The trial of BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle, accused of murdering Oscar Grant during an arrest on New Years Day in 2009, is hardly underway but Oaklanders are already wondering what might happen if he's acquitted.
This is the first time that a police officer in California has even stood trial in the fatal shooting of a suspect, leading supporters of Grant's family to suggest that "whatever happens, Oscar Grant's name will go down in history."
Mehserle's lawyer, Michael Rains, has admitted that Mehserle shot and killed Grant but claims that the shooting was accidental because the former officer meant to use his Taser stun gun on Grant but fired his gun by mistake.
Activists concerned about the case are worried that the deck is being stacked against Oscar Grant's family and for Mehserle.
For instance, Mehserle's past behavior, including allegations that he beat a citizen criticizing BART Police, might not be heard by jurors.
Potential jurors began arriving at the Los Angeles courthouse Wednesday. Opening statements are scheduled to begin June 10. The trial is supposed to last about a month.
Oakland residents who say they are standing on the side of Grant's family have already picked a location to meet whenever a verdict is read. They say they will hold a rally at the intersection of Broadway and 14th Street. What happens after the verdict depends on the verdict, according to organizers.
Jackson West would probably not pass the jury selection process.
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