BART Reaches $1.3 Million Settlement With Oscar Grant’s Mother

OAKLAND (CBS SF) – BART agreed Tuesday to pay $1.3 million to the mother of Oscar Grant III, a Hayward man who was fatally shot by former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle at the Fruitvale station in Oakland on Jan. 1, 2009.

The payment to Wanda Johnson, coupled with a $1.5 million payment last year to Grant’s young daughter, Tatiana Grant, settles a wrongful death and civil rights lawsuit that Oakland attorney John Burris filed in federal court on behalf of Grant’s family in 2009.

grant shooting 08 BART Reaches $1.3 Million Settlement With Oscar Grant’s Mother

Grant, a 22-year-old Hayward man who worked as a butcher at an Oakland grocery, was a father to a 4-year-old girl. (CBS)

The total payment of $2.8 million represents only 5.6 percent of the $50 million that Grant’s family had sought.

At a new conference at Burris’ office, Johnson said she was glad the lawsuit has been settled but added, “No amount of money could replace Oscar, and my heart still grieves for my son.”

Johnson said, “You still feel the pain daily that he’s not here.”

Grant, 22, who was on parole for two prior felony convictions but was unarmed, was shot and killed by Mehserle on the platform at the Fruitvale station after Mehserle and other officers responded to reports that there was a fight on a BART train.

KCBS’ Chris Filippi Reports:

Mehserle, who resigned a week after the incident, was charged with murder but he was convicted of the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter.

In a highly publicized trial that was moved to Los Angeles County because of concerns about whether he could get a fair trial in Alameda County, Mehserle admitted that he shot and killed Grant but said he had meant to use his Taser on Grant and fired his service gun by mistake.

Mehserle was released from custody on June 13 after serving about one year of a two-year term. He was released early because of credits he had accumulated.

BART’s lawyer, Dale Allen, said BART made no admission of liability or constitutional violations in agreeing to the settlement.

Photo Gallery: The Shooting Of Oscar Grant

Burris said that was true but added that BART’s decision to pay what he described as “a significant amount of money” is a major admission of wrongdoing.

“It’s obvious when you pay $2.8 million that you are acknowledging that the conduct was wrong, inappropriate and against the law,” Burris said.

Burris, who has filed numerous lawsuits against law enforcement agencies for alleged civil rights violations, said Grant’s death was “the most outrageous police shooting I’ve ever seen.”

He said the settlement will be paid by BART, not by Mehserle or the other officers who were named in the lawsuit, because they were acting in the scope of their employment.

Burris said the reason that he and Grant’s family pushed for Mehserle to be prosecuted criminally is that they knew he would not have to pay any civil damages and a criminal case was “the only way he could be held personally responsible.”

Burris described the settlement as “a compromise” and said he and Johnson agreed to it because a trial and possible appeals could have taken another 2 to 4 years.

Burris said there was some “uncertainty” about how the case would have gone but added, “in my view we would have prevailed.”

Allen said, “Both sides saw the risks of going to trial and the economics involved” in prolonged litigation.

He said a key issue would have been if jurors thought that Grant was resisting arrest at the time he was shot and killed.

Allen said if jurors thought Grant was resisting arrest, they could have found that it was “appropriate for the situation” for Mehserle to decide to use a Taser on Grant, even though Mehserle fired his gun in what he claimed was a mistake.

BART Board President Bob Franklin said the transit agency has learned some lessons from Grant’s shooting death.

In a statement, Franklin said, “We have been continuously taking the actions needed to improve the BART Police Department to ensure our officers are better-trained and better-equipped and we’re working with the community and our customers to earn their trust and confidence by keeping them safe and secure.”

Mehserle’s lawyer, Michael Rains, said the settlement is “a recognition by BART that a young man has lost his life who shouldn’t have.”

Rains said, “I’m heartened for the Grant family and I hope they can put some of this behind them even though I know they can never put the memory of Oscar behind them.”

Rains said Mehserle acknowledges that “he made a terrible mistake” and “feels sorry for the loss the family suffered.”

The settlement was supervised by Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero in U.S. District Court in San Francisco and was reached after five mediation sessions.

On Wednesday, BART will begin a settlement conference with seven other plaintiffs: Grant’s father, Oscar Grant Jr., who is serving a life term for a conviction for first-degree murder, and six of Grant’s friends who say they were mistreated by police officers before and after the shooting.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. CMMV says:

    spend it wisely………..

