Oakland Cop Offers Apology For Killing Unarmed Transit Rider
Johannes Mehserle, the transit cop who shot and killed unarmed transit rider Oscar Grant says he’s sorry.
“For now, and forever I will live, breathe, sleep and not sleep with the memory of Mr. Grant screaming ‘You shot me’ and me putting my hands on the bullet wound, thinking the pressure would help while I kept telling him ‘You’ll be okay,’ ” Mehserle wrote in the letter, dated Sunday.
Mehserle gave the letter to his attorney, Michael Rains, and asked him to release it to the public. Rains did so Friday, a day after a jury convicted Mehserle of involuntary manslaughter for the Jan. 1, 2009, slaying of Grant at the Fruitvale BART Station in Oakland.
Grant’s family isn’t buying it, saying Mehserle would have apologized long before we was awaiting a jury verdict if he were truly sincere.
Mehserle didn’t apologize on the witness stand. But in his letter, the former officer said, “It saddens me knowing that my actions cost Mr. Grant his life, no words can express how truly sorry I am.”
He wrote that he wanted to talk with Grant’s mother, Wanda Johnson, and with Sophina Mesa, the mother of Grant’s young daughter, but that death threats directed at his family and friends “resulted in no communication occurring. I hope the day will come when anger will give way to a dialogue.”
When he wrote the letter, Mehserle was out on $3 million bail.
John Burris, an attorney who represents Grant’s family, said he considered the letter and Mehserle’s apology to be of “no consequence.”
“From our point of view, it would be more appropriate and better received if he had said he was sorry at the very moment he looked in his (Grant’s) eyes after the shooting,” Burris said. “He should have said, ‘Sorry, it was a mistake and I didn’t mean it.’ “
The letter asks his defense attorney, Michael Raines, to get it out to the public:
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