Former BART cop Mehserle, four other officers cleared of excessive force

AP file photoFormer BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle and four other officers were found not guilty in civil trial.

AP file photoFormer BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle and four other officers were found not guilty in civil trial.

Former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle and four others were cleared of violating the constitutional rights of an Oakland man during a 2008 confrontation, sparing the transit agency from a costly payout.

Kenneth Carrethers alleged that Mehserle and four other BART police officers unlawfully hog-tied, kicked and punched him after he confronted them verbally at the Oakland Coliseum BART Station. The incident occurred about six weeks before Mehserle shot and killed Oscar Grant at the Fruitvale BART Station.

The jury deliberated for about six hours over two days before delivering its verdict in the civil case. When the verdict was read, Carrethers slumped and shook his head.

Carrethers lawyer, Christopher Dolan, said his client was “terribly upset and disappointed” by the verdict.

“Unfortunately it appears that Mr. Mehserle will once again get off with nothing more than a slap on the wrist, and in this case, a complete free pass,” said Dolan.

Dolan said the makeup of the jury—the sole minority on the panel asked to be dismissed earlier in the trial—played a factor in the verdict.

“It’s unfortunate that Mr. Carrethers did not have a jury of his peers,” said Dolan.

Dale Allen, the attorney representing the BART police officers, said the jury was selected from a pool vetted by both lawyers.

“The jury did its duty to the best of its ability,” said Allen.

Allen said that Mehserle was “very emotional” following the jury’s verdict.

“He just wants to move on with his life now,” said Allen.

Mehserle spent 11 months in jail after being convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the killing of Grant. He was released from prison earlier this year.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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