State AG calls for BART shooting inquiry

January 7, 2009 12:31:42 PM PST
The family of the man killed by BART Police on New Years filed a claim Tuesday as promised for $25 million.

That claim accused BART Police of violating Oscar Grant's civil rights, illegally detaining him and using excessive force.

For the first time Attorney General Jerry Brown spoke out Tuesday about the New Year's Day shooting at the Fruitvale BART Station. He said his office is not involved in the investigation into the shooting because it has not been asked to be involved.

BART continues to conduct its own investigation alongside the Alameda County District Attorney's Office.

California's top prosecutor had strong words Tuesday about the fatal shooting.

"This case calls out for a searching inquiry and investigation," he said.

"Disturbing" is how Brown describes recently-released amateur videos which show 22-year-old Oscar Grant being shot in the back by Officer Johannes Mehserle.

"But, I do see the seriousness of this case and there shouldn't be any kind of delay or shilly-shallying around," he said.

The delay so far has been by BART. The agency is conducting its own investigation into the shooting and officials revealed Monday that the officer who shot Grant had not yet been interviewed.

That too strikes Brown as odd.

"That would be very strange. I wonder why that is," he said.

The Alameda County District Attorney's Office is conducting a separate investigation.

On Tuesday attorney John Burris filed a $25 million claim against BART on behalf of Grant's family. He also wants the Alameda County District Attorney to file criminal charges against the officer.

In that claim, Burris paints a graphic picture of the event saying, "Without so much as flinching, the officer Mehserle stood over Mr. Grant and mercilessly fired his weapon, mortally wounding Mr. Grant with a single gunshot wound to the back."

Burris says, "The ultimate, important question in this case is what did the officer do and what did he intend to do?"

BART Board President Thomas Blalock asked people not to rush to judgment. He says from what he has seen, the videos are too grainy to decipher much at all.

"I can't pull anything factual out of that personally," he told ABC7.

When asked if he could see the officer pulling his gun out Blalock replied, "I don't see the officer pulling his gun. I don't see the officer pulling his gun. I see the gun in the picture later."

ABC7 tried to reach BART officals Tuesday to find out whether investigators had interviewed Officer Mehserle yet. We never heard back.

ABC7 did learn that Mehserle submitted to a drug and alcohol test immediately after the shooting as is standard protocol in every officer-involved shooting.

Meanwhile, Wednesday is the scheduled day for Oscar Grant's funeral.