Former police officer convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Oakland (2)

10:25, July 09, 2010      

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Mehserle's case was moved to Los Angeles for trial amid concern about the extensive media coverage of the slaying in the San Franscisco area.

In the eyes of many civil rights activists, the case is a test of how the justice system treats police officers accused of abusing minorities, the Los Angeles Times said in a report on its Web on Thursday.

The trial also captured the attention of law enforcement officers who feared that a guilty verdict could raise the stakes for cops who make mistakes, the paper noted.

Mehserle, 28, testified that he intended to use his Taser because he believed Grant, 22, might be reaching for a gun in his pants pocket.

Alameda County Deputy Dist. Atty. David R. Stein rejected the idea that the shooting was a mistake, telling jurors that Mehserle's holster was specially designed to prevent easy release of his firearm. [ "He let his aggression dictate his conduct," Stein told jurors.

Mehserle pleaded not guilty to murder and resigned from the Bay Area Rapid Transit agency after the shooting.

Involuntary manslaughter carries a sentence of two to four years.

Source: Xinhua
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