Mehserle Defense to Paint Picture of Uncooperative Grant

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A defense attorney for a former Bay Area transit police officer accused of killing an unarmed black man is expected to call another police officer on Tuesday who will recount how the man resisted arrest during a traffic stop four years ago.

    Attorney Michael Rains will begin presenting his case after prosecutors wrapped up their case against Johannes Mehserle on Monday.

    Mehserle, who is white, has pleaded not guilty to murder for the New Year's Day 2009 shooting death of Oscar Grant, who is black. The trial was moved to Los Angeles because of intense media coverage and racial friction.

    The defense's first witness will be a San Leandro police officer who will recount how in 2006 Grant ran from officers and resisted arrest. Grant was shot with a stun gun, according to a police report.

    Authorities said Grant was carrying a gun and tried to get rid of it during the foot pursuit. A .380 pistol was found about 20 feet from the site of the arrest, and Grant was later sentenced to 16 months in state prison for a gun possession charge.

    Among other potential witnesses who may be called to testify are several of Grant's friends and a forensic image analyst who will give his opinion to what is seen on the videos.

    Mehserle is shown on videos taken by several train passengers shooting Grant, 22, in the back while he's face down. Rains has argued that his client meant to use his Taser stun gun as he tried to subdue Grant instead of pulling out his .40-caliber handgun.

    In his opening statement, Rains said Mehserle told fellow BART officer Tony Pirone before the shooting, "Tony, Tony, Tony, I can't get his hands. I'm going to tase him."

    Prosecutors have said Mehserle, 28, intended to shoot Grant, and that he used his weapon because officers were losing control of the situation. However, Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Dave Stein didn't appear to present much direct evidence that shows Mehserle intentionally shot Grant.

    Stein called 26 witnesses during the presentation of his case.