An officer involved in the 2009 fatal shooting of Oscar Grant at the Fruitvale train station in Oakland, California, was responsible for instigating the events and escalating tensions in the encounter that preceded Grant’s death, according to a newly released report.
The 10-year-old report — recently released thanks to a new California police transparency law — says that Bay Area Rapid Transit Officer Anthony Pirone “started a cascade of events that ultimately led to the shooting of Grant,” and that he then lied about those events in an effort to put his own “actions and conduct in a more favorable light.”
Pirone hit Grant and used profanity and the N-word during the incident, the report says, and later lied to investigators about Grant’s actions, claiming he hit Pirone’s partner and kicked Pirone in the groin.
But Pirone’s account was directly contradicted by video evidence reviewed by investigators, the report says.
The report was written by a third-party law firm that was hired to conduct an internal affairs investigation that “examined and analyzed the conduct and performance” of the officers involved in the shooting death of Grant, a black 22-year-old father.
The New Year’s Day 2009 shooting was captured on cellphone footage and prompted outrage and protests. It was also the basis for the 2013 movie “Fruitvale Station.”
A jury found Johannes Mehserle, the officer who shot Grant, guilty of involuntary manslaughter in July 2010. The report also found evidence that contradicted Mehserle’s claim at trial that he had intended to draw and fire his Taser at Grant, and not his gun.
But according to investigators, it was Pirone who, through his words and use of force, was “responsible for setting the events in motion that created a chaotic and tense situation on the platform, setting the stage, even if inadvertent, for the shooting of Oscar Grant.”
Investigators ultimately suggested that Pirone be fired for his actions. BART spokesman James Allison confirmed in a statement to CNN that Pirone was “terminated soon after the investigation was finalized.”
Pirone declined to comment when reached by CNN Saturday.
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SOURCE: CNN, Dakin Andone and Marlena Baldacci