California Prosecutor Will Reinvestigate Killing of Oscar Grant, Black Man by Transit Officer 11 Years Ago

Aidge Patterson of the LA Coalition for Justice for Oscar Grant leads a protest rally outside a pretrial hearing for Johannes Mehserle, the former Bay Area Rapid Transit officer charged with murder in the shooting death of Grant in Oakland, California, at the Criminal Courts Building in Los Angeles on March 26, 2010.
A protest rally is held outside a pretrial hearing for Johannes Mehserle, the former Bay Area Rapid Transit officer who was charged with murder in the shooting death of Oscar Grant in Oakland, California, at the Criminal Courts Building in Los Angeles on March 26, 2010. Getty Images

Oscar Grant was 22-years-old when he was killed at a train station in Northern California over 11 years ago, and now a prosecutor announced Monday that she will reopen the investigation, according to Mercury News of San Jose. Grant was shot in the back by Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Officer Johannes Mehserle on New Years Day in 2009 and Mehserle was charged with murder. But a Los Angeles County jury only found him guilty of involuntary manslaughter –– resulting in an 11-month sentence, the District Attorney's office wrote in a statement.

The announcement from the District Attorney's office comes hours after a public announcement made by Grant's family who held a news conference Monday at the train station where he was killed. The family called on Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley to investigate the role of another officer that was present during the incident, the Mercury News of San Jose reported.

Mehserle claimed he mistakenly grabbed his gun in place of his Taser, ABC reported. Grant's family is requesting that former officer, Anthony Pirone, who allegedly pinned Grant down with a knee to his neck have charged filed against him, the report said. In a deposition, Pirone told civil rights attorney John Burris, who represented Grant’s family in a civil case, that he had used force because Grant took a swing at him after refusing orders to stay seated and was swearing at him.

“We have listened closely to the requests of the family of Oscar Grant. The murder of Oscar Grant greatly impacted the county and the state.  My Office conducted the intensive investigation that led to the prosecution of BART Officer Johannes Mehserle for the crime of Murder," District Attorney O’Malley said in a statement to Inside Edition Digital. 

In the statement, O'Malley said that she has assigned a team of lawyers to look back into the circumstances that caused Oscar Grant's death.

"We will evaluate the evidence and the law, including the applicable law at the time and the statute of limitations and make a determination.” 

Pirone was later fired for his role in the incident as well as contradictory statements he made, which did not match up with video surveillance and other officers' and witnesses' accounts of the night of the killing, according to ABC. Pirone apparently disregarded his training and rushed through the initial investigation which started a "cascade of events that untimely led to the shooting of Grant," the report said.

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