Though officials have not confirmed a date of release, it’s been widely reported that former BART cop Johannes Mehserle is expected to be released from prison Monday, and the transit agency at the center of the issue is bracing for the community’s reaction.
Mehserle, 29, shot and killed Grant, a 22-year-old Hayward man, at BART’s Fruitvale station in Oakland around 2 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2009, after Mehserle and other BART officers responded to reports of a fight on a train.
Alameda County prosecutors sought to have Mehserle convicted of second-degree murder, but in a verdict on July 8 that sparked a large protest in downtown Oakland, jurors only convicted Mehserle of the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter.
On Nov. 5, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Robert Perry sentenced Mehserle to two years. He was given credit for time served in jail before his conviction.
He has been held at the Los Angeles County Men’s Central Jail since his conviction..
Anticipating a negative public reaction to and protests of Mehserle’s release, including a demonstration planned at the Fruitvale BART station at 3 p.m. Sunday, BART says they have set up as many ways as humanly possible to keep passengers updated on any changes to services.
According to their website, “Our goal is to ensure your safety and to keep trains moving. BART Police and Operations staff are working closely with local law enforcement agencies to coordinate plans.”
“As circumstances warrant,” they say “we may need to close some stations temporarily or make other service adjustment on short notice.”
And, of course, you can always call BART directly on their customer service line at (510) 465-2278.