Two years ago, on the San Francisco Bay transit system, Johannes Mehserle shot and killed an unarmed man. Claiming that he thought he was shooting Oscar Grant in the back with his taser and not a pistol, Mehserle cited the ordeal was an accident. A jury, after seeing the surveillance footage, agreed the shooting was an accident. They did, however, find Mehserle negligent, and he was sentenced to two years in prison for involuntary manslaughter.
Mehserle served a year and a half, upon which he was released for good behavior. Like the trial, his release was highly charged with racial tension. After all, Mehserle, a white male, shot and killed an unarmed black male, Oscar Grant. Many were hoping to see Mehserle’s face today upon leaving prison, but he was escorted by a group of security guards, all hiding his face as he rushed to his car.
The civil suit is yet to come, and compensatory measures are yet to be filed, but it is only a matter of time before Grant’s family cites wrongful death and attempts to claim compensation for Mehserle’s negligent misdeed. Mehserle might be asked to pay a large sum in medical bills, funeral arrangements, and any other payments reflective of his causing Oscar Grant’s death…and rightfully so.