Oakland, CA – Today, February 14th, at the BART Board meeting, Council President Rebecca Kaplan’s request through a resolution she co-authored with former Councilmember Desley Brooks for BART to name the unnamed road at the Fruitvale BART Station “Oscar Grant III Way” was passed unanimously.
Oscar Grant III was a 22-year-old African-American man who was fatally shot in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day 2009 by BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle in Oakland, California. On a crowded Bay Area Rapid Transit train returning from San Francisco, BART Police officers detained Grant and several other passengers on the platform at the Fruitvale BART Station. Two officers, including Mehserle, forced the unarmed Grant to lie face down on the platform. Mehserle drew his pistol and shot Grant in the back. Grant was rushed to Highland Hospital in Oakland and pronounced dead later that day.
The events were captured on multiple official and private digital video and privately-owned cell phone cameras. Owners disseminated their footage to media outlets and to various websites where it became viral. Numerous protests of police actions took place in the following days.
In a support letter to the BART Board Kaplan stated: “We are here today to honor Oscar Grant, and I want to acknowledge this is a small gesture that is long past time in passing. The activism of the family and the community sparked an international movement. We need to honor the life of Oscar Grant, the activism his death has sparked, and we need to continue to fight for a world where black men and boys are not targets of these types of killings.”
Since it was determined the street to be named is the property of BART, President Kaplan called upon the Board to re-name the street.
President Kaplan was happy to lend her support to the BART Board resolution and looks forward to the naming of the street, and the honoring of Oscar Grant’s life.
Rebecca Kaplan is Oakland’s 3-Term At-Large Councilmember