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This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.


BART Cop Murder Trial to Move to Downtown L.A., Lawyer Predicts More L.A. Riots

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Johannes Mehserle

Johannes Mehserle
Last New Year's Eve, the San Francisco Area rung in the New Year with a bad start. A police officer working for the BART transit system shot and killed an unarmed man already restrained and facing down on the ground. Now that former cop, 27-year-old Johannes Mehserle stands trial for murder. With all the media attention and community reaction--some crazy riots--the climate in Bay Area was too intense to hold the trial there. Therefore a judge ruled to move it to downtown Los Angeles. The family of the victim, Oscar Grant, is happy with the decision. Mehserle's lawyers are not.

"Citing the reaction to the 1991 police beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles, [defense attorney Michael] Rains also argued that the trial could drag that city back in time, and into 'the boiling cauldron we wanted to get out of in Alameda County,'" explained the San Francisco Chronicle. Rains also argued that with L.A.'s backlog of cases, the trial won't happen for some time and that it would be better to move the case to San Diego. Others argue moving it to San Diego would result in a not guilty verdict.

The incident was caught on tape. If you wish, you can watch it below:

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