*A former San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer testified Friday that he mistakenly pulled out his pistol instead of a stun gun when he shot and killed an unarmed black man who was lying face down on an Oakland train platform.
In an emotional courtroom session marked by a spectator’s outburst, Johannes Mehserle broke down in tears as he told jurors in his murder trial that he heard a pop and thought the Taser had malfunctioned.
“I remember the pop that wasn’t very loud. It wasn’t like a gunshot. I remember wondering what went wrong with the Taser. I thought it malfunctioned,” he said.
Mehserle, who previously testified that earlier in the incident he had pulled out his Taser twice, said he only thought of using the stun weapon.
“It was the only option that crossed my mind,” he said. “Given the situation, the backdrop, the thought of using my gun never entered my head.”
Mehserle, who is white, has pleaded not guilty to murdering 22-year-old Oscar Grant on New Year’s Day 2009. The trial was moved to Los Angeles from Alameda County because of intense media coverage and racial tensions. Mehserle resigned shortly after the shooting.
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