As we mentioned last week, the Bay Area's most headline-grabbing BART cop of 2009 and 2010, is back in court and once again showing remorse over the killing of Oscar Grant III on New Year's Day 2009. He was, as you surely know, convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2010 in a Los Angeles court, leading to much civil unrest around the Bay Area. Mehserle was released from jail in 2011, with credit for time served, just 11 months after his sentencing. Now he's being sued by Grant's father, whose name is Oscar Grant Jr., for unspecified damages in a civil case.
Mehserle has been giving testimony once again, this time in federal court in San Francisco, in the last of a series of civil cases brought in the names of individual family members. Previously, BART has agreed to settlements of $1.5 million with Grant’s daughter; $1.3 million with his mother, Wanda Johnson; and $175,000 with five friends of Grant’s who were detained at Fruitvale Station that night. This case has gone to trial and names Mehserle himself as defendant BART is not named and will not be liable in this case. The case hinges on Mehserle's intent to harm Grant, and Grant's father is contending that his son was deprived of his civil rights.
Also part of this trial is BART Officer Marysol Domenici, who's separately accused of depriving one of Grant's friends of his rights that same night. The friend, Johntue Caldwell, was later killed in 2011, and his mother is a party to this lawsuit.
Mehserle is once again having to recount his testimony from 2010, and in questioning on Friday, as Bay City News reports, he was seen shedding "silent tears" and saying, "I remember not understanding how this could have happened. I felt terrible for Mr. Grant. I felt sick."
An attorney for Oscar Grant Jr. asked pointed questions about whether Mehserle had had trouble distinguishing his bright yellow Taser from his gun in the past.
As you'll recall, or as you know if you've seen the movie, Mehserle has insisted all along that he believed he was reaching for and firing his Taser that New Year's night, and the shooting was accidental. Grant, who was unarmed had been removed from the train for reportedly causing a disruption.
The current trial is expected to last two weeks.