SF Cop Charged in BART Slaying

Ex-officer surrendered on suspicion of murder
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2009 7:17 AM CST

(Newser) – The transit officer who fatally shot an unarmed man on New Year's Day, sparking San Francisco-area riots, was arrested last night in Nevada on suspicion of murder, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Sources say Johannes Mehserle, 27, had fled California after receiving death threats in the wake of Oscar Grant's death. Mehserle resigned last week rather than answer investigators’ questions.

Oakland authorities were pressured to take quick action, especially after video of the shooting sparked public ire. Civil rights activists called attention to the ongoing problem of police brutality against black men, and protests over BART’s handling of the investigation turned violent. Mehserle surrendered without incident on the eve of more planned protests in Oakland today. Grant’s family has filed a $25 million legal claim against BART.