The case of Oscar Grant, made popular by Michael B. Jordan’s portrayal in Fruitvale Station, will be reopened roughly a decade after he was fatally shot at the hands of transit officers in Oakland, California.
Alameda County’s District Attorney Nancy O’Malley announced the news on Monday (Oct. 5) in response to demands from the Grant family.
“We have listened closely to the requests of the family of Oscar Grant,” she 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.”
On New Year’s Day of 2009, while on a train platform in Oakland, Grant was shot in the back by Johannes Mehserle, a white transit officer who reportedly thought he fired at Grant with a taser. He was charged with murder, convicted of involuntary manslaughter and served an 11-month prison sentence before his release in June 2011.
According to the Associated Press, Pirone used profanity and racial slurs when speaking to Grant and his friends and allegedly punched Grant in the face prior to kneeing him. When he got up, Grant put his hands behind his back as instructed and was shot in the back by Mehserle. Pirone said that Grant attempted to fight him, but video shows he was compliant with officers.
Pirone was terminated, but not criminally charged as prosecutors reportedly “ran out of money” to take action. Grant’s family is now calling for him 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,” Grant’s mother, Wanda Johnson said.
“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.”
Much like the fatal shootings of Floyd and other recently slain victims in modern day, videos of Grant killing were posted on social media, sparking nationwide protests and calls for racial equality.