OAKLAND, Calif. – The former California transit officer charged with fatally shooting an unarmed man was freed Friday on $3 million bail as protesters gathered outside City Hall railed against his release.
Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, according to Alameda County Sheriff’s Sgt. J.D. Nelson. He had been in custody since his Jan. 13 arrest., 27, was released from
Mehserle has pleaded not guilty to one count of murder in the Jan. 1 shooting of Oscar Grant on an Oakland train platform.
Prosecutors said Mehserle shot Grant, 22, in the back while the man lay facedown and restrained on the ground. Mehserle’s lawyer said his client may have mistakenly pulled his pistol instead of a stun gun.
The shooting, caught on cell phone cameras and broadcast on TV and the Internet, has sparked numerous protests against the former, including several that resulted in arrests for arson and vandalism.
Protesters outside Mehserle’s bail hearing last week had demanded that he remain jailed. Judge Morris Jacobson had said he set bail at a high amount in part because the former officer fled to Nevada during the initial investigation.
Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums called on protesters outside City Hall on Friday to remain peaceful. About 150 of them had gathered when Mehserle’s release was announced.
“We must treat each other and our city with respect and dignity while the outcome of this case is determined by judge and jury,” Dellums said in a statement.
John Burris, who is representing Grant’s family in a $25 million wrongful-death claim against BART, urged the public to “not create any social unrest as a consequence of this.”
“The family wants peace and the process to flow in the normal course of events,” he said.
As a condition of release, Mehserle was ordered to surrender all weapons.
It’s unclear where Mehserle was headed after posting bail. His attorney, Michael Rains, did not immediately return a call.
The judge has imposed a temporary gag order in the case until the next hearing, set for Feb. 13.
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