OAKLAND, Calif. - The family and attorneys for Oscar Grant plan to continue to push Alameda County District Attorney, Nancy O'Malley, to charge a former BART police officer in the young man's death.
In a still picture, taken from a cell phone camera video of the New Year's Day, 2009 police shooting, Anthony Pirone is the officer seen pinning down the 22-year-old Grant on the Fruitvale Bart platform. His knee is on Grant's neck.
Within a matter of minutes, Pirone's fellow officer, Johanees Mehserle, had shot Grant in the back, killing him.
Mehserle had said that he meant to use his Taser instead of his gun. A Los Angeles jury convicted him for involuntary manslaughter, instead of murder. Mehserle served 11 months in prison.
Years after the killing, Grant's family urged the Alameda County District Attorney's office to also charge Pirone with a crime, for his role in Grant's death.
"Oscar did not deserve to die," said Wanda Johnson, Grant's mother. "He did not deserve to be shot. The police are not the executioner, the jury and the judge. They do not get to shoot and kill and walk away and think that it's acceptable."
To the dismay of Grant's family and supporters, O'Malley announced yesterday she would not file charges against Pirone for aiding and abetting a murder. The statute of limitations on any other possible charges had expired.
"Although Pirone's conduct was aggressive, utterly unprofessional and disgraceful, it did not rise to the mental state required for murder," O'Malley said in a video.
On Tuesday, BART board members Bevin Dufty and Lateefah Simon joined with Grant's family and attorneys to denounce the District Attorney's decision. They plan to continue their efforts to seek justice.
"We will leave no stone unturned," said Grant family attorney Charles Bonner. "We will go to the state Attorney General and we will also go to the federal justice department to seek federal criminal prosecution for civil rights violations, and we ultimately will go to the voters if Nancy O'Malley does not do the right thing."
Bonner said he and other attorneys representing Grant's family said they have a meeting with O'Malley next week, and they will once again urge her to reconsider her decision