Ear Hustle

Settlements Reached In the Oscar Grant (Fruitvale) BART Case

It’s truly amazing that I run across this story as I finally watched Fruitvale Station.  I am apprehensive about watching movies that involve blacks particularly young black men who lose their lives at the hands of the very same law enforcement personnel who have taken an oath to protect and serve.  Living in a major metropolitan city and having birthed 3 children who are now young adults I always remind them even now to be on your best behavior and respect authority figures.  I also tell them that no matter what you may have done in the past there is ALWAYS room for forgiveness and redemption.  Oscar Grant from what I read about him and the incident; he may have had a rocky past but that does not mean he deserved what happened to him.  That being said I am elated to report that a settlement has been reached in the lawsuit against BART and the officers.  Truthfully speaking the amount settled was most definitely not enough.

Check out the story as reported by ABC News:

Friends of Oscar Grant Reach Settlement With BART

Five friends of Oscar Grant, the man who was fatally shot by a San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer, have reached a deal to settle a federal lawsuit against the agency, officials said.

Jack Bryson Jr., Nigel Bryson, Michael Greer, Carlos Reyes and Fernando Anicete Jr. will split $175,000 as part of the settlement reached late last month, their attorney John Burris said Tuesday.

The BART board approved the settlement May 8, BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said Wednesday.

The men filed a federal civil rights lawsuit for $1.5 million in 2009 claiming excessive force and illegal detainment.

Burris said Tuesday that the men are relieved the case is over.

“This closes a very traumatic and tragic chapter for these young men,” he said. “Unfortunately, they will never get over witnessing their friend’s death.”

Trost said the settlement closes the case for a “considerably smaller amount compared to what would have been a long and costly trial if allowed to move forward.”

The five men were detained on BART’s Fruitvale Station platform in Oakland along with Grant, who was shot and killed by then-BART police officer Johannes Mehserle.

The New Year’s Day 2009 shooting was recorded by bystanders and within hours posted online showing Mehserle, who is white, firing a bullet into the back of Grant, who was black, as he lay face-down after being pulled off a train supposedly for fighting.

Mehserle tearfully testified he meant to use his stun gun instead of his .40-caliber pistol. But the shooting sparked debate, racial tensions and protests that occasionally turned violent.

Mehserle was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

The shooting and the last day of Grant’s life were depicted in the movie, “Fruitvale Station.” The film won both jury and audience awards at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.

fruitvale

Grant’s mother, Wanda Johnson, and Grant’s young daughter, Tatiana, also received financial settlements from BART totaling $2.8 million as a result of the shooting.

The shooting also led to major reforms within the 200-member BART police department. An independent auditor reported last year that the department had since made significant progress.

Source: ABC NEWS

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