Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff made the rare decision to file a murder charge against a police officer for an on-duty incident.
"At this point, what I feel the evidence indicates, is an unlawful killing done by an intentional act and from the evidence we have there's nothing that would mitigate that to something lower than a murder," Orloff said at a news conference. He said he would not speculate on whether the charge would end up being first-degree murder or second-degree murder.
The officer has plead "not guilty" to the charges, as reported by SF Gate:
The former BART police officer who fatally shot an unarmed man early New Year's Day pleaded not guilty Thursday to a murder charge during a brief but tense court hearing, at which his attorney said he planned to seek a bail reduction that could allow his client to be released from jail before trial.
Johannes Mehserle, 27, entered his plea in Alameda County Superior Court in Oakland as about two dozen supporters looked on, including his parents, Todd and Agatha Mehserle. The couple were escorted to court by police officers a day after their Napa neighborhood was evacuated when two suspicious boxes were left on the porch of their home. The boxes turned out to be harmless.
I've seen a few of the videos of the shooting on YouTube and they make it quite clear why the ex-officer is being charged with murder.
We'll see what happens...