Johannes Mehserle, the former BART cop who shot and killed Oscar Grant III, an unarmed man on New Years Day last year, was sentenced to two years in prison for involuntary manslaughter.
Mehserle’s sentence could have been as high as 14 years, but a Los Angeles Judge tossed out the gun enhancement penalty, calling it an “accidental shooting, and sentenced Mehserle to just two years in prison.
According to the LA Times, Mehserle said that he accidentally shot Grant, saying that he thought he was holding his taser and not his pistol.
Riots erupted in Oakland when footage of the incident was released. More riots occurred in July when Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, instead of murder. Yesterday, the city sent out a letter to residents and business owners, telling them to stay calm after Mersele’s sentence was given.
Oscar Grant Sr., who was preparing a memorial for his fallen grandson, said:
“It’s a bad decision. No time can bring [Oscar]back. But [Mehserle] should have served some time. Otherwise, they’re telling the public, though he went to trial, a policeman can shoot someone and go free. These guys have a license to kill.”
“My message to the public is don’t use this as a reason to destroy this city.”