by: San Francisco Chronicle
published: 29 December 2018
Ten years after BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle killed Oscar Grant, and six years after the shooting was depicted in the film “Fruitvale Station,” the incident is recalled by many observers as the most seismic moment for police accountability since the 1991 beating of Rodney King, which also was caught on video.
The shooting of Grant still ricochets: It touched off a national conversation about racism and police violence and initiated a form of stark, instantaneous documentary in which witnesses capture use-of-force incidents on cell phones and post the footage to YouTube and social media.
Yet it can be easy to forget exactly what happened on that Oakland train platform in the early hours of New Year’s Day 2009.
Most everybody knows the outlines — a white officer fires a pistol into the back of an unarmed black man who has been pulled off a train as fellow passengers wield phones and digital cameras to capture the scene, spurring mass protest and a murder trial. The officer says he meant to shock the victim with a Taser, not shoot him.
What people may not know is how many lives changed as a result of that single gunshot. And they may not understand that some of the central facts of the case remain in dispute even today.