Prosecutors Seek Prison For Oscar Grant Shooter

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Prosecutors asked a judge Tuesday to send a white former transit officer to prison for the 2009 videotaped shooting death of an unarmed black man on an Oakland train platform.

The request came after a defence attorney requested probation for Johannes Mehserle, who was convicted in July of involuntary manslaughter in the death of 22-year-old Oscar Grant.

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office did not say how much prison time it wants a Los Angeles judge to give the former Bay Area Rapid Transit officer.

He could receive anywhere from probation to 14 years in prison at his sentencing on Nov. 5.

The trial was moved from Alameda County to Los Angeles because of racial tension and extensive media coverage in the San Francisco Bay area.

The shooting on New Year’s Day 2009 prompted protests and rioting shortly after Grant’s death and after the verdict.

Mehserle testified during the trial that he thought Grant had a weapon and decided to shock him with his stun gun but instead pulled his .40-calibre handgun. Grant was unarmed and face down when he was shot.

Prosecutors had sought a second-degree murder conviction, but jurors were given the choice of lesser charges including voluntary and involuntary manslaughter.

In reaching its decision, the jury found Mehserle didn’t mean to kill Grant, but his behaviour was criminally negligent.

Defence attorney Michael Rains has filed a motion for a new trial that will be considered during the sentencing hearing.

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