Crime & Justice

Oakland, Los Angeles hold tight waiting for verdict in Oscar Grant shooting

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Police officers in Oakland have undergone crowd control training and are working 12-hour shifts, waiting for a verdict to come out of Los Angeles. The trial of a former BART officer may wrap up today.

The fatal shooting at a BART station a year and a half ago roiled emotions so deeply in Oakland that a court relocated the trial of Johannes Mehserle to downtown Los Angeles. Mehserle, at the time a Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer, shot Oscar Grant as he lay on his stomach on a train platform. Both men were in their twenties.

Prosecutors argued that Mehserle lost all control. They asked a jury to convict him of second-degree murder. A guilty verdict would send Mehserle to prison for 15 years to life.

Mehserle's lawyer described Grant's shooting as a tragic accident. He argued that the officer was reaching for his Taser when he pulled his service revolver by mistake. Grant was black; Mehserle is white.

The lawyer for the accused former transit cop acknowledged tensions in the relationship between police and blacks and Latinos in the East Bay. He argued that Johannes Mehserle is not responsible for all of them.