BART reaches settlement with Oscar Grant's mother

June 29, 2011 12:18:43 AM PDT
BART has reached a settlement in the $50 million lawsuit brought by Oscar Grant's mother Wanda Johnson. Grant was unarmed when he was shot and killed by former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle on New Year's Day 2009.

The settlement reached Tuesday falls far short of that $50 million number originally sought by Grant's family and friends, but the legal battle is still not over.

"No amount of money can replace Oscar," Wanda Johnson said.

Saying her nightmare will never be over, Wanda Johnson accepted a settlement from BART in the amount of $1.3 million.

"You can't pay you know for the loss of a loved one; it's been very difficult," she said.

The financial settlement marks the end of the civil lawsuit as it pertains to Johnson only. Those filed on behalf of the other young men who were on the platform the night Grant was shot and killed will continue.

"We're not happy, we're nowhere near satisfied, no amount of money would've brought resolution," Grant's uncle Cephus Johnson said. "What we're here for today is to hold BART accountable for the pain brought to our family."

In her suit, Johnson alleged that BART and its police force committed several civil rights violations in the shooting of her 22-year-old son. She also sued for wrongful death.

"Regardless of the settlement agreement, it still leaves a mother without her son, I think that's the point," BART Board President Bob Franklin said. "It's still a sad day for Ms. Johnson but it at least ends the legal proceedings for her."

Earlier this month, Mehserle was released from a Los Angles Jail after serving one year on an involuntary manslaughter conviction.

Last January, BART settled with Grant's young daughter in the amount of $1.5 million.

"The fact that a significant amount of money has been paid, $2.8 million, one doesn't have to verbally admit they did wrong, but it's pretty obvious when you pay $2.8 million that you take some responsibility for what happened," Grant family attorney John Burris said.

A judge recently ruled that BART could not be held legally responsible for the Grant shooting. However, the transit agency still ends up paying any settlement because Mehserle and the other officers on the platform the night of the shooting were employed by BART.


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