Transit agency settles Oakland shooting case for $1.3 million

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 28, 2011 10:33 PM
Transit agency settles Oakland shooting case for $1.3 million

By Emmett Berg

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The mother of a black man shot to death by a transit police officer on an Oakland train platform in 2009 agreed on Tuesday to settle her federal lawsuit against the transit agency, officials said.

The $1.3 million settlement came after two years of negotiations between victim Oscar Grant's mother and the Bay Area Rapid Transit agency, which employed the officer, agency spokesman Linton Johnson said.

Grant's mother, Wanda Johnson, filed a $50 million lawsuit in May of 2009 against BART, alleging wrongful death and violation of civil rights in the fatal shooting of her 22-year-old son.

Johannes Mehserle, the white former officer in the racially charged case, was convicted last year of involuntary manslaughter in Grant's death. He was released from jail earlier this month with good behavior credit after serving 11 months of a two-year sentence.

Mehserle's early release led to street protests in Oakland, but not the wave of looting and vandalism which followed his conviction on the manslaughter charge rather than murder.

Cell phone video of Grant's shooting showed him lying face down on an Oakland train platform when Mehserle shot him in the back.

At Mehserle's trial, the former BART officer testified he meant to use an electric Taser weapon on Grant, but mistakenly drew and fired his gun.

The settlement with Johnson is the second to result from Grant's death.

The transit agency last year agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle a claim brought on behalf of Grant's 5-year-old daughter Tatiana.

(Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Jerry Norton)