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Jury deliberations continue in Oakland murder trial

By the CNN Wire Staff
Oakland residents demand justice at a March rally honoring Oscar Grant.
Oakland residents demand justice at a March rally honoring Oscar Grant.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Jury deliberations to continue Wednesday
  • Oakland police and mayor are warning people to be peaceful
  • A former police officer is accused of shooting unarmed man

San Francisco, California (CNN) -- The fate of a former police officer could be decided Wednesday as a jury resumes deliberations in a racially charged California trial.

The officer who is white is accused of killing an unarmed black man in Oakland, California.

Jury deliberation were postponed Tuesday because of a sick juror and the court was on vacation Monday.

Jurors deliberated for nearly three hours Friday afternoon without reaching a verdict in the case against Johannes Mehserle.

Mehserle, a former Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer, is accused of shooting 22- year-old Oscar Grant dead on a California train platform on January 1, 2009.

The jurors will resume their deliberations Tuesday morning; court is closed Monday due to the extended holiday weekend. Closing arguments concluded earlier in the day Friday.

Video: Verdict near for racially charged trial
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Mehserle could be found not guilty, guilty of murder, or guilty of a lesser offense like manslaughter.

The shooting was captured on a bystander's cell-phone video camera. The video was widely circulated on the internet and on news broadcasts, and it spurred several protests and riots in and around Oakland.

The trial was moved from Alameda County to Los Angeles due to pre-trial publicity.

Bay Area Rapid Transit police were called to Oakland's Fruitvale station on January 1 after passengers complained about fights on a train. Officers pulled several men, including Grant, off the train when it arrived at Fruitvale.

The video showed Mehserle pulling his gun and fatally shooting Grant in the back as another officer kneeled on the unarmed man. Mehserle has said at the trial that he intended to draw and fire his Taser rather than his gun, CNN affiliate KTVU eported.

Mehserle resigned his position a few days after the incident and was later arrested in Nevada. He was released on a $3 million bond.

Meanwhile, police in Oakland are bracing for riots as a verdict nears in the racially charged trial.

An Oakland police department website has messages from the police chief and the mayor of Oakland warning people to stay calm.

"We anticipate that regardless of the verdict reached by the jury, demonstrations could occur in downtown Oakland, and potentially throughout the city," one of the messages said. "We will not tolerate destruction or violence. We live here, and we love Oakland. We understand that the community is grieving, and we are in this together. We will get through this together."

Grant's family filed a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit against the officers involved in the incident.

In January, the transit system agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle the suit. The money will provide financial support to Grant's young daughter.

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