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Video Hints At Unprovoked Attack In BART Shooting

Publication Date: 
February 01, 2009
National Public Radio
Richard Gonzales

Lecturer in Law and Executive Director of the Criminal Justice Center Kara P. Dansky is interviewed for a National Public Radio segment regarding new video that has come to light in the New Year's Day shooting death of an unarmed man on a BART platform:

New home video has surfaced in the New Year's Day shooting death of an unarmed African-American man on a Bay Area Rapid Transit platform in Oakland, Calif. It shows what appears to be an unprovoked attack by BART police.

Minutes before Oscar Grant, 22, was killed by then-BART officer Johannes Mehserle, he was assaulted by another BART officer, the video suggests. Mehserle, who resigned from the force, has been charged with murder.


If the state can't prove that Mehserle intended to kill Grant, it might convince the jury that this was a case of manslaughter, says Kara Dansky, executive director of Stanford University's Criminal Justice Center.

"That's why mental state is key, because all of this hinges on what the state can prove with respect to what was going on in Officer Mehserle's mind," says Dansky.