It won’t bring his son back but it may help ease the pain.
The Huffington Post reports that a federal court has given Oscar Grant’s father permission to sue the Northern California public transportation officer who shot and killed his 22-year-old son on New Year’s Day in 2009.
MUST READ: 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Oscar Grant
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ rejected Johannes Mehserle’s bid for immunity and his claim that he was acting in his official capacity when he shot the young Black man as he lay facedown on the train platform.
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The Oscar Grant senior, who is serving a life sentence for murder, claimed the fatal shooting denied him the right of familial association. He now has to go-ahead the proceed with a civil rights lawsuit against Mehserle.
According to his attorney Panos Lagos, “Even a murderer is entitled to consideration of his feelings and the loss of his only child.”
Lawyers for Mehserle had urged the 9th Circuit to examine whether the relationship between Grant and his father was close enough to justify a civil rights lawsuit alleging loss of companionship.
But the court declined to determine the contours of the relationship, observing the facts were disputed.
“With no authority to support it, we decline Mehserle’s invitation to find, as a matter of law, that Grant and his father lacked a sufficiently strong father-son bond to support the father’s 14th Amendment claim,” the panel said.
During the criminal trial, Mehserle said he mistakenly fired his gun instead of his taser on the night of Oscar Grant Jr.’s death. In 2010, he was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to two years in prison. He served 11 months in the Los Angeles Central Jail before he was released early on good behavior.
Fruitvale Station, the Forest Whitaker-produced film about Grant’s life and death, is currently in the theaters.
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