  2. urolizzard says:

    This is gross example of a Justice System disconnected with common sense. This woman should not receive a dime instead she should pay restitution to the Citizens of California for raising a hoodlum endangering the safety of its citizens trying to commute safely and lawfully on the Bart Train.

    1. Dave says:

      I agree 100%. Oscar Grant was no angel and was by no means innocent that night.

      1. Bo says:

        yes Dave, and u can convince the world your an angle.i dont think so . American wasn’t built by angles, just ask your parents and grand parents,how stupid, of u to think if a person is killed by a racist, its because he did someting wrong.u dont think clearly

      2. RHONDA says:

        Dave what did he do , Dave what did he do to deserve to die in such cold blood like that ,that nite,Dave what EYES where u looking out of that nite,HIGH PLEASE TELL ME WHAT HE DID IN ORDER TO DESERVE TO DIE IN SUCH COLD BLOOD THE WAY HE DID PLEEEEEASE TELL ME.DAN AND DAVE TELL ME WHERE IS THE ANGEL U SPOTTED ID LIKE TO SEE HIM OR HER,ID LIKE TO SEE THE 100% HUMAN WITH THIS UNTOUCHED SOUL

      3. Antoinette D Johnson says:

        So if it were your loved one who was murdered by the police, would you still be saying this? Even if Oscar Grant did have a felony, he was a free man, riding the train, Not drinking and driving, Not doing anything because he was handcuffed already. I don’t think you would be saying all of this, if it were one of your loved ones who were murdered. Don’t forget Karma when it comes to bite you in the butt.

    2. Jim Bob Duggar says:

      AMEN! I won’t ride BART anymore because of this, give more money to mother a thug who had it coming. Oscar Grant is a convicted felon with weapons charges.

    3. Lydia says:

      Thank you, many feel the same. She unleashed him on society to steal and rape and burden the justice system.

      1. Y.E.ppers says:

        mr.grant did nothing but b born in his black skin ,just like the whites, those killer that died during 911……………………..i only feel for the victums that happen to be their , but the true demons got what they deserved, NEXT TIME I HOPE THEY GET AT LEAST 10 MILLION MORE ……

    4. NAY says:

      DAN, U JERK,MR,GRANT NEVER HAD A FELONY IN HIS WHOLE LIFE ,HE SIMPLY GOT ON BART,THATS IT ,AND BEFORE THE COPS MURDERED HIM HE,HAD A JOB,A CHILD, TWO PARENTS THAT LOVED AND CARED FOR HIM,HE NEVER EVER ONCE HAD ANY TYPE OF FELONY IN HIS LIFE.YOUR A LIAR, AND I HOPE U OR AN INNOCENT PERSON IN YOUR LIFE DIE THE SAME WAY HE DID….

  3. FOrtega says:

    Are you serious @urolizzard? How is an unarmed man, facing away from an officer a hoodlum? The state of california should pay restitution to people like us for dealing with a primitive mind like yourselves.

  4. 415FoOFoo says:

    $1.5 million is nothing……Doesnt the Grant Family have to pay attorney fees? After that, they wont have much left…….

    1. BO says:

      IF U’D LISTEN THE MOM SAID SHE DIDNT WANT THE MONEY SHE OLY WANT THE MONEY TO PAY THE ATTORNEY FEES,SHE STATED SHE’D RATHER HAVE HER KID BACK, U SOUND SO RACIST, I LOVE TO TALK WITH U MORE ON THIS TOPIC,OVER COFFEE,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,N A DARK ALLEY WAY…………………..

  5. FOrtega says:

    I be sorry about myis earlier comments. I busy eatin dem bbq chicken . I agrees with all of uses Oscars peps don”t be getting nothin for sures. Day B losers

  6. adam says:

    They doesn’t deserve a penny. Wait he is not even worth a penny. Just another criminal dead in Oakland and add that to the statistical crime data.

  7. Josh Stewart says:

    Yup, I don’t know what $1.3 million will do for his mother, other than stuff her bank account. Thanks! I guess we’ll be paying for it in BART fares. She should donate most, if not all, of the settlement to the businesses in downtown Oakland that were ravaged in “vindication” for her son!

  8. Ricky says:

    She sues for $50 million but she settles with $1.3 million? After all the lawyer bs fees, she’s be lucky to have $500k.

