Bay Area police are on call, awaiting the outcome of the trial of a BART officer charged in the death of an unarmed Oakland man. Local law enforcement agencies are said to be available to help Oakland police in the event that racial tensions could lead to violence and rioting following the jury verdict.
BART has also announced contingency plans that include additional police. Oakland officials have urged calm if former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle is found not guilty.
Mehserle is on trial for the fatal shooting of unarmed passenger Oscar Grant III on the platform of the Fruitvale station in Oakland early on New Year's Day 2009.
Jury deliberations in the murder trial of former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle were suspended Tuesday, July 6 because one of the jurors was sick.
A Los Angeles County Superior Court spokeswoman said Judge Robert Perry hopes that deliberations will resume at 9 a.m. Wednesday, July 7 assuming that the juror is feeling better.
However, the spokeswoman said another juror will be replaced because he is going on vacation, which is something Perry and the attorneys in the case were aware of when he was selected.
That juror will be replaced by an alternate and the panel will have to start their deliberations from scratch, the spokeswoman said.
However, jurors only deliberated for two hours and 20 minutes on Friday after getting the case at 1:40 p.m. and they then adjourned for the long Fourth of July weekend.
Mehserle's lawyer, Michael Rains, has admitted that the former BART police Officer shot and killed 22-year-old Grant but claims the shooting was an accident and that Mehserle, 28, meant to use his Taser gun.
Protesters said a trained police officer should know the difference between the feel of the two weapons.
Mehserle is free on $3 million bail.
In giving jurors their legal instructions on Friday, Perry said they will have the option of convicting Mehserle of second-degree murder or the lesser charges of voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter. Jurors will also have the option of finding Mehserle not guilty of all charges.
The trial was moved away from Alameda County because of concerns about whether Mehserle could get a fair trial because the extensive publicity the fatal shooting received and the passions it aroused in the community.