Monday, February 2, 2009

BART Cop Gets Bail, Hints at Defense

By Chris Thompson
Mon, Feb 2, 2009 at 2:19 PM

Friday was craaaazy at Oakland's Alameda Superior Court, as former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle, who fatally shot Hayward resident Oscar Grant, was granted the chance to post a $3 million bail, and his lawyer offered a glimpse of his legal defense. A crowd of protesters lingered outside and chanted, "We are Oscar Grant," while some sheriff's deputies kept the peace inside the courtroom. According to the Chronicle, Mehserle's lawyer Michael Rains claimed that fellow cop Tony Prione, who is also under investigation for allegedly punching Grant in the head without cause, said that Mehserle said, "I'm going to tase him, I'm going to tase him," before pulling his gun and blasting away. But Judge Morris Jacobson, who presided over the bail hearing, noted that Pirone had earlier claimed Mehserle said, "Tony, I thought he was going for a gun," immediately after the shooting. The impression he got, Jacobson indicated, was that Prione was floating at least two inconsistent defense, hoping that at least one would stick. "He has a willingness to add to the story, to change the story, to make up something that's not true to avoid consequences" Jacobson said. Nonetheless, he gave Mehserle $3 million bail; all he needs to do now is raise the money.

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