Alameda County district attorney Nancy O’Malley announced today that they are reopening the investigation of the 2009 shooting of Oscar Grant, who was killed on New Year’s Day by Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police officer Johannes Mehserle at the Fruitvale Station in Oakland, Calif. The case was the subject in Ryan Coogler’s 2013 film Fruitvale Station.
Mehserle claimed he grabbed his gun instead of his taser. He was charged with murder but an L.A. County jury found him with involuntary manslaughter and he only served 11 months.
According to the Associated Press and the San Jose Mercury, the news was made after Grant’s family asked O’Malley to investigate the role of Officer Anthony Pirone in his death. Grant’s family said that they wanted charges filed against the former officer who pinned Grant down with a knee to his neck. A 2009 BART police internal investigation report released last year concluded that Pirone was significant to Grant’s shooting. Pirone was fired for statements that did not align with video surveillance and witness accounts.
This is all too familiar as it was the same manner in which George Floyd was treated by Minneapolis police officers. As a result, Floyd died and has since caused a worldwide Black Lives Matter movement against social injustice and a call to defund the police.
The case gained even more notoriety from the aforementioned Fruitvale Station which was released on July 12, 2013 and starred Michael B. Jordan as Oscar Grant. The film also starred Octavia Spencer, Melonie Diaz, Ahna O’Reilly, Kevin Durand and Chad Michael Murray. Fruitvale Station debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013 and won the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for U.S. dramatic film. It was also screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival where it was honored with the award for Best First Film.