The first 200 potential jurors in the Johannes Mehserle murder trial reported to court Wednesday morning. They have a lengthy assignment to complete.
Mehserle, a former BART police officer, is charged with killing Oscar Grant at the Fruitvale BART station early in the morning on January 1,2009.
Mehserle admits he pulled the trigger, but claims he thought he was holding a taser and not a hand gun at the time.
The potential jurors who make it through the first screening will be given a 14-page questionnaire that asks about their attitudes regarding race, police officers, crime and the use of Taser guns.
The document notes that Mehserle is white and Grant was black .
Here are some of the 121 questions: (entire pdf)
- What do you like best about your neighborhood?
- What do you like least about your neighborhood?
- How important is religion in your life?
- What types of books do you read?
- How often do you watch TV?
- Do you consider yourself an expert on any subject?
- Have you ever written a letter to the editor?
- How familiar are you with the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland?
- Have you, friend or relative ever been shot, or shot at?
- Have you, friends or relative even had a gun pointed at them?
- Have you, friends or relatives ever used a taser or seen a taser used?
- What is your opinion of the crime situation in Oakland?
- What is your opinion of the crime situation in your neighborhood?
- Do police officers lie?
- Have you ever considered working in law enforcement?
- Have you or anyone close to you ever had a bad experience with a police officer?
- Could you fire a gun in self-defense?
- Should police officers be treated differently than civilians if they break the law?
- Will the fact that a white police officer shot and killed a black man make it difficult for you to be a fair and impartial juror in this case?
- Do you have an opinion as to whether racial discrimination is a problem in Oakland?
- Have you every seen a police officer act inappropriately?
- If you are selected as a juror in this case, do you anticipate any negative reactions by friends or family if you find the defendant guilty? If you find the defendant not guilty?
- Would you like to serve on this jury? Why?
Jury selection is expected to take about a week. Open statements are scheduled to begin until June 10.