source: The TribTown
published: 13 June 2014
A former Northern California transit officer cried on the witness stand Friday while describing how he shot and killed an unarmed man on a train station platform more than five years ago.
Johannes Mehserle testified in federal court in San Francisco that he meant to use his Taser rather than his gun to subdue an already handcuffed Oscar Grant on New Year’s Day in 2009.
Mehserle was testifying in a civil rights lawsuit filed by Grant’s father against Mehserle, the Bay Area Rapid Transit agency and other defendants.
The shooting occurred as authorities were responding to a chaotic scene on the Fruitvale station platform in Oakland. It has sparked racial tension because Mehserle is white and the 22-year-old Grant was black. The incident was depicted in director Ryan Coogler’s feature film “Fruitvale Station.”
Mehserle denied Friday that race or animus had anything to do with the shooting. He said he wasn’t angry while trying to arrest Grant and is still confused about why he pulled his gun instead of his Taser.