The former BART officer that shot Oscar Grant at the Oakland Fruitvale BART Station on New Year’s Day was charged with murder.  The conclusion by Oakland police, contained in a legal filing made public Wednesday, contributed to Alameda County prosecutors’ decision to charge Mehserle, 27, with the murder of Oscar Grant.

“After careful analysis of the video, it is clear that both Grant’s hands were behind his back, a position hands are commonly placed in by police officers in order to handcuff individuals,” the police filing said. It concluded that “Grant had been restrained and unarmed when shot.”

It is highly likely that no charges would have been brought against the officer had the incident not been filmed by several BART passengers, posted on YouTube, and ultimately reported on the local news.  In other words, it is likely that this officer would have gotten away with murder as little as 5 years ago, before video capabilities were available on cell phones and digital cameras.

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