LOS ANGELES (CBS) — About 25 protesters demonstrated in downtown Los Angeles after a white former San Francisco Bay area transit officer convicted in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man was released from jail early Monday after serving less than a year of a two-year sentence.

KNX 1070’s John Brooks Reports

Johannes Mehserle, 29, was released at 12:01 a.m.from the Los Angeles County’s Twin Towers jail, according to L.A. County sheriff’s officials.

Mehserle, 29, was convicted on July 8, 2010 of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Oscar Grant, 22, on a Bay Area Rapid Transit train station platform in Oakland on New Year’s Day 2009.

He was sentenced in November to two years in prison after being convicted in a downtown L.A. courtroom. The trial was moved to the Southland from the bay area after much pre-trial publicity. The case sparked racial tensions in San Francisco.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert J. Perry ruled Friday that with time-served and good-conduct credits, Mehserle must be released Monday, 11 months into a two year sentence.

The Los Angeles Coalition for Justice for Oscar Grant announced that activists and members of Grant’s family would rally outside the criminal courts building on West Temple Street starting at 8 a.m. Monday to protest Mehserle’s release.

They will then march to the U.S Justice Department office on North Spring Street to demand that federal charges be brought against Mehserle, a coalition statement said.

Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, rather than the murder charge sought by prosecutors. During his trial, Mehserle tearfully testified that he mistakenly grabbed his gun instead of his Taser stun weapon while trying to subdue Grant.

Mehserle told jurors that he wound up firing one shot into Grant’s back.

“I remember the pop,” the ex-transit officer said. “It wasn’t very loud. It wasn’t like a gunshot — and I remember thinking the (Taser) had malfunctioned.”

Mehserle testified that he looked down and “saw I had my gun in my hand” and that “it shouldn’t have been there.”

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments (25)
  1. stix says:

    Where were these protesters when lily burke, a cute young caucasian teen was mutilated by a black male with a lengthy criminal record!! Why don’t we ever see demonstrations or protests from non-blacks when a member of their family is senselessly murdered by cowardly black males!!! These incidents always have racial overtones when the black person is perceived as the ‘VICTIM’.

    1. Bonnie says:

      I couldn’t have said it better myself !

    2. Saber 1 says:

      We should have giving him a parade and his job back. He saved the city money of a trial. The guy was resisting arrest, he took care of business. But again, when you don’t have a job and collect welfare, you have plenty of time to protest.

  2. ALV N WLL says:

    Michael Vick gets a 2 year mandatory for dog fighting, Plaxico Buress another for having a concealed weapon.11 months? Now that’s justice.

  3. Awesome says:

    White former San Francisco bar area police…. Relax, this is exactly why this world will never overcome it’s past. It will always be a race issue

  4. Stop crying says:

    So…… its ok for a black crook to get released early after commiting his crimes, but when its a white guy, people want him to serve all of it? None of this would have happened if the black guy wasnt fighting in the first place. And now they want federal charges…..what a joke. Teach your kids to stop breaking the law, then these things wont happen.

  5. Trouble makers says:

    So now they are going to protest in LA and cause more problems for the police….that makes a lot of sense.

    1. Gidzmo says:

      Let’s hope that we don’t see a repeat of the 1992 riots. That would solve nothing and only create more problems for the state. Goodness knows we have enough problems.

  6. Wix Zee says:

    I sure hope that punk cop gets some good ole fashion street justice!


  7. La says:

    The criminal system in this country sucks, period. Black, white, brown, yellow, whatever… Dangerous criminals are always being released before they should be or some that should never be in the first place. @stix lily Burkes murderer was give life in prison and is still in prison. I’m sure if he were to be released there would be protest, just saying. Problem with this country is that everyone blames color and race for EVERYTHING. Victims and criminals alike. Too much hate in people now a days. Pretty sad.

