The attorney for a 22-year-old Black man who was shot to death by a Bay-Area California policeman on New Year’s Day says he will file a $25 million lawsuit, and is demanding that prosecutors charge the officer with murder.
“This is the most egregious shooting that I have ever seen,” said civil rights attorney John Burris, who is known for taking on high-profile police-abuse cases.
A videotape recorded by a passenger on the train shows an officer with the Bay Area Rapid Transit Police Department standing over Oscar Grant III of Hayward, CA as he is laying facedown and handcuffed. The officer then appears to fire a bullet into Grant's back as fellow officers look on.
“He was a wonderful, decent young man who was out with his friends on New Year’s Eve,” Burris said. “I can assure that there is no reasonably competent police officer who could believe that this shooting is justifiable.”
The shooting took place just before 2 a.m., after five officers arrived at the Fruitvale station in response to reports of a fight on a train. It has not been confirmed whether Grant was involved in the altercation.
“I've drafted a notice of claim against BART for $25 million I plan to submit officially,” Burris said, adding that the officer had violated Grant's civil rights and caused his wrongful death.
BART Police Chief Gary Gee said at a news conference on Sunday that his department was in the early stages of an investigation. He declined to elaborate, because doing so “before all the facts are in could compromise individual recollections and do disservice to the truth and the answers we're all seeking.”