  9. Zack Debarco says:

    So once she has the settlement she should shut up and go blow her wad.
    These sorts of events are unfortunately driving a wedge between the races and its the likes of Atty. Burris who is adding fuel to the fire.

  10. sylph says:

    Does anyone commenting here actually live in the bay area, or even see the snuff film? Mehserle should have been shot. In fact, that’s the settlement I would have come to: $10 million, or you get to shoot that worthless human being in the back. Well, first you get to slam him around, and then you get to shoot him in the back. For the crime of existing.

    1. urolizzard says:

      expected reply from a microscopic conscience. Consequences you mess with passengers on the train mess with the law accidents happen to stupid people like yourself. Think drunk drive drunk make statements drug suffer the consequences.
      Did you see what Oscar Grant Did ? Why were the Bart Police even called Idiot. I am sure they could find more entertaining things to do than look for an opportunity to shoot a black Man. Yes he was a Man not a child. For Gods Sake a Father. Stupid things happen to stupid people. Being a drunk or a Criminal is not a racial matter. It would be a lot easier if Idiots could be id by color. Look at Bart Police Officer did a stupid accidental thing. Grant did a really stupid thing. Stupid Laws brought them together. Stupid people don’t understand this. Consequences

    2. Lydia says:

      That “worthless” human being is an upstanding citizen protecting people like you from the likes of Oscar Grant…or maybe you are of the same mind as he was? There’s a big difference between making a tragic mistake and rabble rousing as Grant was. I feel very sorry for Mehserle, his life is ruined by that useless thug.

  11. Bay Area Guy says:

    So I guess oiscar grants father is next in line for his reparations payment, then the grand parents and so on and so on .

    1. Citizen says:

      Can Grant’s father actually sue from prison? He should have been at home raising his son…but he obviously isn’t the best role model. It makes me sick to share the planet with these criminals. How can we get rid of them?

      1. r,h says:

        continue killing them with your racist laws and your killer healthcare for them jobs just about done

      2. RHONDA says:

        U THATS MAKING ALL THESE RACIST REMARKS, ARE ANY OF YOU TO SHOW WHO YOU REALLY ARE. .WHAT IN YOUR RIGHTMINDS MAKE U THINK ANYONE DESIRVES TO DIE THE WAY MOST BLACKMEN DIE.. WHITE BAYAREA YOU HAVE PROVED OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER,TIME AND TIME AGAIN THAT U HATE BLACKS,AND THE TRUTH IS THAT WHEN YOUR DAY COMES……THE LAWS OF ADVERAGE SAYS YOUR DAY IS COMMING…, YOU WILL FIND YOUSELVES MORE DEPENDENT ON BLACKS THAN ANY OTHER RACE HERE IN AMERICA………..AND I BET YOU CANT EVEN UNDERSTAND WHY………………..SHAME ON WHITE AMERICA……..SHAME ON WHITE AMERICA,BLACK PEOPLE ARE THE LEAST OF YOUR WORRIES….

    2. BAY AREA MAN says:

      WELL THEY DAMN SURE DESERVE IT

  12. JOO says:

    I hope they spend the money wisely because am sure all the family member will want some.From 50m to 1.3m hmmmmthat doesnt add up.No money can replace a human being.

  13. tn says:

    Deep pockets syndrome. Just isn’t right. Firstly, it’s sad a life was lost. It’s sad that a mediocre BART cop accidentally killed this fellow. It’s even more sad when we (taxpayers) have to pay off the family of a hoodlum who has wreaked havoc growing up. What about the “cost” of all his past crimes he’s committed? Sad for the Grants and sadder for the good law-abiding tax-paying citizens of Oakland. Just plain sad. Now the Grants will have all these long-lost “friends” coming to their aid, to ask for money or to help them with “investing” their pay-off.

  14. tn says:

    Lastly, if it were the other way around- Grant kills Meserle, Grant gets a long prison sentence (with free room, meals, health care, dental, heating, AC, cable TV) and Meserle gets an honorable funeral. No $50million suit against Grant, just some kind words and prayers, and maybe a local fundraiser or collection for the Meserle family. Black or white- it just ain’t fair. Just saying.

  15. tn says:

    And why does the media ALWAYS show a smiling kid photo of Grant and a serious Meserle in a prison jump suit? Why doesn’t anyone print a mugshot of Grant and a BART police graduation photo of Meserle? Just saying, again.

