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Topic: Oscar Grant

Oscar Julius Grant III, a Hayward resident and father of one, was shot and killed by former BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle at the Fruitvale BART station platform in Oakland, California on New Year’s Day 2009.

The incident was videotaped by passengers on board a crowded train carrying New Year’s Eve celebrants returning from San Francisco. The videos were widely disseminated through local television media and online and stirred a strong reaction from local community members who decried the shooting death as unjustified.

Grant, who was 22 years old at the time, was returning to his home in Hayward, California after attending a New Year’s celebration in San Francisco with a group of friends.

According to authorities, Grant and his friends were involved in an argument with another individual on board the Dublin-Pleasanton bound BART train when the train operator summoned law enforcement assistance to remove the parties involved from the crowded car.

Grant and his friends were pulled off the train by BART Police at the Fruitvale BART station in East Oakland. Transit police officers began to arrest Grant and his friends Nigel and Jack Bryson.

In videos obtained by Oakland television station KTVU-TV, one of the first responding BART Police officers, Tony Pirone, appears to strike Grant in the face with either his fist or his forearm to get the man to comply with his orders. Lawyers for the officer argued that he was defending himself after Grant tried to knee Pirone in the groin — a claim not supported by the videos that were aired on KTVU-TV.

Shortly afterward, Mehserle attempted to handcuff Grant and wrestled him to the floor of the platform. Then Mehserle unholstered his service pistol and shot Grant in the back. The bullet entered his body, exited through his torso, and ricocheted off the platform back into Grant’s body.

He died after being transported to Highland Hospital in Oakland.

Lawyers for Mehserle have argued he mistakenly fired his service pistol instead of his Taser. Mehserle now faces a second-degree murder charge for Grant’s shooting death.

Grant’s family retained prominent Oakland civil rights attorney John Burris to seek civil damages against BART from the shooting death. On Jan. 3, 2009, Burris announced that a $25 million claim would be filed on behalf of Grant’s young daughter, Tatiana, the mother of the child, and his mother Wanda Johnson.

Grant, a native East Bay resident, attended schools in Hayward and San Lorenzo before obtaining a GED. He had a checkered criminal past, serving two stints in state prison, including one for leading San Leandro Police on a car chase into his hometown of Hayward. Police discovered a loaded handgun in the car and eventually had to tase Grant to arrest him.

But Grant was turning his life around, family members said. He was employed as a butcher at Farmer Joe’s Marketplace in Oakland’s Dimond District at the time of his death. He had previously worked jobs in fast food in San Leandro and San Lorenzo.

An overflow crowd of mourners attended Grant’s funeral on Jan. 7, 2009 at the Palma Ceia Baptist Church in Hayward. He is buried at the Chapel of the Chimes cemetery in Hayward.

Information compiled from Beat research and news services

BART Police Shooting, Oakland »

[By Beat News Service | 29 Nov 2012 | 2 Comments]
Production of the movie "Fruitvale" on July 28, 2012 at an East Bay BART Station. (CALIFORNIA BEAT PHOTO)

A movie about the New Year’s Day 2009 shooting of BART passenger Oscar Grant by a police officer has been selected to compete for best dramatic film in the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, festival organizers announced Wednesday.

“Fruitvale” depicts the hours before Grant’s slaying by BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle at the Fruitvale BART Station in Oakland. The shooting was captured on numerous cameras by witnesses and immediately went viral on the internet.

BART Police Shooting, Oakland »

[By Beat News Service | 17 Apr 2012 | One Comment]
Grant's mother Wanda Johnson reacted angrily to the news that Mehserle was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, not murder. "My son was murdered. He was murdered!" she said. (JENNIFER COURTNEY / CALIFORNIA BEAT)

A movie about the shooting of Oscar Grant, the 22 year-old unarmed Hayward man killed by BART Police in 2009, could begin filming in Northern California this summer, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The entertainment publication said Oscar winner Octavia Spencer and “Chronicle” actor Michael B. Jordan are in negotiations to play the roles of Wanda Johnson, Grant’s mother, and the shooting victim in the production.

BART Police Shooting, San Francisco, The Bay Area, Traffic & Transit »

[By Andrew Leonard | 8 Sep 2011 | No Comments]

A protest at Powell Street BART station Thursday evening led to dozens of arrests and delayed commuters attempting to ride BART.

BART Police in riot gear lined the entrances to the station at approximately 5:30 p.m., denying entrance to the subterranean courtyard and entrance gates of Powell Street station. More than 30 people were detained, including up to a dozen journalists, the Beat has learned.

