02-19-2017  1:09 pm      •     

LOS ANGELES -- The fiancee of an unarmed Black man fatally shot by a Bay Area transit police officer last year testified Monday that her boyfriend told her he was being beaten by officers moments before he was killed.
Sophina Mesa, 26, told jurors in Los Angeles that she was unable to get hold of Oscar Grant on her cell phone after she went downstairs and exited the train station in Oakland on New Year's Day 2009. She managed to reach him during a second attempt in which she described Grant, 22, as "scared."
"He picked up my call and he said, real fast, 'They are beating us up for no reason,'" Mesa recalled Grant saying to her. Unable to respond to him because of the quick phone call, she tried again to reach Grant for a third time but was unsuccessful.
Mesa said she then heard a loud gunshot and minutes later saw Grant, who is the father of her 6-year-old daughter, Tatiana, being taken away in an ambulance. Grant was taken to a nearby hospital where he died.
Grant was shot by then-officer Johannes Mehserle, who has pleaded not guilty to murder. Mehserle, who is white, was among several BART officers who were called when Grant became involved in an altercation aboard the train that arrived at the Fruitvale station.
Defense attorney Michael Rains has maintained Mehserle meant to pull out his Taser stun gun instead of his .40-caliber handgun when he shot Grant. Prosecutors believe Mehserle did intend to shoot Grant and that he used his weapon because officers were losing control of the situation.
Mesa also said Grant told her that he had been hit with a stun gun before on several occasions, recalling one instance where he was hurt after he hit his head.
"He wouldn't want it to happen to him again," said Mesa, who settled for $1.5 million with BART as part of a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit against the agency and several employees.
Mesa was likely referring to an incident in October 2006 when police say Grant ran away from them during a traffic stop. He was shot with a stun gun and resisted arrest as officers tried to handcuff him, authorities said. He was later sentenced to 16 months in state prison on a gun possession charge after police found a .380 pistol near where Grant was arrested.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Perry granted a defense motion earlier this month to allow the incident as part of evidence in Mehserle's trial.
The trial was moved from Alameda County to Los Angeles due to widespread media coverage and racial tensions sparked by the case.
On cross-examination, Rains tried to show jurors that Mesa may have been less than truthful about her recollection of the events. He said cell phone records showed two calls made from Mesa to Grant right before the shooting that lasted 37 seconds and 16 seconds.
Also Monday, Dr. Alden Harken, chief of surgery at Alameda County Medical Center, testified how he and others tried to save Grant, who was breathing and had a pulse when he arrived at the hospital.
Grant suffered massive internal bleeding from the bullet that entered just left of his spine and ended up near his right collarbone. The projectile was taken out of a sealed manilla envelope in court but remained in a cup in a plastic bag.
"He continued to ooze from every place," Harken said of Grant's blood loss. "He succumbed three to four hours later."
Mesa, who cried briefly during her testimony, said the couple's daughter seemed upset the night of the shooting and Grant had made plans with her while Mesa was at work on New Year's Day.
"She asked him not to leave her," Mesa said of her daughter. "He told her, 'I promise to take you and any one of your cousins to Chuck E. Cheese.'"

Recently Published by The Skanner News

  • Default
  • Title
  • Date
  • Random
  • WASHINGTON (AP) — One month after the inauguration, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Donald Trump's White House still is a hard-hat zone. Skeletal remains of the inaugural reviewing stands poke skyward. Random piles of plywood and cables are heaped on the ground inside crooked lines of metal fencing. The disarray outside the president's front door, though not his fault, serves as a metaphor for the tumult still unfolding inside. Four weeks in, the man who says he inherited "a mess" at home and abroad is presiding over a White House that is widely described as itself being a mess. At a stunning pace, Trump has riled world leaders and frustrated allies. He was dealt a bruising legal blow on one of his signature policies. He lost his national security adviser and his pick for labor secretary to scandal. He's seen forces within his government push back against his policies and leak confidential information. All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. "I can't believe there's actually a politician doing what he says he would do," says an approving Scott Hiltgen, a 66-year-old office furniture sales broker from River Falls, Wisconsin. "That never happens." Disrupt Trump has. But there may be more sound and fury than substance to many of his early actions. Trump did select Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a nomination that has drawn strong reviews from conservatives. But the president is regrouping on immigration after federal judges blocked his order to suspend the United States' refugee program and ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, which had caused chaos for travelers around the globe. Some other orders on issues such as the U.S.-Mexico border wall and former President Barack Obama's health care law are of limited effect. Trump says his early actions show he means to deliver on the promises he made during the campaign. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, oh, Trump was only kidding with the wall,'" the president told a group of police chiefs recently. "I wasn't kidding. I don't kid." But the Republican-led Congress is still waiting to see specifics on how Trump wants to proceed legislatively on top initiatives such as replacing the health care law, enacting tax cuts and revising trade deals. The messy rollout of the travel ban and tumult over the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn for misrepresenting his contacts with Russia are part of a broader state of disarray as different figures in Trump's White House jockey for power and leaks reveal internal discord in the machinations of the presidency. "I thought by now you'd at least hear the outlines of domestic legislation like tax cuts," says Princeton historian Julian Zelizer. "But a lot of that has slowed. Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. At his long and defiant news conference on Thursday, Trump tried to dispel the impression of a White House in crisis, squarely blaming the press for keeping him from moving forward more decisively on his agenda. Pointing to his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, Trump said, "You take a look at Reince, he's working so hard just putting out fires that are fake fires. I mean, they're fake. They're not true. And isn't that a shame because he'd rather be working on health care, he'd rather be working on tax reform." For all the frustrations of his early days as president, Trump still seems tickled by the trappings of his office. When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visited the White House last week to discuss the national opioid epidemic over lunch, the governor said Trump informed him: "Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf.'" Trump added: "I'm telling you, the meatloaf is fabulous." ___Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nbenac
    Read More
  • FDR executive order sent 120,000 Japanese immigrants and citizens into camps
    Read More
  • Pruitt's nomination was strongly opposed by environmental groups and hundreds of former EPA employees
    Read More
load morehold SHIFT key to load allload all