Oscar Grant police shooting investigation will be reopened 10 years later

The officer who killed Grant in 2009 was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and served only 11 months.

Loading the player...

The investigation into the 2009 shooting death of Oscar Grant will be reopened nearly 11 years after he was shot by a Bay Area Rapid Transit cop. 

Grant’s killing, on New Year’s Day at Fruitvale Station in Oakland, sparked national outrage. The incident was the centerpiece of the acclaimed Fruitvale Station, the 2013 film written and directed by Oakland native Ryan Coogler and starring Michael B. Jordan.

This January 2009 photo shows protesters with signs picturing slain 22-year-old Oscar Grant III, who was shot in the back by a Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer as he lay face down on the ground, during a demonstration at Oakland City Hall. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The Grant family was holding a press conference Monday at the station when Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley issued a statement that announced she had “assigned a team of lawyers to look back into the circumstances that caused the death of Oscar Grant.” 

Grant’s family pointed out that the circumstances surrounding the 22-year-old’s death were similar to that of George Floyd in Minneapolis, who died after an officer pressed a knee to his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. 

Read More: Ohio woman calls police on Black man loading groceries into his own car

The BART officer who shot Grant, Johannes Mehserle, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and served a mere 11 months in prison. The Grant family is demanding charges against another officer, Anthony Pirone, who was the first officer to arrive on the platform the night of the shooting. They allege that Pirone created “the climate of violence” by pinning Grant down with a knee to his neck, swearing at him and using racial expletives. 

Pirone was terminated following an internal investigation into Grant’s shooting. 

Read More: Bodycam footage of police dog mauling Black man released

“We’re not holding our breath,” the slain man’s uncle, Cephus X Johnson, said about O’Malley’s announcement to The Mercury News. “But we definitely will be praying that she sees the truth in this issue.”

“We have listened closely to the requests of the family of Oscar Grant,” O’Malley said in her written statement. “The murder of Oscar Grant greatly impacted the county and the state.”

During Monday’s press conference, Grant’s mother, Wanda Jackson, said the family should not have to wait another 11 years. “Justice delayed,” she said, “is justice denied.”

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s “Dear Culture” podcast? Download our newest episodes now!
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku. Download theGrio.today!

Loading the player...

Share