Arrest history allowed in transit shooting case

originally by: Associated Press
published: 8th May 2010

Jurors in the upcoming trial of a former transit officer charged with murdering an unarmed man can hear about an incident in which police reported the man ran from officers and resisted arrest, a judge ruled Friday.

Superior Court Judge Robert Perry granted a defense motion to allow some details about the arrest history of Oscar Grant, who was shot in the back and killed at an Oakland transit station on New Year’s Day 2009.

Ex-Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer Jonannes Mehserle, 28, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Grant. The trial was moved from Alameda County to Los Angeles due to widespread media coverage and racial tensions sparked by the case.

Attorney John Burris, who represents the family of Grant, vehemently disagreed with the judge’s decision.

“We think it’s very hurtful and should not be included because Mehserle was unaware of Mr. Grant’s background prior to the fatal shooting,” Burris said.

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