BART Police Shooting »

[By Beat News Service | 28 Jun 2011 | No Comments]
Wanda Johnson speaks with reporters on Tuesday after the judge in the case called a recess when she sobbed uncontrollably during a witness's testimony. (Tashina Manyak / CALIFORNIA BEAT)

The Bay Area Rapid Transit District reached a settlement Tuesday morning with the mother of Oscar Grant, the 22-year-old unarmed train passenger shot and killed by a former BART police officer in 2009.

As part of the settlement, the District will pay $1.3 million to Wanda Johnson, Grant’s mother, the district announced in a statement.

BART Police Shooting, Cops & Courts, Oakland »

[By Beat News Service | 13 Jun 2011 | 9 Comments]
Cephus Johnson, the uncle of Oscar Grant, plays a phone call from prison officials telling him that Johannes Mehserle has been released outside of the Los Angeles County Men's Jail. (CALIFORNIA BEAT PHOTO)

(6/13) — UPDATE 0720 PDT — LOS ANGELES — Johannes Mehserle, the former Bay Area Rapid Transit Police officer who was caught on video shooting and killing an unarmed train passenger, was released from the Los Angeles County Men’s Jail early Monday morning.

Mehserle left the Downtown Los Angeles facility after serving 11 months behind bars for an involuntary manslaughter conviction for the killing of Hayward resident Oscar Grant.

BART Police Shooting, Oakland »

[By Andrew Leonard | 12 Jun 2011 | 4 Comments]
Oscar Grant's mother speaks during the protest held at Fruitvale BART. (Andrew Leonard / CALIFORNIA BEAT)

An estimated crowd of 200 people chanted, marched and vociferously objected to the pending release of former BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle in Oakland Sunday afternoon.

The crowd gathered at Fruitvale BART Station for a 3 p.m. rally and then marched to 14th and Broadway Sts. in Downtown Oakland — the site of many previous gatherings — for a second protest.

BART Police Shooting, Cops & Courts, Oakland »

[By Andrew Leonard and Beat News Service | 12 Jun 2011 | 10 Comments]
John Burris, the lawyer who represented the Grant family in the civil case against BART, speaks at a protest at Fruitvale BART Station on June 12. (Andrew Leonard/ CALIFORNIA BEAT)

A 3 p.m. protest is being held at Fruitvale BART Station in East Oakland to demonstrate against the release of former BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle on Monday. Mehserle, 29, shot and killed unarmed train passenger Oscar Grant on January 1, 2009 at the transit station.

A march will follow the protest to 14th and Broadway Streets in Downtown Oakland where a 5 p.m. rally will take place.

BART Police Shooting, Oakland »

[By Beat News Service | 10 Jun 2011 | 3 Comments]
A large banner reading "Oakland Says Guilty" was hung from a stoplight in Downtown Oakland during a gathering after the verdict in the Johannes Mehserle trial. (CALIFORNIA BEAT PHOTO)

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said Thursday that her city was prepared to handle possible protests organized in response to the Monday release of former BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle from a Los Angeles County Jail.

In a written statement, Quan said, “Although we expect peaceful gatherings, we do not anticipate nor will we tolerate vandalism or violence. The Oakland Police Department is prepared to respond if personal safety or property are at risk.”

BART Police Shooting »

[By Steven Luo | 10 Jun 2011 | 3 Comments]
Johannes Mehserle

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge has ordered that former BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle, convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting of Oscar Grant New Year’s Day 2009, be released Monday, after serving just over 11 months of his two-year sentence.

“As of June 13, 2011, the defendant’s mandated custody credits will be equal to or exceed the sentence imposed,” Judge Robert Perry wrote in his order, posted to the court’s website Friday. “It is hereby ordered that defendant Johannes Mehserle be released from custody on Monday, June 13, 2011.”

BART Police Shooting, Oakland »

[By Beat News Service | 8 Jun 2011 | 3 Comments]
Johannes Mehserle

Johannes Mehserle, the former BART police officer jailed for fatally shooting and killing an unarmed train passenger at an Oakland station in 2009, will be released on Monday, the Oakland Tribune reported Wednesday evening.

The newspaper quoted family members of Grant who said officials from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation told them that Mehserle was due for release from the Los Angeles County Men’s Jail in Downtown LA after serving a sentence for an involuntary manslaughter charge.