Update @ 7:16 PM ET: Thanks to commenter SomeRandomCitizen for transcribing the letter for us. Scroll down past the image to get it. And, hey, SomeRandomCitizen, here’s hoping you’ll be less random and more regular in the ColorLines community. We love a team effort around here.
Johannes Mehserle, the ex-BART cop who was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter Thursday afternoon, made a public statement via a handwritten letter that was released today.
Mehserle explained why he never reached out to the Grant family to apologize after he shot Oscar Grant in the back while lay facedown on a BART train platform on New Year’s Day 2009. He also recounts his thoughts in the moments immediately after he shot Grant, saying that he felt “sick when Mr. Grant stopped talking, closed his eyes and seemed to change his breathing.”
From the San Jose Mercury News:
TRANSCRIPTION OF THE LETTER:
July 4, 2010
Mike — Please try to get this message to the public:
I don’t know what the jury in this case is going to decide, but I hope those who hate me and those who understand that I never intended to shoot Oscar Grant will listen to this message.
I have and will continue to live every day of my life knowing Mr. Grant should not have been shot. I know a daughter has lost a father and a mother has lost a son. It saddens me to know my actions cost Mr. Grant his life, no words can express how truly sorry I am.
I hoped to talk to Ms. Johnson and Ms. Mesa in the days following this terrible event, but death threats toward my newly-born son, my friends and family resulted in no communication occuring [sic]. I hope the day will come when anger will give way to a dialogue.
For now, and forever I will live, breathe, sleep, and not sleep with the memory of Mr. Grant screaming “You shot me” and me putting my hands on the bullet wound thinking the pressure would help while I kept telling him “You’ll be okay.” I tried to tell myself that maybe this shot will not be so serious, but I recall how sick I felt when Mr. Grant stopped talking, closed his eyes and seemed to change his breathing.
I don’t expect I can convince some individuals how sorry I am for the death of Mr. Grant, but I would not feel right if I didn’t explain my thoughts as I wait for a decision by the jury.
-Johannes Mehserle 7-4-2010