Second officer used racial slur in BART killing
(RAW STORY) A new bombshell may be waiting to explode in the case of Oscar Grant, the black man who was killed by a white San Francisco Bay Area Transit Authority police officer.
One of the police officers called Grant a “bitch ass n—er” before Grant was killed by another officer.
A videotape taken by a bystander shows one of the officers, identified by the San Francisco Chronicle as Tony Pirone, shouting “bitch as n—er, right?” twice, about 30 seconds before Grant was shot to death by fellow officer Johannes Mehserle.
Mehserle, 27, has been suspended and charged with murder. Pirone has also been suspended.
The new video was filmed by a rider at the Oakland Fruitvale Station early New Year’s Day.
Pirone and his attorney aver that Pirone was simply repeating a phrase Grant hurled at the officers. Grant’s voice, however, is not audible on the tape. A sound-enhanced version of the recording shows the officer slamming Grant with a “shoulder chop” which dropped him to the ground, and then uttering the racial epithet.
The tape emerged during the preliminary hearing for the officer who shot and killed Grant but has received scant attention.
Asked if he made the statement, Pirone testified in court: “I don’t remember, but it very well may have happened.”
“Is that something you would have initiated on your own, calling him names?” a lawyer asked.
“No, I don’t talk like that,” Pirone said.
The lawyer representing Grant’s family told the Chronicle that Pirone’s remarks were “shocking and disturbing” and that “Pirone was out of control, assaulting Oscar Grant and taunting him with racial slurs, and none of the other officers seemed to put him in check.”
As RAW STORY reported in January, “The officer who punched Grant in the face is the same officer who investigators say had his knee on Grant’s neck when the 22-year-old man was shot. Aside from Mehserle, no BART officers have been charged with wrongdoing.
“There’s no question in my mind that that’s vivid powerful evidence that he committed a vicious physical assualt, unprovoked on a citizen, for absolutely no reason,” said UC Hastings and Golden Gate law professor Peter Keane, who believes the officer should be fired and charged with assault. “That punch was totally unjustified… That officer is committing a crime.”
“For example, Pirone testified that Grant had refused to put his hands behind him, but then was forced to admit that videotapes of the shooting showed Grant doing just that,” Robert Gammon writes.
“Pirone also said on the stand that Grant had kicked him in the groin moments before the killing. But then Pirone admitted that he never told investigators about the alleged kick during at least two interviews in the days after the killing. Pirone said he only remembered the kick later, after viewing videotapes of the incident – which, it should be noted, do not show any such kick, just as they do not show Grant calling Pirone a ‘Bitch-ass Nigger.’