Johannes Mehserle’s public apology letter

SFist has the PDF and full letter. Mehserle wrote it four days before the verdict.


For now, and forever I will live, breathe, sleep, and not sleep with the memory of Mr. Grant screaming “You shot me” and putting my hands on the bullet wound thinking the pressure would help while I kept telling him “You’ll be okay!” I tried to tell myself that maybe this shot would not be so serious, but I recall how sick I felt when Mr. Grant stopped talking, closed his eyes and seemed to change his breathing.

Then why did you shoot him?

The Department of Justice has opened an investigation into the shooting, just like they did for the Rodney King beating trial

Mehserle conviction and cell phone video

A primary reason Mehserle was convicted was the multiple cell phone videos of the shooting taken by BART passengers. They showed conclusively that Oscar Grant was lying prone on his stomach and that Mehserle shot him in the back. Thus the focus of the trial was on why, not if, Mehserle did it.

We may increasingly live in a surveillance society but cuts both ways. Citizens can watch the authorities too.

First conviction for police officer shooting black man in Bay Area history

From the excellent SF Weekly live blog

Veteran Oakland civil rights attorney Jim Chanin — who has sued Bay Area police departments countless times — told SF Weekly he had mixed feelings about the verdict.

In 40 years as a Bay Area lawyer and community organizer, this, he says, is the first time a police officer has been convicted of a criminal charge for shooting a black person. “When I first came to the Bay Area as a young person, I don’t think this would have been charged, much less convicted,” Chanin says. So that’s the good side for him.

On the other hand, Chanin — and, doubtless many others — had trouble buying Mehserle’s story that he consciously meant to Tase Grant and not shoot him. “He did not tell anyone about this so-called mistake, including his friends until much later. He waited so long — over a year,” says the lawyer. (In fact, he waited until he had a veteran lawyer of his own, Michael Rains). “It’s unlikely that if this had been anyone other than a police officer that the verdict would have been as minimal as it was … But I have watched police get off [without punishment] for years; the prosecutions are few and far-between and the convictions are even rarer than that. So I have mixed emotions.”