The case of Oscar Grant, who was fatally shot by transit officers in Oakland, California, will be reopened a little over a decade later.
Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley announced Monday (October 5) that the case will be reopened after demands made by the Grant family.
“We have listened closely to the requests of the family of Oscar Grant,” O’Malley said. “The murder of Oscar Grant greatly impacted the county and the state. 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.”
Grant was shot in the back by Johannes Mehserle, a white transit officer who reportedly thought he shot at Grant with a taser while on a train platform in Oakland on New Year’s Day of 2009. Mehserle was charged with murder but was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and served an 11-month prison sentence before his release in June 2011.
Grant’s family compared Grant’s death to George Floyd, who shrieked “I cannot breathe” when officer Derek Chauvin jammed his knee into Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Floyd died as bystanders watched on while recording.
In Grant’s case, officer Anthony Pirone arrived on the scene and pinned him down with a knee to his neck.
Pirone reportedly used profanity and racial slurs when speaking to Grant and his friends and allegedly punched Grant in the face before kneeing him. When Grant got up, he put his hands behind his back as instructed and was shot in the back by Mehserle. Pirone said Grant attempted to fight him, but video shows he was compliant with officers.
Pirone was terminated, however, he was not criminally charged. Prosecutors in the case said they “ran out of money” to take action. Grant’s family is calling for Pirone to be indicted on felony murder charges.
“We are hopeful that Nancy O’Malley and her team will do the right thing, and the right thing is to convict Pirone for his actions in causing my son to lose his life and be killed,” said Grant’s mother, Wanda Johnson. “Justice delayed is justice denied. We should not have to wait another 11 years…We were told then that it should happen, and it should happen now.”
Grant died at Fruitvale Station, which was made popular by Michael B. Jordan’s portrayal in the movie Fruitvale Station.
Photo: Getty Images