Johannes Mehserle, the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) cop convicted on Thursday of involuntary manslaughter for killing Oscar Grant, an unarmed transit rider on New Years Day 2009, has released a statement apologizing for the crime. Read it when you
The statement was handwritten and dated July 4 but was just released by Mehserle’s lawyer today.
Grant was shot in the back while lying face-down in a subway station on New Year’s Day, 2009 after several passengers had been detained following a scuffle. Cell-phone recordings made by fellow transit riders show that Mehserle drew his weapon and shot Grant in the back when Grant was on the floor with his hands behind his back. In the trial, Mehserle said he thought he was pulling out his taser but instead pulled out his gun. He said he saw Grant reach into a pocket and was worried he had a weapon.
Please try to get this message to the public:
I don’t know what the jury in this case is going to decide, but I hope those who hate me and those who understand that I never intended to shoot Oscar Grant will listen to this message.
I have and will continue to live everyday of my life knowing that Mr. Grant should not have been shot. I know a daughter has lost a father and a mother has lost a son. It saddens me knowing that my actions cost Mr. Grant his life, no words express how truly sorry I am.
I hoped to talk to Ms. Johnson and Ms. Mesa in the days following this terrible event, but death threats toward my newly-born son, my friends and family resulted in no communication occurring. I hope the day will come when anger will give way to dialogue.
For now, and forever I will live, breathe, sleep, and not sleep with the memory of Mr. Grant screaming “You shot me” and putting my hands on the bullet wound thinking the pressure would help while I kept telling him “You’ll be okay!”
I tried to tell myself that maybe this shot would not be so serious, but I recall how sick I felt when Mr. Grant stopped talking, closed his eyes and seemed to stop breathing. I don’t expect that I can ever convince some individuals how sorry I am for the death of Mr. Grant, but I would not feel right if I didn’t explain my thoughts as I wait for a decision of the jury.
Johannes Mehserle 7-4-2010
Grant’s family and much of the city of Oakland is outraged that the conviction was for involuntary manslaughter, which carries less jail time than if Mehserle had received a full manslaughter conviction. The Justice Department’s civil rights division announced yesterday that it plans to look into the case.
Thursdays verdict resulted in protests in the city of Oakland that eventually turned ugly. Scores of arrests occurred after roughly 100 of the 800 or so who had gathered turned to violence and looting.
What do you think about Mehserle’s statement? It seems heartfelt, but does that change anything about the case?