The jury in the murder trial of former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle will have to start
deliberations from scratch because one member of the panel is leaving on a prearranged vacation.
The jury did not deliberate Tuesday because another member was sick. If it reconvenes as scheduled at
9 a.m. today, an alternate will be seated to replace the juror leaving on vacation.
Attorneys in the case and Judge Robert Perry were aware of the juror's vacation plans when he was
seated, but hoped the trial would wrap up in time for him to take part in deliberations.
The jury deliberated for a little more than two hours Friday after getting the case. Two alternates remain
Mehserle, 28, is accused of murdering 22-year-old Oscar Grant during an attempted arrest Jan. 1, 2009,
at the Fruitvale BART Station in Oakland.
Alameda County prosecutors argue that Mehserle committed second-degree murder, saying he shot
Grant intentionally while the Hayward resident was trying to get his hands behind his back to be
Defense attorney Michael Rains says Mehserle was trying to fire his Taser at Grant but shot him with his
pistol by mistake, and is urging the jury to acquit him.
Jurors could also convict Mehserle of voluntary or involuntary manslaughter.
The case was moved to Los Angeles because of widespread publicity in the Bay Area and the possibility
that tensions surrounding the trial could influence the jury.
Oakland community leaders have been taking steps to try to ensure calm after a verdict, including
opening "speak-out centers" where people will be able to vent their feelings.
San Francisco leaders announced Monday that "Be Heard, Teach Peace" events will be held today and
Thursday from noon to 6 p.m. People can write messages about the case on large banners, and hot dogs
and sodas will be given away.
Today's event will be held at the Ella Hill Hutch Community Center at 1050 McAllister St., and Thursday's
will be at Visitacion Valley Middle School at 450 Raymond Ave.
Authorities plan to set up "community engagement centers" soon after the verdict at the Ella Hill Hutch
center and the southeast campus of San Francisco City College at 1800 Oakdale Ave., where people can
come to express their feelings about the outcome. The centers will be open as long as there is a
demand, Police Chief George Gascón said.
Demian Bulwa reported from Los Angeles and Jaxon Van Derbeken from San Francisco.
Vacation means Mehserle jury starting over
Demian Bulwa,Jaxon Van Derbeken,
Chronicle Staff Writers
San Francisco Chronicle