Mehserle’s release from jail passes by quietly

Police officers meet up after planned protests in Oakland. Some thought protests would spring up in Oakland and Los Angeles after the release of Johannes Mehserle.
Jeffrey Joh/Staff
Police officers meet up after planned protests in Oakland. Some thought protests would spring up in Oakland and Los Angeles after the release of Johannes Mehserle.

Johannes Mehserle, the former BART police officer who shot and killed Oscar Grant III in 2009, was quietly released from jail early Monday morning.

At approximately 12:01 a.m., Mehserle was released from the Los Angeles County Jail after serving 11 months for the involuntary manslaughter of Grant, the 22-year-old Mehserle shot and killed on the platform of the Fruitvale BART station on Jan. 1, 2009.

A Los Angeles jury convicted Mehserle in July 2010 of involuntary manslaugter in the death of Grant. Throughout the case, Mehserle claimed he thought he was reaching for his taser and not his gun when the incident occurred.

In November 2010, following a racially charged case that sparked riots and protests throughout Oakland, Mehserle was sentenced to two years in prison — the minimum amount of time that can be served for someone convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

Last Friday, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Robert J. Perry ruled that Mehserle would be released on June 13 because of his credits for time served and good behavior.

Mehserle was given one day of good time credit for each day he served, totaling 366 days of credits.

The trial has been marred by protests in both Los Angeles and in Oakland, including a rally and march Sunday afternoon to protest his release.

On Sunday, a group of about 150 people gathered at the Fruitvale BART station at 3 p.m. to protest Mehserle’s release. From there, the group — which grew to about 200 people — marched peacefully along International Boulevard to Downtown Oakland, according to major media outlets.

Beginning at approximately 5 p.m., protesters gathered in Frank H. Ogawa Plaza in Downtown Oakland to continue the protest, and according to major media outlets, there was one report of Oakland police arresting one protester near International Boulevard and 2nd Avenue for vandalism.

The protest had concluded by 8 p.m. on Sunday after police gave protesters  a dispersal order.

Many believed protests would be held in both Los Angeles and Oakland the day of Mehserle’s release. However, following Mehserle’s release, predicted protests did not occur.

Going forward, it remains unclear what Mehserle will do or where he will live. It also remains unclear what type of parole Mehserle will be given.

According to reports, some have said Mehserle will be given the most lenient parole available in the state, which does not require him to take drug tests, check in with a parole officer or remain a resident of California.

Katie Nelson is an assistant news editor.

Correction(s):
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Mehserle was released from prison. In fact, Mehserle was sentenced to two years in prison but instead was released after serving 11 months in jail.