  16. Dawg says:

    At least it will get her off social services and section 8.

    1. B.Joy says:

      GRANTS MOM WORK 26 YEARS FOR YOUR LOCAL GOVERNMENT…Dawg

  17. Lillian Davis says:

    This was a sad, sad situation all around. While Grant was on parole it was Meserle that took a life. Both men are sons and the Grant family lost theirs while the Meserle family must live with what happened. I find it appalling that people are making hateful racist comments over this. We are better than this Bay Area so please don’t be that internet person spewing hate. To the Grant family I’m sorry for your lost and hope your heart will heal and you’re able to forgive. To the Meserle family I hope you find healing and mercy. My thoughts and prayers are with both families.

  18. Anne St Denis says:

    What was Oscar Grant doing on New Years Eve that made him so innocent? Was he sitting doing nothing? He and his friends created a situation that had the Bart Police to have to intervine, they created the situation. Mr. grant was not at his home being a loving Husband and Father, no he was with his friends. I used the word friends, it could be described as many other things. What about the men and women who are out there risking their lives trying to protect our communities from crimes. Please don’t tell me he was just an innocent bystander.

    There are men and women coming home from serving their country and giving their lives, and not getting the money these Lawyers have gotten for this person.

    Law Enforcement Officers are trained to protect our citizens from all types of bad behavior. I’m a Mother of two officers, an Aunt to another, Sister -in-law to 2 other Law Enforcement Officers, who are faced with fear everyday the go to work. They are human beings, just like everyone else, don’t you think they have fears too. I challenge anyone to have to answer a call for activity that is invading on other peoples, right to live a life of protection and peace of mind, and not be worried about their lives of themselves and their families.

    The 4 Officers that died in the confrontation with a man in Oakland did not receive settlements like Mr. Grant’s family did. Where’s the justice?

    They cry discrimmination, but was it a white man that was creating the situation, it was unfortunately a white man/women that tried to give his family a life of some kind of insurance that if he/she was no longer around, they would have a decent life without them. They Educated themselves into a career that would hopefully provide for them..

    I think this was one of the most injust decisions of our society, to reward actiivity of bad behavior, this whole incident could have been prevented if they made a better decisions.

    Their family is benefitting themselves and are trying to justify the fact that all you have to do is claim innocence. The Officer was human and also feared for his life and the consequences. Put yourselves in his shoes.

  19. Emily Mascarenhas-Bennett says:

    Meserle’s dirty white azz is still walking the streets

  20. Emily Mascarenhas-Bennett says:

    I know he has a dirty white ass because, I have my face planted on it all day long sniffing farts. I am lovin it

  21. Miss Dee says:

    All I have to say is WOW! You guys have taken this way to the left, back to the right, and over again! CAN’T WE STOP TALKING ABOUT THIS???!!! It’s obvious that there are two very defined views of this event and neither side is going to see the other’s point. It shouldn’t have happened, but it did and now it’s over! LET’S MOVE ON AND STOP BICKERING! Most of this commentary is ugly and really makes us as Bay Area citizens look bad.

  22. DEVIN says:

    no wonder you peoPle are the most hated people in thE world your DAY IS COMMING AND SOON

  23. JUAN says:

    OAKLAND POLICE SAID THEY WOULD KILL 5 UNARMED BLACKMEN FOR THE KILLING OF 4 COPS BY A SCARED BLACKMALE FLEAING A TRAFFIC STOP A COUPLE YEARS AGO,. THE POLICES RETAILATION STARTED RIGHT B4 THEY KILLED MR.GRANT ,COPS KILLED A UNARMED BLACK BARBER SHOP OWNER AND LOVING FATHER OF 2.,ALSO A 32 YEAR OLD BLACKMALE SITTING IN HIS CAR, ALL WITHIN THE LAST 2 YEARS EACH MAN WAS COMPLETLY UNARMED TWO OF THE MEN WHERE RUNNING AWAY. FROM POLICE..MEDIA WAS WARNED NOT TO CHOOSE TO PUBLICZE EACH EVENT IN FEAR OF INCITING ANGER FROM THE COMMUNITY and SORROUNDING AREA. THEY ALSO SHOT AND KILLED A 16 YEAR OLD BLACKMALE JUVENILE…..UNARMED…….

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