A transit agency in the San Francisco Bay area is set to pay $1.3 million to the mother of Oscar Grant, a 22-year old man who was shot and killed by a transit officer in 2009. Grant was unarmed at the time, and the payment is in settlement of a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit that was filed by Grant’s mother, Wanda Johnson.
“No amount of money could replace Oscar. Not one dollar or $100 million,” said Johnson. “My heart feels broken for the loss of my son…
“It didn’t have to be this way.”
Former transit officer Johannes Mehserle, a 29-year old man, was in prison for just one year for the killing. The incident took place on New Year’s Day, 2009. He was released this month.
The shooting of grant was recorded by those who were standing by, and the video was posted on Youtube. The video showed Grant being shot in the back by Mehserle’s bullets as he lay face down on the ground for fighting someone on the train. The officer claimed that he was trying to use his stun gun and reached for his actual gun instead. But there are some who still wonder why he was trying to stun an unarmed man as he lay face first on the ground.
“It’s a stage where we start to bring closure to a tragedy — a tragedy for everyone, the Grant family, the Mehserle family,” said Dale Allen, an attorney for the BART transit authority. “A tragedy that was an accident, a mistake based on a jury verdict. This settlement will hopefully help everyone move on.”
This is the second payment made to Grant’s family. The mother of his 6-year old daughter also received $1.5 million dollars. A federal judge dismissed charges that were filed by Grant’s family against BART.
John Burris, the Grant family attorney, says that the payment of $2.8 million means that there was definitely something going on.
“We have said that we thought that verdict was a miscarriage of justice and the involuntary manslaughter was not a true representation of Mr. Mehserle’s conduct,” Burris said. “He got away with it.”