Minutes before he was killed, Oscar Grant used his sister’s cell phone to take a photo of BART cop Johannes Mehserle holding and pointing his Taser at him, Bay Area ABC affiliate KGO reported yesterday. The prosecution said yesterday that it would introduce the photo as evidence after Judge Robert Perry allowed Grant’s girlfriend Sophina Mesa to testify, against the wishes of Mehserle’s defense.
Deputy District Attorney David Stein said the photo would show that Mehserle knew where his gun and Taser were both being kept, that he must have “re-holstered his Taser, then taken out his firearm” to kill Grant. The photo could seriously damage the defense’s claim that Mehserle accidentally pulled his gun when he meant to reach for his Taser.
Mehserle’s attorney Michael Rains said yesterday in court that Mehserle had used his Taser to get Grant on the ground before he shot him.
Yesterday, Judge Robert Perry also ruled that an exchange between BART cop Tony Pirone and Oscar Grant may be introduced during the trial. Mehserle’s defense had filed a motion to keep the exchange out of trial. Video captured Grant calling Pirone a racial profanity and Pirone threw the words back at him repeatedly. Pirone can also be seen on the video striking Grant in his face before he was pulled away from his companions and ordered to lay face down on the BART platform, where Mehserle shot him.
Mehserle has been charged with second-degree murder. Opening statements are scheduled to begin today.