Shareholder Dale Allen Obtains Defense Verdict for Johannes Mehserle and Four Other BART Police Officers


On December 1, 2011, Low, Ball & Lynch shareholder DALE L. ALLEN, JR., and associate DIRK LARSEN obtained a defense verdict for five Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police officers, including Johannes Mehserle, who is widely known for his involvement in the Oscar Grant incident of January 1, 2009. While Mr. Allen also represents BART in the civil suit arising out of the Oscar Grant incident, the December defense verdict arose out of an entirely separately incident that took place six weeks before.

On the night of November 15, 2008, BART officers were detailed to the Coliseum BART Station to ensure the safety of patrons attending a concert at the Oakland Coliseum. The plaintiff, a building engineer, alleged that after he criticized BART police officers at the station for being lazy and incompetent, Officer Mehserle grabbed him from behind and took him to the ground using a leg sweep. The plaintiff alleged that four other BART officers jumped in and “piled on” top of him, kicked and punched him, hog-tied him, and carried him by the strap of the hog-tie to a police car.

The plaintiff retained counsel and came forward with his allegations against Mehserle and the other officers after Mehserle’s name became public as the officer involved in the shooting. While the district attorney originally charged the plaintiff with resisting arrest, those charges were dropped after Mehserle was charged with murder by the same district attorney.

The plaintiff sued BART and the officers in federal court, alleging that the defendants retaliated against him for exercising his First Amendment right to criticize the police, arrested and prosecuted him without having a valid basis to do so, and used excessive force and battered him during the arrest. Plaintiff claimed that the defendants never informed him that he was under arrest, failed to properly document the arrest and force they used, failed to collect video of the incident — as cameras were present the Coliseum Station—and failed to obtain citizen witness statements....

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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