OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Ten years ago on New Year's Day, 22-year-old Oscar Grant was shot in the back by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle on the Fruitvale station platform. Grant's death triggered an avalanche of attention on police and community interactions in the years since then.
Grant's mother, Wanda Johnson, said she was up at 2 in the morning remembering the phone call she got back in 2009. "It's been 10 years. I can't believe how time is flying by. Society has changed because of awareness. Because of Oscar's death it became a catalyst, it began a movement," she said.
She took the stage at the Fruitvale BART station Tuesday with Grant's daughter Tatiana, now a poised 14-year-old. When asked what was her dad's legacy as she learns more about him Tatiana Grant said " I think it's for freedom, all of us and black lives in general. We all need support and this shouldn't happen again."
Oscar Grant rode BART back to the East Bay from watching fireworks in San Francisco on January 1, 2009. An encounter with the police ended with an unarmed Grant face down on the platform and shot in the back by a BART officer who later testified in court that he thought he had pulled out his Taser. BART riders recorded it on their cellphones.
Grant's Uncle Bobby carried the torch after Oscar died. He spoke out on a radio talk show about his nephews legacy. "Because there were commuters troubled, pulling out their cameras and recording that story, it was seen by us and the world. Everyone fell in love with Oscar. They felt that pain, their brother, their nephew, their cousins," said Grant's uncle, Cephus "Uncle Bobby" X Johnson.
Since then Johnson says that incident has sparked a decade of skepticism about the relationship between the community and police officers. Awareness was raised. DashCams and bodycams on officers are the new norm.
Grant's family hopes that by March a huge commemorative mural will be painted on the wall of the Fruitvale BART station. Bright white primer is already up and in place. They're also pushing for a plaque on the platform where Grant was killed. His uncle said "this legacy is about justice. This legacy is about accountability."
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