Examining the role of a second officer in the Oscar Grant death will be done by the state attorney general
The Los Angeles Times reports that the state’s attorney general has announced that the office will launch its own investigation into the officer’s involvement in Oscar Grant’s shooting death in 2009.
Rob Bonta disclosed on Tuesday (Aug. 17) that his office would examine whether the former transit officer was responsible for Grant’s death. Pirone failed to file charges just a few months after Alameda County’s district attorney decided not to indict him. In a press release, Bonta said transparency was crucial to creating and sustaining trust between the police and the communities they serve. According to the California Department of Justice, the state will conduct a thorough, fair, and independent investigation where the facts lead.
Earlier this month, O’Malley’s office concluded that Pirone was not legally responsible for the shooting since neither he nor his accomplices helped and abetted BART Officer Johannes Mehserle to use the firearm. The video footage of Pirone violently pulling Grant from a BART train was captured on a cellphone camera. The man hit him, pinned him to the ground by placing his knee on his neck, and hurled a racial slur at him.
Internal affairs investigators placed much of the blame for Grant’s death on Pirone, saying that his actions “started a chain reaction that eventually led to his death.”
O’Malley, however, did not charge the officer. She said previously in a statement that Pirone’s conduct, while aggressive, unprofessional, and disgraceful, didn’t rise to the level of being morally justifiable for murder.
Grant was fatally shot by Mehserle in 2009. A police officer claims that he accidentally shot a Black 22-year-old man in the back with a firearm instead of his taser while he was handcuffed. The charge of murder was later dropped because Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter. Despite being sentenced to two years in prison, he only served 11 months before he was released. In Ryan Coogler’s 2013 film Fruitvale Station, Grant’s tragic life was depicted on screen.