A Los Angeles Superior Court judge Friday denied a request to reduce the bail of a Bay Area transit cop accused of murder in a high-profile case that was moved to L.A.
Johannes Mehserle can remain free on bail but he's not getting a discount, the judge ruled. The 28-year-old white man is accused of fatally shooting 22-year-old African-American Oscar Grant without provocation on a Bay Area Rapid Transit platform in Oakland on New Year's Day last year.
As officers struggled with the suspect, Mehserle said he reached for his Taser and accidentally came up with his gun, opening fire before realizing he had the wrong weapon.
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Black activists, some of whom have been traveling to Los Angeles to demonstrate outside the proceedings downtown, say it's a clear case of white-on-black violence and racial bias. The shooting was captured on video.
Superior Court Judge Robert J. Perry said moving the trial to L.A. was a wise decision because it has garnered less publicity here, leading to the likelihood that a jury without preconceived notions of the case could be convened. "I can well understand why the change of venue was granted,'' Perry said.
He scheduled the trial for June 7. Another pretrial hearing was set for March 26.
-With reporting from Weekly wire services. Got news? Email us.