Oscar Grant

The Fruitvale Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) platform is where unarmed, 22 year old Oscar Grant was shot and killed by BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle. The murder was captured on video by a BART commuter early New Year's morning, 2009. The video showed Grant flat on his stomach, then shot in the back. The video went viral. Oakland and surrounding Bay Area cities expressed horror, grief and anger over Grant's death.

Oakland Occupy leaders mobilized quickly to lead protests and to speak out against police brutality. Chants of “No justice, No Peace” and “Justice for Oscar Grant! Jail Killer Cops!” filled BART stations and the streets. On several occasions, protests required BART officials to close several stations during commute hours. BART commuters were forced to stay home, leave work early or find other modes of transportation. Protesters were unyielding in their demands for justice. Oakland's cries were heard across the nation.

Johannes Mehserle is the first police officer in the history of California to be convicted and sentenced to serve time for an on-duty shooting. He was released after serving 11 months of a two year sentence for involuntary manslaughter. He was awarded “good time” credit and therefore released early.

Murals of Oscar Grant cover walls and buildings throughout the city of Oakland in protest of police brutality and in honor of Grant’s life. The award winning movie Fruitvale Station recounts Grant's tragic death.

“It turns into a fight,” Johnson says, “because you want your child’s legacy not to be a legacy of how sometimes our sons are portrayed, but a legacy of really who they are.” Wanda Johnson, mother of Oscar Grant.

Grant’s young daughter, family and friends are left to cope with his death as well as friends who witnessed the shooting.

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Stacy Johnson, “Oscar Grant,” Street Stories: Oakland, accessed October 22, 2018, http://streetstoriesoakland.com/items/show/131.

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