An Oakland Fire Department employee has filed a lawsuit claiming that medics provided inadequate treatment to Oscar Grant after he was shot by a police officer in 2009.
Sean Gillis, who has long been embroiled in a dispute with the OFD, accuses his superiors of racism, sexism, and cronyism in the 150-page suit filed last Friday at Alameda County Superior Court.
Gillis alleges that the OFD mistreated Grant after he was shot at pointblank range, and destroyed all evidence of the mistreatment. Gillis says he attempted to launch an investigation into the paramedic misconduct, but was stopped by written order, demoted, and harassed for his actions. He says an order for a call review by then-medical director Dr. Howard Michaels was also ignored and that Michaels faced retaliation. Gillis also made a Public Records Act request for staff meeting audio tapes, where he says racist and inappropriate comments were made about Grant, but that request has not been fulfilled.
The OFD’s interim fire chief and the pathologist who examined Grant’s body refute Gillis’ allegations.
The Oscar Grant case has been chronicled on Colorlines by Julianne Hing. Former officer Johannes Mehserle was released from jail earlier this month after serving half of a two-year sentence for involuntary manslaughter. The 2009 incident as well as Mehserle’s light sentencing caused outcry in the Bay Area and beyond. The case was unprecedented in that it was the first time in California history that a police officer was charged with homicide for an on-duty killing, and that a white police offer was convicted for killing a black man.