The family members of Oscar Grant, who was shot by police in the early hours of New Year’s Day, have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the San Francisco Bay-area Transit (BART) police department, the chief of police and three officers involved in the shooting, which occurred while Grant was unarmed and on the ground being restrained by another officer.
The police shooting lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in Oakland on Monday, seeking $50 million.
Grant was shot by former BART officer Johannes Mehserle as he was returning home from a New Years Eve celebration with friends. Several individuals were removed from the train at the Fruitvale stop as officers were investigating a fight that broke out on the train.
Several witnesses who remained on the train caught the police shooting on cell phone video, which shows the unarmed Grant being restrained by one officer when Mehserle stood over him, drew his gun and fired a shot into his back.
The lawsuit alleges that Grant’s was unlawfully detained and arrested, wrongfully shot and deprived of urgent medical care.
BART officer Mehserle quit the force on January 7, 2009, and was subsequently charged with murder in relation to the shooting. He has plead not-guilty and is currently free on $3 million bail.
Mehserle’s criminal defense attorney has stated that he intended to fire his Taser stun gun to incapacitate Grant, but mistakenly drew his firearm and delivered a single fatal shot.