As tragic as the shooting death of Oscar Grant was, the case against Officer Mehserle was always an accidental shooting case, not a murder case. Every day in the United States innocent people are accidently killed by guns. Usually it is children who are killed while playing with the gun of an adult relative.
In the BART shooting case it became clear that the officer mistakenly pulled his gun out and shot Mr. Grant by accident. As hard as the prosecutors tried, they could not find any motive or reason for Officer Mehserle to intentionally kill Mr. Grant. At trial, there was no evidence presented that the officer was a racist, had a hot temper or had mental health issues. The evidence was to the contrary, he came across as a nice young man.
The truth is, the standards for becoming a BART police officer are not very high. A good number of BART police officers are working for BART after having been rejected by other police departments. The training and supervision are inadequate.
This all became apparent in this case when Mehserle panicked in a stressful situation and reached for his gun instead of the taser. Some people wonder why BART police officers are allowed to carry guns at all. The chances of BART police officers getting into a life or death struggle with some hardened criminals are miniscule.
This criminal defense attorney believes our society has become too gun friendly and that includes arming low level police officers such as the BART police department.