Thursday, May 19, 2022

Prosecutor to Reinvestigate 2009 Police Killing of Oscar Grant


*Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley announced Monday that a team of lawyers will re-examine the Oscar Grant case after his family called for new charges.

Grant’s fatal shooting by a BART transit officer in 2009 was among the first to be captured on a cellphone video and shared on social media.

His killing “greatly impacted the county and the state,” O’Malley said, noting Grant’s family’s request to revisit the case, NBC News reports. 

“I have assigned a team of lawyers to look back into the circumstances that caused the death of Oscar Grant,” she said. “We will evaluate the evidence and the law, including the applicable law at the time and the statute of limitations, and make a determination.”

Grant’s family is requesting a reexamining of the killing “in the wake of renewed international attention to the murders of Black men, women, children, and most notably the recent torturous killing of George Floyd.”

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“We have listened closely to the requests of the family of Oscar Grant,” O’Malley’s statement read. “The murder of Oscar Grant greatly impacted the county and the state. My Office conducted the intensive investigation that led to the prosecution of BART Officer Johannes Mehserle for the crime of Murder. The trial occurred in Los Angeles due to a change of venue ordered by the court on the motion of the defense.

“Unfortunately, the Los Angeles jury only found Officer Mehserle guilty of Involuntary Manslaughter,” the statement continued. “We are re-opening our investigation. I have assigned a team of lawyers to look back into the circumstances that caused the death of Oscar Grant. We will evaluate the evidence and the law, including the applicable law at the time and the statute of limitations and make a determination.”

A 2009 report on the case noted that the officer who knelt on Grant’s back and pinned him to the ground, “started a cascade of events that ultimately led to the shooting of Grant.”

The report argued “(o)fficer Pirone’s overly aggressive and unreasonable actions and conduct in violation of policy and acceptable standards contributed substantially to the escalation of the hostile and volatile atmosphere during the course of the incident.”

Grant, a 22-year-old Black man, was shot on a train platform in Oakland on Jan. 1, 2009. The white transit officer who killed him, Johannes Mehserle, was ultimately convicted him of involuntary manslaughter, and released from prison after 11 months.

BART settled a wrongful death claim with Grant’s daughter and mother for $2.8 million in 2011.

“We’re not holding our breath, but we definitely will be praying that she sees the truth in this issue,” said Bobby Johnson, Oscar Grant’s uncle, after O’Malley’s announcement.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.

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