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Jan. 1, 2019, marks 10 years since the murder of Oscar Grant by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle. In the lead up to this grim anniversary, a number of articles, multimedia pieces, radio programs and television news segments have been produced to commemorate the occasion. Especially moving are those that give voice to Oscar’s family and friends. But it’s rare to see significant tribute paid to the fact that were it not for the vigor and relentlessness of protesters and activists, Oscar Grant would have received little to no justice.
It has been five years since Oakland was set on fire during the Oakland Rebellions that were a result of the BART police murder of Oscar Grant. Los Angeles based journalist Thandisizwe Chimurenga is set to release her book, “No Doubt: The Murder(s) of Oscar Grant,” in the coming weeks. This book gives a much needed political analysis of what was at work behind the curtains of this monumental police murder case.
Anthony “Tony” Pirone, the police officer who had his knee on Oscar Grant's back while Grant was laying on the Fruitvale BART platform in Oakland as Officer Johannes Mehserle shot and killed him, is seeking arbitration with BART to be reinstated to his previous position with the BART police. Many consider Pirone as one of the main instigators in the events leading to Grant’s murder.
Shot dead in his car on July 15, 2011, a mere 30 and a half months after Oscar’s BART police assassination, Johntue Caldwell, godfather of Oscar Grant’s daughter, Tatiana, was one of the terrorized Black youth on the Fruitvale BART platform with Oscar on Jan. 1, 2009. He leaves behind two young sons.
On the 8th of July, 2010, the people of the world took to the streets of Oakland to make our displeasure felt at the non-verdict delivered to the killer cop who assassinated Ancestor-Warrior Spirit Oscar Grant III in cold blood on a BART platform a year and a half ago, 1 January 2009. And it wasn’t “outside agitators” who consistently outflanked and outmanned the so-called finest of several different police departments – most of whom were definitely from outside of Oakland. It was thousands and thousands of us who don’t have shit. It was the lumpen proletariat that George Jackson spoke of.
Day 10 of the People v. Mehserle trial – Thursday, June 24 – ended with the defendant, Johannes Mehserle, taking the stand. The former BART police officer is accused of murder in the death of Oscar Grant. Defense attorney Michael Rains, seeking to humanize his client, asked what he was voted “most” of in high school: Mehserle was voted “Most Huggable.”
Never before has a police officer been tried for murder for actions taken while on duty. The defense is taking the position that Oscar Grant was a threat and noncompliant and that BART Officer Johannes Mehserle thought he was tasing him but shot him by mistake. The trial is expected to wrap up soon.
BART train operator Keecha Williams contradicted much of the testimony of former officer Pirone by stating that he never asked her if any of the young men he detained were involved in the fight, that he never asked her who she thought was involved and that she did not state that the young men placed against the concrete wall were the ones involved in the fight.
Pirone did not remember many of the details of the morning of Jan. 1, 2009, and at other points he remembered things quite vividly. He denied knowledge of walking over and striking Grant. Pirone does remember that Grant kept trying to “wiggle” his head out from under his knee; but his answer to Stein’s question, “Did you ever hear Oscar Grant say he ‘couldn’t breathe?’” was no.
Is Tony Pirone attempting to avoid testifying in Johannes Mehserle’s trial for the murder of Oscar Grant? The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office has filed papers to force former BART Police Officer Tony Pirone – who was fired April 22 – to testify in the murder trial of Johannes Mehserle, set to begin with jury selection next week.
The BART police officer accused of punching Oscar Grant in the face and calling him a racial epithet moments before his death on New Year’s Day 2009 was fired Thursday. Officer Tony Pirone, who called Grant a “bitch ass nigger,” was also seen in a video attacking Grant. Pirone was the officer kneeling on Grant’s back when then-BART police officer Johannes Mehserle shot Grant in the back.
Over 200 protesters disrupted the evening commute at Embarcadero BART station in San Francisco on April 8 demanding justice for Oscar Grant, who was shot and killed on an Oakland train station platform New Year’s Day 2009.
Rekia Mohammed Jabrin has been involved in the Justice for Oscar Grant Movement in more than one way. She has been a consistent spectator at the Johannes Mehserle indictment hearings, taking notes, as well as one of the cofounders of Oakland Cop Watch. We are talking to her to get our audience prepared for the July 24 hearings in Oakland’s Superior Court, where Mehserle’s lawyer will be arguing to get the murder trial taken out of Alameda County.