The Oscar Grant verdict is in and BART police officer Johannes Mehserle has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. The charge is far less than many demonstrators had hoped for in the case. Mehserle was found not guilty of both second degree murder and voluntary manslaughter.
The verdict means that, pending sentencing, Mehserle may not spend anymore time in prison. He has been held since his arrest and through the trial.
Alameda County prosecutor David Stein argued to jurors that Mehserle intentionally shot Grant, 22, in the back after trying to handcuff him after a fight on a BART train at the Fruitvale station in Oakland. The incident took place early on January 1, 2009, as New Year's revellers made their way back home.
Jurors deliberated for about six and a half hours between Wednesday and Thursday before coming to a unanimous verdict of not guilty on the second degree murder charge, and the voluntary manslaughter charge, and guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
Immediately following the trial, television news crews showed a tense scene in San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles, where the trial was held. Many demonstrators felt that the verdict failed to provide justice in the highly-contentious case.
Mehserle is due in court for sentencing on August 1, 2010.