Father Sues for Fatal BART Shooting

OAKLAND, Calif. (CN) – The father of a 22-year-old black man who was shot to death by a Bay Area Rapid Transit District police officer says cops used excessive force while arresting him, though he was unarmed, had committed no crime and was cooperating. Oscar Grant Jr. says police rounded up black and Hispanic men after reports of a fight, which had been resolved, and shot his son to death as he lay facedown on the train platform.

     In a federal civil rights complaint, Oscar Grant Jr. says his son, Oscar Grant III, was riding the BART train home on New Year’s Eve 2008 when an “altercation” broke out. Officers met the train when it arrived at the station. The fight already had been settled.
     Nevertheless, Grant says, police arrested young black and Hispanic men regardless of whether they had been involved in the fight.
     Grant says defendant Officer Anthony Pirone pushed his son’s face into the pavement and threatened to Taser him. Grant says his son cried out that Pirone was hurting him and that he had a 4-year-old daughter.
     Defendant Officer Johannes Mehserle then “drew his firearm and pointed it directly at Grant’s back and without justification or provocation fired a single shot from his weapon into Grant’s back as he lay face down on the platform,” according to the complaint.
     The father says that his son’s friends, who were kneeling in handcuffs on the pavement, were told to “shut the fuck up” when they tried to administer first aid, and were “warned that they better be quiet or the officers would not call an ambulance for Grant.”
     Grant says the officers seized witnesses’ cameras and recording devices immediately after the shooting. Grant died hours later at the hospital.
     Grant seeks punitive damages for civil rights violations and wrongful death.
     He is represented by Panos Lagos.

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