Wanda Jackson stands next to a mural in 2019 at Fruitvale Station of her son Oscar Grant, who was shot and killed by BART police in 2009. (Laura Waxmann/S.F. Examiner)

Wanda Jackson stands next to a mural in 2019 at Fruitvale Station of her son Oscar Grant, who was shot and killed by BART police in 2009. (Laura Waxmann/S.F. Examiner)

BART board members criticize DA decision not to file new charges in Oscar Grant case

Four directors will introduce resolution calling for prosecution of former BART police officer

BART Board members on Tuesday condemned this week’s decision by Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley to not seek charges against a second officer involved in the shooting that killed Oscar Grant III.

Lateefah Simon and Bevan Dufty joined other elected officials in criticizing O’Malley’s decision, calling on her to file felony murder charges against former BART Police Officer Anthony Pirone rather than let him walk free.

“I want to be clear that Nancy O’Malley has failed, yet again, to do her job,” Simon said at a Tuesday morning news conference. “And that job was to ensure equal justice under the law.”

Grant was killed on New Year’s Day in 2009 at the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland, when former BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle shot him while Pirone pinned him to the ground with his knee and repeated a racial slur several times.

Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, and he served 11 months in jail before being released on parole in 2011. Pirone did not face charges.

But a report released to the public more than a decade after it was authored in 2009 alleged Pirone played a larger role than just pinning Grant to the ground, prompting Grant’s family to call on the Alameda County District Attorney to reopen the case and consider pursuing additional charges.

“Officer Pirone’s overly aggressive and unreasonable actions and conduct in violation of policy and acceptable standards contributed substantially to the escalation of the hostile and volatile atmosphere during the course of the incident,” stated the report from former Oakland City Attorney Jayne Williams and then-attorney Kimberly Colwell of the law firm Meyers Nave.

O’Malley reopened the case in October, but on Monday announced she had concluded that although Pirone’s “aggressive conduct contributed to the chaotic nature of what transpired on the BART platform, there was no evidence that Pirone knew in advance that Mehserle was going to shoot Mr. Grant,” according to a report from the district attorney’s office.

Simon and Dufty, along with fellow BART directors Janice Li and Rebecca Saltzman, will push forward Thursday with plans to introduce a resolution to the entire board calling for the prosecution of Pirone.

“The DA could have a change of mind and the BART board should go on record that there cannot be justice until Mr. Pirone is held accountable for his violence and creating the chaos that led to Oscar Grant’s murder,” Dufty said.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

Bay Area NewsCrimepolicesan francisco newsTransit

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

After the pandemic hit, Twin Peaks Boulevard was closed to vehicle traffic, a situation lauded by open space advocates. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
New proposal to partially reopen Twin Peaks to vehicles pleases no one

Neighbors say closure brought crime into residential streets, while advocates seek more open space

Members of the Sheriff’s Department command staff wore masks at a swearing-in ceremony for Assistant Sheriff Tanzanika Carter. One attendee later tested positive. 
Courtesy SFSD
Sheriff sees increase in COVID-19 cases as 3 captains test positive

Command staff among 10 infected members in past week

Rainy weather is expected in the coming week. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Rainstorms, potential atmospheric river expected to drench Bay Area in coming week

By Eli Walsh Bay City News Foundation Multiple rainstorms, cold temperatures some… Continue reading

U.S. Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman’s powerful reading was among the highlights of Inauguration Day. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Inauguration shines light in this never-ending shade

Here’s to renewal and resolve in 2021 and beyond

Lowell High School is considered an academically elite public school. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Students denounce ‘rampant, unchecked racism’ at Lowell after slurs flood anti-racism lesson

A lesson on anti-racism at Lowell High School on Wednesday was bombarded… Continue reading

Most Read