OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) – It was New Year’s Day morning 2009 when Oscar Grant was shot and killed at Oakland’s Fruitvale station by a BART police officer who claimed he grabbed his gun when he had planned to grab his taser.
“Here we go again.”
For Oscar Grant’s Uncle, the shooting of Daunte Wright in Minnesota is all too familiar.
Not just the claim of weapons confusion, but whether any weapon should have been used in the first place.
“It’s not like they didn’t know who he was. And so even if he attempted to jump into the vehicle to take off, there was no need to shoot a weapon or pull out a taser. All you have to do is go to his home, his mother’s house, you know his family, you know his friends,” said Oscar Grant’s uncle Cephus Johnson.
“This did not require deadly force or even force that would do harm like a taser,” said Grant family attorney John Burris.
Civil Rights Attorney John Burris who represents Grant’s family agrees and says 12 years after Grant’s death, a year after George Floyd’s, little has changed.
“It hasn’t stopped. I was hopeful that George Floyd would start a movement that would cause cities and states and federal government to take a closer look at police activity, but I don’t think it has in terms of shoot or don’t shoot for officers.”
Burris and Grant’s uncle say some progress has been made, especially in California, with changes to use of force laws. But ultimately both agree it will take more than legislation.
“It’s more of a cultural issue. This is not about training. This is about cultural policing being changed and the blue code of silence being broken,” Grant’s uncle said.
Since the shooting death of Oscar Grant, BART has beefed up its taser training as well as training related to crisis intervention and de-escalation.