Judge rules ex-transit cop will face murder trial
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – A judge ruled Thursday that a former Bay Area transit police officer will stand trial on murder charges in the fatal shooting of an unarmed man on a train platform.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge C. Don Clay said there was sufficient evidence for ex-Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer Johannes Mehserle to face murder charges in the shooting of Oscar Grant early New Year’s Day.
“There is no doubt in my mind Mr. Mehserle meant to shoot Oscar Grant with a gun, not a Taser,” Clay said concluding a seven-day preliminary hearing in Oakland. “It’s a dangerous act, an intentional act, a deliberate act.”
Videos of the incident that spread across the Internet show Mehserle, 27, firing a shot into the 22-year-old’s back as he lay face down. Officers had detained Grant and four friends at Oakland’s Fruitvale station for allegedly fighting on a train.
Mehserle’s lawyer Michael Rains has contended that Mehserle accidentally grabbed his pistol instead of his stun gun.
Mehserle was found days after the incident in Douglas County.
Mehserle, who has previously pleaded not guilty and is free on $3 million bail, is next scheduled to appear June 18.