Testimony Ends in Mehserle Trial - NBC Bay Area

Testimony Ends in Mehserle Trial



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    Testimony has concluded in the trial of a former BART police officer accused of murdering an unarmed passenger on an Oakland train platform.

    Johannes Mehserle is accused of killing 22-year-old Oscar Grant on New Year's Day 2009 during an altercation at the station.

    Mehserle's lawyer called a forensic pathologist as its final witness before resting its case Tuesday morning around 10 a.m.

    The prosecution then called five witnesses including police officers in a rebuttal to the defense's case.

    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.
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    Mehserle has testified that he accidentally pulled out his handgun instead of his Taser when he shot Grant once in the back as he was lying face down on the ground. 

    Closing arguments are scheduled for Thursday.

    In all, more than 40 witnesses were called by the prosecution and defense during the trial's testimony phase. The 28-year-old Mehserle testified that he mistakenly pulled his handgun instead of a Taser stun gun when he shot Grant.

    There was added personal drama Tuesday when Grant's mother, Wanda Johnson, had to be taken to a local hospital after she experienced what family says was pain in her side.  They say it appears to be stressed related.

    The trial was moved to Los Angeles because of racial tension and media coverage in Alameda County.

    The trial is expected to go to the jury by Friday and that has many people in Oakland on edge.  They fear post-verdict protests will get out of hand.

    Even before the trial started, protest organizers announced that they would meet at 16th and Broadway in Oakland on the night the verdict is read.   They say they will decide what to do after they know the jury's decision.    

    In the early weeks following the shooting, protests turned into riots. Dozens of businesses were vandalized causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.

    The worry is if the jury returns a verdict of innocent, or even guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter, protests could turn violent again.

    Late last week, Oakland city leaders sent out a few tips for people to keep their stuff safe, just in case post-verdict protests do get out of hand.

    In a community bulletin issued Friday officials advised residents to park cars in a secure location, remove large trash bins from the curb and report any vandalism or destruction they see by calling 911.