California’s attorney general said Tuesday that his office will conduct its own review of a transit officer’s involvement in the shooting death of a 22-year-old Black man at a San Francisco Bay Area train station in 2009.
The decision by Rob Bonta comes after Nancy O’Malley, Alameda County’s district attorney, announced in January that her office would not file a murder charge against former Bay Area Rapid Transit officer Anthony Pirone in the death of Oscar Grant on News Year’s Day.
She said that while his conduct that night was unacceptable, he did not fire the gun that killed Grant.
Instead, Pirone hauled Grant out of a train car and pinned a knee to his neck and back in a manner similar to that used in the death of George Floyd last year in Minneapolis. The BART officer who shot Grant in the back while he was on the ground, Johannes Mehserle, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and served 11 months.
Grant’s family has sought criminal charges against Pirone for years and petitioned Bonta’s office after O’Malley declined to go forward. The office pledged a “thorough and independent review” of the role played by Pirone.
“Transparency is critical to building and maintaining trust between law enforcement and the communities we serve,” Bonta said.
The district attorney’s office will share information with the Attorney General’s office.
“We join the attorney general in our commitment to open, honest and legally supported decision making in reviewing cases presented,” O’Malley said in a statement.
The shooting death, which sparked national calls for police reform, was depicted in the 2013 film “Fruitvale Station” directed by Ryan Coogler and starring Michael B. Jordan.