A federal appeals court issued a ruling this week that will allow Oscar Grant III’s father to sue ex-BART officer Johannes Mehserle, the man convicted in the younger Grant’s death.
According to the Los Angeles Times:
A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9thCircuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld a trial judge’s decision to permit the suit by Grant’s father, Oscar Grant Jr., against Johannes Mehserle, who shot Grant on the platform of BART’s Fruitvale Station in Oakland in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day 2009.
Lawyers for Mehserle had urged the 9th Circuit to examine whether the relationship between Grant and his father was close enough to justify a civil rights lawsuit alleging loss of companionship.
But the court declined to determine the contours of the relationship, observing the facts were disputed.
The case also presents some of the challenges faced by the families of the incarcerated. The elder Grant is serving a life sentence for murder, according to KQED’s Bay Area News Blog. In a rather uncomfortable moment, his attorney, Panos Lagos, told reporters ,"Even a murderer is entitled to consideration of his feelings and the loss of his only child."
"Fruitvale Station", a film based on the younger Grant’s death, is now showing in theaters nationwide.