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Dramatic video of BART shooting released by court

Several videotapes capturing the fatal shooting of an unarmed man in Oakland by a transit police officer were released Thursday by a Los Angeles court, where the officer in on trial for murder.

Former Bay Area Rapid Transit Police Officer Johannes Mehserle, who is white, fired a single round as he stood over Oscar Grant III, who was black and was lying face-down on the subway platform. Grant, 22, was struck in the back and died hours later.

Mehserle, 28, resigned from the department days after the shooting without explaining his actions. The trial was moved to Los Angeles amid concerns about the extensive media coverage of the killing in the Bay Area.

The shooting early New Year’s Day 2009 was captured on video by several passengers on a crowded BART train.

Some of the footage was broadcast on television and the Internet, provoking angry protests at Grant’s treatment. Others have not been shown outside of court.

In response to a request by The Times, the court on Thursday released videos of the shooting that have been played for jurors in court, including some footage that has never before been made public.

Both sides contend that the footage supports their account of what led up to the shooting.

Alameda County prosecutors argue that the videos show Mehserle looking toward his holster as he drew his .40-caliber handgun and then pointing his handgun out in front of himself in plain view before he fired. Mehserle never told other officers at the station that the shooting was an accident or that he had meant to grab his Taser. Instead, he told one officer: “I thought he was going for a gun.”

But defense attorney Michael L. Rains told jurors that the videos capture Mehserle struggling to handcuff an uncooperative Grant. He said the footage shows his client having difficulty removing his handgun because he believed he was drawing his Taser, which has a holster with a different unlocking device.

On at least one of the videos, Mehserle can be seen immediately after the shooting putting his hands on his head – a reaction that Rains said confirms his shock at what had just happened. The jury is expected to begin deliberations next week.

--Jack Leonard

Comments () | Archives (25)


Too much power in the hands of too few.

Johannes Mehserle deserves to pay for his crime.

Question: If not for the advent of social media and video, would this story continue to receive attention, or would it have faded away without the visuals?

Assassin in blue.

Grant never should have been resisting arrest in the first place.

BTW, they are going for first degree murder. Prosecution is going to lose.

When will they learn? Burn Baby Burn...

Mehserle is a murderer.

That's pretty disturbing video and it's very clear when the shot was fired - even without sound. Pairing that with testimony from the train conductor, I have a clearer image on how it all came down.

Honestly speaking, I don't think the shooting was intentional. I do believe it was acute error on the part of the police officer with no premeditation, from what I witnessed in the video.

I can justify guilt on the basis of involuntary manslaughter, but not murder. However, I do believe there is no way an officer with such poor judgment under pressure should remain in the capacity of enforcing the law with an armed weapon.

I very well might feel an extreme opposite of this - had that been MY child dying on the pavement.

Cold-Blooded Murder by 20 crooked thug cops!

Innocent of murder, negligence is another thing.

Lousy camera work. Can't see a thing. Innocent.

What is so dramatic about this tape? Your headline is overly dramatic.

I watched the videos twice, in "Full Screen" on my computer but I could not tell exactly when the shot was fired. I see the two guys in blue "stand back" and stop, then seem to kick and roll the poor victim over from his stomach, onto his back. How was the victim on the ground "resisting" anything while lying face down and subdued by the guys in blue, and he was not even moving when the guy in blue shot him?

Can somebody take these videos and edit "out" all the heads in the way, and point to the shot fired on each of them?

I also cannot see the guy in blue draw his revolver, or try to get his Taser out, or go for the gun in his belt. Can somebody post this with a YouTube link, and put in Red Arrows on the points this happened? (Not over them, but next to the scene). Thanks

guilty of shooting him but not of murder. he clearly didn't intent to shoot this poor guy. Doesn't show state of mind in this video, just remorse

Obviously someone got shot because the guy is in court but I couldnt make out anything from the video.

Wouldnt be surprised if he walked.

There are several videos. The gun is pulled at 5:51 remaining (1:55 in) , 2:49 remaining (4:57 in), and 0:31 remaining (7:16 in) in the video. In the last video you get a clear view of when the gun is pointed.

