Emotional Breakdown Stops Mehserle Trial

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC Bay Area
    Oscar Grant, 22, who was unarmed, was shot and killed by former BART Officer Johannes Mehserle after Mehserle and other officers responded to reports that there was a fight on a BART train.

    The second day of testimony in the Johannes Mehserle trial included an emotional break down on the witness stand by one of the victim's friends.

    Oscar Grant's friend Jamil Dewar burst out in tears as they played the video he shot the night Grant was killed by a former BART police officer.  In the video you could hear Dewar say, "just shot my brother." After that, he broke down in what is described as uncontrolable tears.

    Mehserle Trial Under Way

    [BAY] Mehserle Trial Under Way
    The long-awaited and highly charged trial of a former BART officer accused of killing an armed train rider has begun.

    It was enough of a disruption to cause the judge to stop court.  Dewar's mother ran up to the stand and embraced her son as several others in attendance also began to cry.   Grant's aunt Zeporia Smith said she noticed members of the jury were among those who had tears in their eyes after the breakdown.

    Dewar was the second witness on the stand who was being questioned on a video he took early January 1, 2009.   He was able to finish  his testimony in the afternoon session of the trial.

    Raw Video: Oscar Grant's Uncle Speaks Out

    [BAY] Raw Video: Oscar Grant's Uncle Speaks Out
    Oscar Grant's uncle reacts to the non-African American jury. Grant died after he was shot by BART cop Johannes Mehserly on Jan. 1, 2009.

    Karina Vargas also took the stand to show her video.  She said  she didn't see Grant resisting or fighting with police before the gun was fired.

    Vargas said she was about 10 to 15 feet away and recorded Mehserle as he tried to handcuff Grant. She said she heard Grant say, "Don't tase me, man," a reference to a Taser stun gun.
         
    "To me, it looked like he was cooperating from where I was standing," Vargas testified.

    In all three bystanders testified Friday.  Two of them said Grant did not appear to be resisting arrest. They also said that Mehserle appeared dumbfounded and shocked after he fired the deadly shot.  That helps the defense case that claims Mehserle meant to use his Taser, but accidentally grabbed his gun instead.

    When Mehserle was unable to handcuff Grant, he told fellow BART officer Tony Pirone, "I'm going to tase him," attorney Michael Rains said.

    The case for and against Mehserle is clearly going to center on a series of videos taken that morning.

    The trial got underway in Los Angeles on Thursday.  It is expected to last a month.