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State attorney general to review second cop’s role in killing of Oscar Grant

State Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office will look into the role that a former transit officer played in Grant’s death.

Oscar Grant mural The Washington Post via Getty Images

California's attorney general announced that his office will conduct its own investigation of a transit officer’s involvement in the 2009 fatal shooting of Oscar Grant, reports the Los Angeles Times.

On Tuesday (Aug. 17), Attorney General Rob Bonta revealed that he will look into the role that former transit officer Anthony Pirone played in Grant’s death. His decision came just months after Nancy O’Malley, Alameda County’s district attorney, decided not to indict Pirone for the shooting. “Transparency is critical to building and maintaining trust between law enforcement and the communities we serve,” Bonta said in a press release. “The California Department of Justice is committed to conducting a thorough, fair, and independent review and will go where the facts lead.”

Back in January, O’Malley’s office found that Pirone could not be charged because he didn't personally kill grant or aid and abet BART Officer Johannes Mehserle in firing the gun. Pirone was caught on cellphone video footage violently pulling Grant from the BART train. He hit him, pinned him to the ground by placing his knee on his neck and also used a racial slur.

An unsealed report of an internal affairs investigation placed a lot of the blame of the shooting on Pirone, saying that his actions “started a cascade of events that ultimately led to the shooting of Grant.”

However, O’Malley did not charge the officer. “Although Pirone’s conduct was aggressive, utterly unprofessional, and disgraceful, it did not rise to the mental state required for murder,” she previously said in a statement.

Grant was fatally shot in 2009 by Mehserle. The officer claimed that he accidentally used his firearm instead of his taser when he shot the 22-year-old Black man in the back as he was handcuffed. Mehserle was later charged with murder, but was convicted of a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter. In 2010, he was sentenced to two years in prison, but was released after only serving 11 months. Grant’s tragic death was later portrayed on the big screen in Ryan Coogler’s 2013 film Fruitvale Station.

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