Not Guilty...better luck next time...SeeYa..

If they really wanted this dude mehserle found guilty...
they would have moved the trial to orange county...
they know how to tamper with evidence to affect and fix
the outcome...and they won't worry about appeals...they
assign state employees to ignore fellow misconduct ...its
fixed and stays fixed...get mehserle in orange county type

There were a number of cops there who are trained to subdue a person without the use of a taser. None of those young men were out of control. They could have just handcuffed Grant. Instead, this cop killed him. Regardless. whether it was an accident or not, he must pay for his actions.

This is so tragic for both the cop and the victim. I completely agree that Mehserle didn't mean to shoot Oscar Grant-the body language says it all. He was basically a rookie cop who was distracted and probably scared with all the yelling and protesting going on around him. Without sound you really can't grasp the unrest around him. Obviously was not premeditated or intentional.

Having said that, if this were my family or friend getting killed on a platform, all of the above wouldn't mean one thing and I would want to see justice, regardless of if he meant to use a pistol, a taser or a banana peel.

I live in Bay Area, and from early on I never believed that Mehserle intended to shoot him with regular gun. I think this is case of political pressure on DA to bring murder charges. Although I haven't heard all the evidence, it always has seemed to me that he had no intent, which is needed for murder. It has never made any sense for him to have pulled his gun to shoot him, based on the circumstances and with all those people and police there. This should be a manslaughter case.

Would the officer really consider risk his career and his life on shooting someone in front of that many people? What is there to gain from this? The fact that one was black and one was white is a typical racial change of focus on the case.
People being arrested should not resist, period.
People riding on Bart or whatever other public transportation should not make trouble, period. It's good enough that hundreds of people spend their life to help the commute of thousands of others, who, in turn, just want a safe way of going somewhere without being harassed or polluting as do the other thousands, sitting alone in their cars.
So, when you use a public transport, be courteous. When you get arrested for being a disturbance, don't resist. There is no death penalty for not respecting this, but there is no justification for acting badly either. Go to the source of the problem.
There is no premeditation, just a very unfortunate event that ruined the life of many people, and that is the sad part.

Well I have never been detained or harassed by law enforcement unless they had reason too....This is not a black and white issue as many seem to think it is...how many times have you looked for those car keys in your hand or the glasses on your head...maybe it really was a in the heat of the moment reaction and it really was a simple mistake....Funny we don't seem to see this from the cops side...Think about what these men and women go through every day putting their lives on the line to protect us the public...Not all cops are bad....Funny we don't worry about white people causing riots.... It is also funny this being the same city that is cutting back on law enforcement when they may need them the most....88 law enforcement jobs cut and another 100 or so cuts coming...Maybe they would like to rethink this in Oakland and not lay off any more law enforcement...

The situation itself is very difficult... although there was a strong number of uniformed officers, this is not the "safest" section to have your back to crowds of people (especially if the "society" itself sees through color coated eyes), and inca split second choices are made without the chance to even imagine of what will come next. It is a real disappointment that the city is plagued with riots... i mean the defeats the entire purpose of what MLK gave his life for! Looking back, African Americans, than, fought to be equal (which all ethnicities rightfully deserve), but it seams that this generation of young people (all colors) are influenced by so much garbage and cling to so much hatred for others that it is destroying the foundation of youths and polarizing the "good" and the "bad" to such extremes that the middle ground is nearly disappearing!

Regardless of the outcome, guilty or not, neither will encourage the disconnected youth of this generation to have respect for the world around them, and for them to value their lives enough to not take that which they cannot control personal!

The value of life... is expressed in the way we see ourselves! Ole


As a long time resident of the Bay Area and a Native Californian I am sad to see all of the cheap street theatrics being used by Oscar Grant's supporters. If Oscar and his crew had not been terrorizing and bullying Bart passengers, the Bart police would not have been called to the scene. Had Oscar remained calm while in custody and not resisting and loud talking, he might be alive today! this incident was the result of Oscar Grants'and his friends behavior. his associates should be charged as accesories to murder, not the Bart Officer.


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