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Ex-BART officer to stay in jail until appeal

ABC7 Eyewitness News HD covering Los Angeles and Southern California.

December 3, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The former Bay Area Transit officer convicted of involuntary manslaughter for fatally shooting the unarmed Oscar Grant on New Year's Day 2009 will remain in prison while his appeal is pending, according to a judge's ruling Friday.Johannes Mehserle was convicted July 8 for the shooting of a young unarmed African American man, Oscar Grant, on an Oakland BART platform. Mehserle and his attorneys are appealing his manslaughter conviction and his attorneys had asked that he be released on bail until his appeal case had been decided.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Perry rejected the request, despite protests from Mehserle's attorneys that he could finish his short two-year sentence by the time his appeal case is decided, depriving him of justice.

The case was moved from Alameda to Los Angeles County due to high levels of publicity and tensions caused by the case.

Mehserle claimed he thought he was reaching for his Taser when he took out his gun and shot the unarmed Oscar Grant in the back, killing him.

The killing and subsequent case inflamed racial tensions as Mehserle was first convicted of manslaughter rather than murder, and then given the minimum sentence of two years in prison.

City News Service contributed to this story


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