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Oscar Grant family has high hopes for 'Fruitvale' film

July 27, 2012 10:01:13 PM PDT
There are new details in the ongoing production of a controversial film in Oakland. The movie "Fruitvale" is supposed to depict the events leading up to the shooting of Oscar Grant at the hands of BART police officer Johannes Mehserle.

The movie began filming earlier this month, and like most productions, there is often a tight seal on information. Friday we learned that filmmakers were able to recreate the moment when a BART police officer pulled the trigger on the platform.

In the first hours of the new year -- January 2009 -- riders aboard a southbound BART train captured a disturbing incident on their camera phones. Mehserle pulled his side arm and fired at Grant as he laid face down on the platform.

Grant's family says they are happy this film is in the works because they want the public to know more than what they've learned since he was killed.

"Oscar was a human being and no matter how the media tries to, or the attorneys for Mehserle's side tries to demoralize him and try to make him into a monster, he was not a monster," said Grant's mother, Wanda Johnson.

The scene of Grant's shooting was quietly filmed last weekend at the Fruitvale BART station. That's according to a source familiar with the case who was also on set. This weekend filming is scheduled to continue at the San Leandro station -- that's where Grant's mother says police tried to collect camera phones from BART riders.

Grant's uncle, Cephus Johnson, says this film lays out the two days leading up to his nephew's death. "I'm having high hopes for the movie," he said. "I believe that this is an opportunity for the world to come to see Oscar 48 hours before he was murdered -- a young black man, just living life."

BART administrators have granted full access to the production. However, some questions are being raised about money BART will be collecting from the producers. A BART spokesperson has not released any information about charges associated with permits and staff overtime related to filming.

Grant's family says they're not happy BART is making any money from the film. "They actually know what happened," said Wanda Johnson. "They know that my son was murdered senselessly, so it should be done for free."

This is a film that includes some notable Hollywood talent. Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer plays Grant's mother and Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker is co-producing the picture.


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