December 3, 2010 / 11:57 PM / 9 years ago

Ex-policeman loses bid to go free in manslaughter case

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A white ex-policeman who was sentenced to two years in prison for shooting a black man to death on an Oakland train platform in 2009 lost a bid on Friday to remain free on bail pending his appeal.

Former transit officer Johannes Mehserle’s conviction for involuntary manslaughter, instead of murder, in the racially-charged case triggered a wave of looting and destruction in Oakland in July. His two-year sentence touched off more angry protests in November.

Mehserle plans an appeal of his conviction and his attorney had asked a judge to release him while it was being considered.

That request was rejected on Monday by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Perry.

Mehserle testified at trial he mistakenly drew his gun instead of his electric Taser when he shot 22-year-old Oscar Grant to death while trying to subdue him during a January, 2009 scuffle at a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) rail station.

The jury found him guilty of involuntary manslaughter, meaning they thought he lacked intent to kill but nevertheless engaged in conduct so grossly negligent that he should be held criminally responsible.

The killing outraged members of Oakland’s black community, who said it was police brutality and racist. They called the verdict and sentence too lenient.

Writing by Dan Whitcomb, Editing by Greg McCune

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