After six and a half hours of deliberations, a Los Angeles jury decided yesterday that former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle was guilty of involuntary manslaughter when he shot and killed unarmed Oscar Grant.
The shooting occurred New Year’s Day 2009 and the trial that ensued afterward has captivated the country and raised several questions regarding racism and police brutality.
A cell phone video that captured the detainment and shooting of Grant was a key piece of evidence in the case and led many to believe that a stiffer verdict was in store for Mehserle.
In addition to the video, opponents of Mehserle hoped that his supposed confusion between his Taser and his gun, along with his reported belief that Grant was armed with a weapon, would all lead to a more punitive outcome.
Instead, Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, the least of all the charges that were brought against him, and faces a jail sentence of 5-14 years.
On the evening that the verdict came down, protesters took to the streets and sought to create their own sense of justice.