General Crime

*Oakland Oscar Grant’s Family Files $50 SUIT against BART

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The family of Oscar Grant III filed a $50 million wrongful death and civil rights lawsuit today against Bay Area Rapid Transit, its police chief and three officers for Grant’s shooting death at the Fruitvale station in Oakland early New Year’s Day.Oakland attorney John Burris previously filed a $25 million claim against BART but the transit agency denied the claim.Burris said he doubled the amount of damages he is seeking on behalf of Grant’s family because his investigation has revealed that Grant, a 22-year-old Hayward man who worked as a butcher at an Oakland grocery store, “suffered more than I thought before” in the incident, which sparked widespread outrage across the country.In addition to BART, the suit names BART Police Chief Gary Gee and
officers Johannes Mehserle, Tony Pirone and Marysol Domenici as defendants.Those officers and others responded to the Fruitvale station shortly after 2 a.m. Jan. 1 after receiving reports that two groups of young men were fighting on a BART train.Mehserle, who resigned the week after the incident, has been charged with murder and is scheduled to return to Alameda County Superior Court on March 23 for a preliminary hearing, which will determine whether there’s enough evidence for him to stand trial.BART officials and attorneys for Pirone and Domenici weren’t immediately available for comment.Mehserle’s attorney, Michael Rains, is unavailable for comment because Alameda County Superior Court Judge Morris Jacobson has issued a gag order in his criminal case.Burris said the lawsuit was filed in federal court in Oakland and has been assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Patel in San Francisco.The plaintiffs are Grant’s mother, Wanda Johnson, and his girlfriend, Sophina Mesa, who is the mother and guardian of his four-year-old daughter.

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