscar J. Grant III hold a rally in South Central Los Angeles after the involuntary manslaughter verdict against the former Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) officer Johannes Mehserle was announced, on July 8, 2010
Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

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A Los Angeles jury convicted former BART officer Johannes Mehserle of involuntary manslaughter yesterday, for shooting Oscar Grant, an unarmed black man, in Oakland last January. Prosecutors argued that Mehserle intended to kill when he drew his gun in the Fruitvale BART station while restraining Grant. The jury, though, seems to have believed the defense’s argument that Mehserle reached for his Taser and grabbed his pistol by mistake. How difficult is it for prosecutors to accuse and convict police officers?