OAKLAND — Former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle was freed from jail Friday on $3 million bail, according to the Alameda County Sheriff's Office.
About 3:45 p.m., Mehserle was escorted from Santa Rita Jail in Dublin by the bondsman who posted a bond, said Sgt J.D. Nelson, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Office.
Mehserle — accused of murder in the Jan. 1 shooting of an unarmed, prone Oscar Grant III, of Hayward, at Oakland's Fruitvale BART station — was released a week after Alameda County Superior Court Judge Morris Jacobson set the bail amount.
It remains unclear how Mehserle's family was able to generate the cash needed for the bail. Nelson said Mehserle used the services of a bail bonds company but did not know the details of the agreement.
Typically, defendants using bail bonds companies must pay 10 percent of their bail in addition to having collateral worth the same as the bail.
Mehserle's release sparked anger among protesters who gathered in Oakland on Friday and on several previous occasions to voice their outrage over Grant's death and the granting of bail in the case. One such protest occurred Jan. 30, when Jacobson set the bail amount.
Jacobson ruled that bail was permissible because Mehserle did not pose an immediate danger to society, had not made threats against others and was not charged with a capital murder, the only three requirements necessary under the state constitution for a defendant to be denied bail.
But, Jacobson said, because Mehserle is considered a flight risk, he set the amount at $3 million to ensure the defendant does not flee the country in an attempt to avoid a trial. Mehserle was arrested in Nevada on Jan. 13.
Although Jacobson said he was forced to set bail, many disagreed with the ruling. They said bail should have been set higher, or not at all, arguing that the former police officer is a threat to society.
John Burris, who is suing BART and Mehserle for wrongful death on behalf of Grant's family, said Friday that the only aspect that surprised him was that it took a week for Mehserle to post bail.
"I nor the family are surprised that bail has been met," he said. "We thought it should be no bail. We certainly believed whatever the amount of bail set he could meet it because of family friends and police associations."
Burris said Jacobson should have found Mehserle to be a danger to society because the former officer showed a lack of being able to control his temperament when he shot Grant in the back as he lay on his stomach.
"I don't care if he was a police officer or not. To kill someone the way he did shows temperament problems, and that poses a danger to society," Burris said. "Obviously, he couldn't control his emotions. Otherwise, he would not have done what he did.
"He has a mental state of a person who is a danger to society," Burris added.
Mehserle's attorney, Michael Rains, did not return phone calls seeking comment.