  8. Mary Elizabeth says:

    I am Mexican/American, not white or black. So I am in the middle here, with no regards to race. If I were on the Jury in this case, I would have never sentenced this officer to jail just to avoid a riot. This officer, in error, shot this man and unfortantly, as a result of the gunfire, he died. I am glad he is being released from prison and I hope that he is able to go on in life and make a living for himself and his family. I am so sick of the “race” game – I think if we are all honest with ourselves, you will say YOU are too. If a black officer would have shot this black man, it would have been presumed an accident. Accidents do happen and that is why the word, “Accident” exist. I do agree that because this was a horrific accident, the immediate family should be entitled to monetary compensation; however – stop with making matters worse than they already are. Go march! March until you walk the heels off your shoes, but while you are marching, realize that there is nothing you can do to bring your troubled relative back. I am terribly sorry for your loss, and I am sure many others are sorry for you too – but stop with the marches, stop it already. Sue the County of Los Angeles for money that honestly you should be entitled to, and then remember your loved one for who he was. He didn’t deserve to die the way he did, but accidents do happen; white, yellow, black, green, brown – accidents happen!!

    1. John says:

      Aren’t you white with half of your relatives in jail.
      A Stupid can’t keep it’s story straight.

  9. sol says:

    mary elizabeth~ the incident happened in oakland which is in alameda county. The police officer was employed by bay area rapid transit aka as bart! I resent your arrogance insinuating that los angeles county tax payers should bare the burden of a costly unnecessary law suit.

  10. Mary Elizabeth says:

    Sol – I don’t care if they sue or not, honestly. One thing I do know is that this man went to jail just to avoid a riot. I have been following the story from day one and when I heard he was finally being released, I gave thanks. We had to support this man in prison with tax payers money – for an accident – just so that we would not upset another race who threatened a riot which would have cost us millions. Sol, either way we were damed. I don’t mean to sound arrogant, and I never meant to upset you – but we have to stop with the race thing and come to realize that accident do happen. Not every cop is bad and I honestly believe in this case that this was a total accident. This officer had to go to jail for two years just to avoid a riot – that to me is injustice Sol.

    1. tl says:

      Mary Elizabeth,

      I’m in Law Enforcement, If you’ve been following this case you would know he didn’t go to jail to stop a riot, he went to jail primarily for lying to his own investigators. He made recorded statements during his interview and less than 6hrs later the video was on YouTube and the video contradicted his statements.
      The statements he was locked into.

      Most/Many in Law Enforcement think it was a bad shooting and think he got off lightly (good for him) but it was a bad shooting. Being in several shootings myself, they are all very unsettling, but we have to do what we have to do to be safe. But ignorance and being unfamiliar with your equipment is not and excuse to take someone life. I don’t you find anyone in the job with any amount of time in or who’s BEEN in a shooting that will disagree.

      And yes contrary to belief, race is very present in LE, it’s just most of us have the discipline to check it at the door. Others, it tends to get them in trouble and cause the LE community problems.

  11. Mary Elizabeth says:

    p/s, SOL, the daughter of the deceased man should be entitled to some money. I understand it burndens the tax payers; however, being that this was an accident and that it did take someone’s life – the little girl should get something. To pull your gun, and not your tazer is a huge mistake at our cost or not.

    I bet it just kills the adults that they aren’t getting a dime and have to wait until the little girl is 18 to collect so that they can suck her dry.

    1. sol says:

      Mary Elizabeth~ I have no problem if the taxpayers of oakland and/or bart pay for this horrible mistake!!! My point was that the case was tried in los angeles as a venue change and that los angeles county taxpayers should not have to bare the financial burden of a bart police officers wrong doing.

      1. Mary Elizabeth says:

        I agree.

  12. Jeff says:

    He is just the kind of person the LAPD is looking for.

    1. tl says:

      Bro I hope you don’t work for us (LAPD) it’s stupid ass comments like that that causes us problems…moron!

    2. What the F..k says:

      Looks like a future LAPD employee to me…………..

  13. 1stman says:

    to be white in Amerkkka

    1. Everyday Guy says:

      To be blacKKK in America.

Leave a Reply