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Thursday, July 15, 2010

 
Fear And Loathing In Oakland

A fight breaks out on a Bay Area Rapid Transit train, BART police officer Johannes Mehserle subdues a perp, reaches for a weapon, shoots subdued perp, weapon turns out to be a gun, perp is dead. Cop goes to trial, is convicted of involuntary manslaughter and not murder; the jury believes Mehserle's claim that he thought he was reaching for his Taser. Thugs riot, because the transit cop didn't get a murder sentence.

Radley Balko says the jury gave the right verdict. Key is the defendant's immediate reaction to the shooting, caught on surveillance tape and confirmed by witnesses. Read the whole thing.

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