Johannes Mehserle, the BART Police officer involved in the shooting death of Oscar Grant at the Fruitvale BART station on New Years morning, was arrested yesterday on murder charges. Strangely, he was arrested the day after not giving any semblance of a statement to investigators. Strangerly, he was arrested in Nevada, though as I understand it he did notify investigators of his intent to leave California because he was in fear of his life and safety of his family.
So I have a question about this. Why in the heck did it take two weeks, fourteen days, to arrest this dude? Worse, why did it take 13 days to get his statement? How was he not required to give a statement at 5:00 AM or so on the morning of January 1, just hours after the shooting when the incident was still fresh in his head?
I think the BART police bunged this up pretty bad if you ask me. I know you didn’t ask me, but still. I have been responsible for writing reports, investigating incidents and asking questions. Never was it acceptable to wait two weeks for even the smallest incident. In the case of a officer involved shooting death it should not have extended beyond the moment it was originally reported to the BART police department.
I am glad the initial stages of this investigation are finally wrapping up. I am a bit concerned that with the introduction of the videos that surfaced almost immediately after the incident that Mehserle will not be able to be tried fairly in any part of our state. Which would mean that he would need to be tried out of area or even out of state, which seems to diminish the sense of justice offered in his trial and expected conviction.
Regardless, Mehserle’s arrest puts to an end the initial angst of the incident and hopefully can bring some immediate closure to some outstanding feelings of inadequacy some people have developed toward local law enforcement and the criminal justice system as a whole.
More info can be found at SFGate.com