Oscar Grant's family meets with DA in renewed look at case

The family of Oscar Grant met Thursday with Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley, three days after she announced she was reopening the investigation into Grant's shooting death by a BART police officer in 2009.

The meeting came after Grant's family complained that O'Malley failed to notify them about the new review of the case and that they instead learned about it on social media.

"Here we are, today, waiting 11 years for this appointment to talk about reopening the murder of Oscar Grant case and taking a look at it," Grant's uncle Cephus Johnson said at a news conference outside the county courthouse.

It's been a whirlwind of emotions for Johnson. Back in 2009, BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle shot and killed his nephew at the Fruitvale Station in Oakland.

This week, he demanded that O'Malley reopen the case. In a surprise move, she did just that - without telling the family first. They say they want the prosecutor to take meaningful action.

"I'm ready to continue this battle until we get justice," Johnson said.

Grant's mother Wanda Johnson agreed, saying, "I want the district attorney to do her job as she is paid to do and not just say she's going to open the case."

Grant's family says then-Officer Anthony Pirone should be charged. They say Oirone was aggressive and restrained grant before Mehserle shot him in the back.

"Pirone is the ultimate cause of this entire event," said the family's attorney John Burris, adding he believes it's possible that Pirone could still be charged with murder.

"Anthony Pirone was holding Oscar down physically, aggressively, with Mehserle when Mehserle then stepped back and fired the fatal gun," Burris said.

Mehserle said he mistakenly pulled out his gun instead of his Taser. He was charged with murder but convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

And that could significantly narrow any options for O'Malley, said KTVU legal analyst Michael Cardoza.

"Manslaughter - that statute of limitations has run," Cardoza said. He said it's too late to charge Pirone with manslaughter, let alone being an accessory to manslaughter.

BART settled with Grant's family and friends years ago.

"If they've already brought a civil suit, it's over," Cardoza said.

Keith Garcia, president of the BART Police Officers Association agreed that the case is over.

"I think it's unfortunate," Garcia said of O'Malley's decision to take a second look at the case. "It's an election year, and I think people are grandstanding a bit."

Garcia said, "How could you make somebody an accessory to an involuntary act? So, really there's no -  from talking to lawyers that represent us, there's no continuing charges are going to be filed."

Prosecutors aren't revealing exactly what they're looking into, saying only that this case is again under investigation.