A second wrongful death lawsuit has been filed in federal court in San Francisco against BART over the fatal shooting of a Hayward man by a BART police officer at an Oakland station early on New Year’s Day.
The new lawsuit was filed Friday by Oscar Grant Jr., the father of Oscar Grant III.
The younger Grant, 22, who worked as a butcher at a market in Oakland, was shot in the back and killed by Officer Johannes Mehserle at the Fruitvale station shortly after 2 a.m. on Jan. 1.
Mehserle, 27, and other officers were responding to reports that two groups of young men were fighting on a BART train.
Mehserle has been charged with murder. He contends he intended to shoot Grant with his Taser stun gun rather than his revolver.
The father, Oscar Grant Jr., 44, is currently serving a life sentence at California State Prison-Solano in Vacaville for the first-degree murder of Anthony Epps in Oakland in 1985, according to the Alameda County district attorney’s office.
His attorney, Panos Lagos, said today, “Even a murderer is entitled to consideration of his feelings and the loss of his only child.”
Lagos said that although the father was imprisoned shortly after his son was born, the two knew each other from prison visits, phone calls and letters.
The earlier lawsuit was filed in March by Oscar Grant III’s mother, Wanda Johnson, and by the mother of his 4-year-old daughter.
Dale Allen, a lawyer for BART, said today, “Mr. Oscar Grant Jr. certainly has a right to bring his lawsuit.”
Allen said, “It remains our position that this was a tragic accident. We will certainly try to resolve the suits fairly at the appropriate time.”
Lawyers in both suits have asked the federal court to have the two cases handled by the same judge, U.S. District Judge Marilyn Patel of San Francisco.
In addition to BART, the civil lawsuits name Mehserle, BART Police Chief Gary Gee and officers Tony Pirone and Marysol Domenici as defendants.
In Mehserle’s criminal case, an Alameda County Superior Court judge is scheduled to hold a hearing Friday on the officer’s motion for dismissal of the murder charge.