It wasn't just one cop attacking Oscar Grant on New Year's Eve. A new video shows that before Grant was killed, officer Tony Pirone punched him in the face without cause. Experts have called it criminal. So why has the District Attorney said he's not pursuing charges?
It took two weeks and thousands of people speaking out before the DA charged Oscar Grant's killer with murder. It's going to take continued public pressure to see that justice is served throughout this case.
I've joined ColorOfChange in publicly confronting the Alameda County DA and calling on California's Attorney General to keep a close watch on the case. Please join me--you can see the new video and add your voice by clicking here:
Local news reported on the video showing Pirone assaulting Oscar Grant last week,(1,2) but it has been on the Internet for weeks.(3) As with the shooting, the video doesn't leave a lot of room for explaining away Pirone's actions. It makes it clear that with no physical provocation, he punched Oscar Grant so hard that Grant immediately went down. This is assault, and it is a crime.
Unfortunately, it appears that Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff is once again falling asleep at the wheel. First, he took two long weeks to make the decision to file charges against Oscar Grant's murderer. Then he declared that he was "not actively pursuing"(4) charges against other officers, even though he had access to all the video we've seen, BART's internal investigative report, and the evidence collected under his own investigation.
Law professor Peter Keane from UC Hastings College of the Law, couldn't have said it any clearer: "If the district attorney is saying he's not going to charge any officer except Mehserle, in my opinion he's not doing his job."(5)
Orloff's inaction further calls into question his commitment to justice for Oscar Grant. Given Alameda County's terrible record of prosecuting police abuses, we can't simply trust that Orloff's office has the will to pursue justice wherever it leads.
That's why the California Attorney General needs to once again place an observer in the Alameda County District Attorney's office for the duration of any prosecutions related to Oscar Grant's murder. And Orloff needs to tell the public how not seeking charges against Pirone could possibly be in the interest of justice.
Please join me in demanding justice, and ask your friends and family to do the same. It only takes a minute:
5. See reference 1. Thanks.