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Remembering Oscar Grant

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People are gathering Wednesday to remember the life and death of Oscar Grant III. A noon vigil and rally organized by the Oscar Grant Foundation takes place 11 years after Grant was fatally shot on a BART platform at Oakland’s Fruitvale station in the wee hours of the new year.

Grant, unarmed, was lying face down when former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle shot him in the back. Several witnesses recorded the incident on their phones, making certain that moment was never to be forgotten.

Despite the abundant evidence and charge for Grant’s murder, Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to only two years in prison.

The tragic death of the 22-year-old father and disappointment in the verdict gave birth to palpable anger at first. But eventually, that anger would be channeled into a mass movement to bring attention to police brutality and the far too frequent killing of unarmed black men. 

Mural depicting Oscar Grant III was unveiled at BART Fruitvale station in June 2019. Photo courtesy of BART.

His loved ones continue to ensure he is remembered, and several family members have become constant and powerful voices for change. 

Eleven years later, a street near where he died is named in his honor and a mural has been painted on a wall at the BART station. 

Oakland has since healed from the riots, but the fight for justice continues. 

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Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Journalist, editor, student, single mom to a pack of wolves, foodie, music lover, resident smart ass, and champion of vulgarity and human kindness.