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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Police State and Prisons
John Burris claims BART cops' sexual relationship contributed to murder of Oscar Grant
Last week, Burris filed documents in Alameda County Superior Court claiming that the events leading up to Grant's shooting were the result of an "unprofessional relationship" between two BART police officers who responded that night to reports of a fight on a train. The two cops have not been named but it may possibly be deduced from video evidence already released.
Suit: BART cops' affair led to fatal shooting
Phillip Matier,Andrew Ross
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Did an affair between two BART police officers sent to quell a New Year's disturbance at the Fruitvale Station set the stage for the fatal shooting of Oscar Grant by their fellow Officer Johannes Mehserle?
That's the claim attorney John Burris makes in the wrongful-death lawsuit against the transit agency that he filed on the Grant family's behalf.
The family is seeking $50 million, an unlikely amount even given the gravity of the case. But Burris' play doesn't look to be the courtroom - he's angling for a hefty settlement from BART in advance, largely by putting political pressure on the agency.
Toward that end, Burris - a master at such lawsuits - has been steadily stoking the public relations fire under BART's cloth seat.
Last week, Burris filed documents in Alameda County Superior Court claiming that the events leading up to Grant's shooting were the result of an "unprofessional relationship" between two BART police officers who responded that night to reports of a fight on a train.
According to the March 2 complaint, a female officer "got in the face of the young men (suspected of being in the fight) and repeatedly pointed her Taser at them, threatening to tase them in the face."
One of them, Grant, got right back in her face, prompting a male officer to rush over and push him to the ground "while threatening to Taser him," the complaint says.
More words were exchanged, prompting Mehserle to come over to assist in restraining Grant, pull his gun and fire once into Grant's back.