Family of Oscar Grant fights to get Fruitvale Station renamed in his honor

January 1 will mark the 10th anniversary of the killing of Oscar Grant on the platform of the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland.

Grant’s family is asking to have the station renamed in honor of their fallen son. Wanda Johnson, Oscar’s mother, said that while BART officials have commissioned a mural honoring her son but they have declined to consider renaming the station “Oscar Grant Fruitvale.”

“It would be an atonement, it would be part of BART saying yes this happened here, we vow that it won’t happen again and we vow to work with the communities and ensure that all people are treated equally,” Johnson told San Francisco ABC affiliate KGO.

 

BART officials say that the name change will not be happening due to the transit authority’s policy.

“Our policy is stations cannot be named after individuals, it has to be tied to a location,” BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said. “What we are doing, and we are working closely with the family, is BART has commissioned a mural and it’s going to go up at the Fruitvale station. It’s going to honor Oscar Grant.”

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Grant was killed on New Year’s Day 2009 when officers responding to reports of a fight on a crowded train returning from San Francisco. Two officers, including Johannes Mehserle, forced the unarmed Grant to lie face down on the Fruitvale platform.

Mehserle then drew his pistol and shot the handcuffed Grant in the back. Grant was rushed to Highland Hospital in Oakland and was later pronounced dead later. The killing was captured on multiple cameras and it quickly became viral.

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In July 2010, Mehserle was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter but not guilty of the murder charge and voluntary manslaughter. Mehserle was sentenced to two years, minus time served.

He served his time in the Los Angeles County Jail in protective custody and was released under parole after serving 11 months. Grant’s family filed a $25 million lawsuit and BART settled with Grant’s daughter and mother for a total of $2.8 million in 2011.

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