The mother of the young daughter of Oscar Grant III has reached a $1.5 million settlement with BART in the fatal shooting of the Hayward man on New Year’s Day 2009.
A $50 million lawsuit had been filed by the family stemming from the incident in which then-Officer Johannes Mehserle shot Grant on the platform of the Fruitvale station in the early hours of the new year.
“It’s been a little over a year since we experienced the tragic death of Oscar Grant,” BART board President James Fang said in a released statement announcing the settlement. “No matter what anyone’s opinion of the case may be, the sad fact remains, this incident has left Tatiana without a father.
“The $1.5 million settlement will provide financial support for her. A federal judge oversaw the settlement proceedings and the structure of the settlement will still need to be approved by the court. While these proceedings have been taking place, we on the BART board have been taking the actions needed to improve the BART Police Department to ensure our officers are better trained and better equipped to keep our customers safe.”
Mehserle is currently awaiting trial in Los Angeles for murder. The trial was moved from Alameda County to Southern California after a judge determined that a fair-minded jury could not be selected due to the massive publicity of the incident and the ensuing protests, some of which turned violent.
The incident was caught on cell phone cameras and other portable recording devices by many onlookers who were still on a BART train.
Mehserle’s defense attorney claims the officer, who soon after the event resigned from the BART police force, intended to pull his Taser, but mistakenly drew his gun.
Currently, legislation to create better oversight of the BART Police Department is being considered in Sacramento. State Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, D-Oakland, saw his bill — which would create an Office of Independent Police Auditor — pass 56-0. It is now headed to the state Senate.