BART reaches $1.3 Million settlement with Oscar Grant's mother

BART reaches $1.3 Million settlement with Oscar Grant's mother
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(CBS/KPIX/AP) OAKLAND, Calif. - The San Francisco area's BART transit agency Tuesday agreed to pay $1.3 million to the mother of Oscar Grant III, an unarmed black man who was fatally shot by white former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle in Oakland on Jan. 1, 2009.

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The payment to Wanda Johnson, coupled with a $1.5 million payment last year to Grant's young daughter, Tatiana Grant, settles a wrongful death and civil rights lawsuit that Oakland attorney John Burris filed in federal court on behalf of Grant's family in 2009, reports CBS station KPIX.

The total payment of $2.8 million represents only 5.6 percent of the $50 million that Grant's family had sought.

At a new conference at Burris' office, Johnson said she was glad the lawsuit has been settled but added, "No amount of money could replace Oscar, and my heart still grieves for my son," the station reports.

Grant, 22, who was on parole for two prior felony convictions but was unarmed, was shot and killed by Mehserle on the platform at the Fruitvale station after Mehserle and other officers responded to reports that there was a fight on a BART train.

Mehserle, who resigned a week after the incident, was charged with murder but he was convicted of the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter.

In a highly publicized trial, Mehserle admitted that he shot and killed Grant but said he had meant to use his Taser on Grant and fired his service gun by mistake.

Merserle was released from custody on June 13 after serving about one year of a two year sentence.

While BART's lawyer, Dale Allen, said BART made no admission of liability or constitutional violations in agreeing to the settlement, Burris said their decision to pay "a significant amount of money" is a major admission of wrongdoing, reports the station.

BART Board President Bob Franklin said the transit agency has learned some lessons from Grant's shooting death.

In a statement, Franklin said, "We have been continuously taking the actions needed to improve the BART Police Department to ensure our officers are better-trained and better-equipped and we're working with the community and our customers to earn their trust and confidence by keeping them safe and secure."

On Wednesday, BART will begin a settlement conference with seven other plaintiffs: Grant's father, Oscar Grant Jr., who is serving a life term for a conviction for first-degree murder, and six of Grant's friends who say they were mistreated by police officers before and after the shooting.

Complete Coverage of BART Shooting on Crimesider