After serving eleven months of his 2-year sentence for the fatal shooting of Oscar Grant on New Year’s Day, 2009, former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle is expected to walk out of Los Angeles County Jail a free man within the next few weeks.
The website of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department lists Monday, June 13th as the next court date for Mehserle, who is currently incarcerated in the Men’s Central Jail in Downtown Los Angeles. The hearing will begin at 8:30 AM.
The family of Oscar Grant and their supporters view Mehserle’s release as an indication of the justice system’s shortcomings, and are pursuing a federal civil rights claim against Mehserle three other BART officers who were present when Grant was shot on the Fruitvale BART platform.
Mehserle’s attorney, Michael Rains, told the Oakland Tribune that Mehserle would likely remain in California in the “short term.” Rains is also appealing Mehserle’s involuntary manslaughter conviction. The former BART officer will be on parole. Where Mehserle will live will be decided following the June 13th hearing.
The United States Department of Justice is investigating the Grant shooting for possible criminal charges against Mehserle and BART police. Despite meeting with the Grant family and community activists within the past month, the Justice Department has been tight-lipped on the case’s status.
Oakland Police are aware of Mehserle’s upcoming hearing, and have made preparations for any potential civil unrest such as the street protests that following Mehserle’s involuntary manslaughter verdict in July and sentencing last November. This afternoon, OPD Chief of Police Anthony Batts awarded Captain David Downing for his role in orchestrating the policing of the July 8th and November 5th crowd control actions.
Organizers have called for a 3 PM rally on the day of Mehserle’s release at the Fruitvale BART station, followed by a 5 PM rally at Frank Ogawa Plaza in Downtown Oakland.