Alameda County Superior Court Judge C. Don Clay today postponed a preliminary examination for former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle in light of the shootings this weekend that left three Oakland police officers dead and one on life support.
Mehserle has been charged with murder for the fatal shooting of Oscar Grant III on the platform of the Fruitvale BART station early on New Year's Day.
Tensions between police and community members have been high since the Grant shooting, and some feared continuing with the preliminary examination just two days after the officers were shot would exacerbate the situation.
In the shootings Saturday, 26-year-old parolee Lovelle Mixon shot and killed Oakland police Sgt. Mark Dunakin, 40, Sgt. Ervin Romans, 43, and Sgt. Daniel Sakai, 35. He also shot Officer John Hege, 41, who was declared brain-dead Sunday and remains on life support.
Mehserle's preliminary examination was rescheduled for May 18.
About 50 protesters, including students, community activists and family members of Grant, held a rally in front of the Oakland courthouse today to voice their objections to the hearing's postponement, according to Ronald Cruz, a law student at the University of California Berkeley.
"We think that this is the latest action by the DA to cover up this crime," Cruz said.
Cruz said protesters don't believe Mehserle should receive special treatment because he was a police officer. He said trying Mehserle for murder is the only thing that can repair relations between police and the community.