Friday, July 9, 2010

Mehserle Could Face Federal Criminal Charges

By Robert Gammon
Fri, Jul 9, 2010 at 9:24 AM

The Obama Justice Department is considering whether to file federal criminal charges against ex-BART cop Johannes Mehserle now that his state court trial is over, the Chron and Trib report. Mehserle could be charged with violating the civil rights of Oscar Grant — much like the Los Angeles cops in the Rodney King case.

In that case, two of the four LA police officers involved in the brutal beating of King were convicted in federal court on civil rights charges after they were acquitted in state court. Those two cops were then sentenced to thirty months in federal prison. However, the other two police officers involved in the beating were acquitted in federal court — just as they were in state court.

In a statement yesterday after jurors found Mehserle guilty of involuntary manslaughter, the US Justice Department said that it “will conduct and independent review of the facts and circumstances to determine whether the evidence warrants federal prosecution.”

Mehserle faces a sentence of five to fourteen years in prison for the involuntary manslaughter conviction in addition to being found guilty of using a gun in the commission of a homicide. TV news reports that the ex-BART cop could receive probation when he's sentenced on August 6 were erroneous.

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