On Tuesday, California’s Attorney General Rob Bonta announced that his office will conduct a review of former transit officer Anthony Pirone’s involvement in the shooting death of Oscar Grant back in 2009. According to the Associated Press, this decision came after Alameda County’s district attorney, Nancy O’Malley, decided not to charge Pirone for murder back in January.
The Root reported about the case being reopened by O’Malley last October:
“We will evaluate the evidence and the law, including the applicable law at the time and the statute of limitations, and make a determination,” said O’Malley. The announcement came after Grant’s family and members of the Oakland community called for Oscar’s case to be reopened, following a 2019 report showing another BART officer was responsible for escalating the situation that led to Grant’s death.
That officer was Anthony Pirone. On New Year’s Day in 2009, 22-year-old Grant was face down on the ground when officer Johannes Mehserle shot him in the back. Mehserle said later that he thought he had pulled out his stun gun. The shooting set off nationwide protests against police brutality. In 2013, Grant’s death was depicted in the heart wrenching film, Fruitvale Station.
Mehserle was charged with involuntary manslaughter in 2010 and served only 11 months in prison.
In January, just after the 11th anniversary of Grant’s death, O’Malley decided not to charge Pirone with murder for his involvement in the shooting.
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 reportedly has spent years seeking criminal charges against Pirone. After O’Malley’s decision they petitioned Bonta’s office which agreed to its own independent review.