The tragic case of former Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer Johannes Mehserle came to a fittingly controversial end today when he was sentenced to 2 years for his involuntary manslaughter conviction after he shot and killed Oscar Grant on New Year’s morning 2009. Mehserle was given credit for the 292 days he has already served in county jails awaiting trial, meaning he could be out of jail in a little over a year. L.A. Superior Court Judge Robert Perry acknowledged that the seemingly light sentenced he handed down—prosecutors in the case were seeking a 14 year sentence for Mehserle—would not be popular with many people but his hands tied because of conflicting conclusions by the jury. In a case that was tinged by bitter racial overtones, the outcome of a white police officer getting off with a light sentence for shooting a black man is sure to further inflame tensions. Did the punishment for Johannes Mehserle fit the crime?
Brian Watt, KPCC reporter at the downtown L.A. courthouse covering the Mehserle sentencing