It might be legally defensible for police to kill innocent people, but it sure is expensive, a lesson that BART is learning first-hand now. New numbers from a recent San Francisco Chronicle report show that the Bay Area transit system has already paid out $5.9 million to resolve the shooting death of Oscar Grant.
The Chronicle's Demian Bulwa reports that so far, the Bay Area transit system has had to open its wallet continuously over the years for multiple settlements, retraining and restructuring costs since ex-BART officer Johannes Mehserle shot and killed Grant on New Year's Day 2009.
The most expensive cost was a $1.5 million civil suit payout to Grant's estate. His daughter Tatiana will receive $1.5 million over the course of her lifetime. BART also paid $553,000 in attorneys fees for the civil settlement.
Also on the BART tab: $1.4 million in overtime pay for internal investigators and officers assigned to patrol post-killing protests; $800,000 for more riot control, use of force and Taser deployment training; $1 million to pay for the administrative leave of six officers who were also on the BART platform; $75,000 went to investigate, and eventually terminate BART officers Tony Pirone and Marysol Domenici, who were also on the platform that night; $283,000 to an outside consulting firm that recommended Pirone and Domenici be fired
Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old Alameda resident, was shot in the back by BART officer Johannes Mehserle while he was being held face down on a train platform on New Year's Day 2009. The shooting was caught on video camera, and led to protests and murder charges against Mehserle, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in July. Mehserle is set to be sentenced on November 5, and is being held in a Los Angeles County jail.