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Oscar Grant's cellphones returned to mother 15 years after his death at BART Fruitvale Station

Alameda County DA returns Oscar Grant's cell phones to mother 15 years after fatal BART shooting
Alameda County DA returns Oscar Grant's cell phones to mother 15 years after fatal BART shooting 00:54

Fifteen years after her son was shot and killed by a BART police officer at the Fruitvale station, Oscar Grant's mother finally got his cellphones back from the Alameda County District Attorney's Office on Thursday.

At a press conference in her Oakland office, District Attorney Pamela Price handed over two phones to the Rev. Wanda Johnson, who seemed to get emotional as she thanked Price for returning her son's property.

"I'm thankful to the District Attorney's Office and I just encourage families to don't give up, to continue to pursue justice for your loved one, let the world know what has happened with your loved one, and continue to seek justice for your family," Johnson said.

Wanda Johnson, Pamela Price
Rev. Wanda Johnson, mother of Oscar Grant, looks at his cellphones as Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price looks at a news conference in Oakland, Calif. on Feb. 22, 2024.  Kiley Russell/Bay City News

She told reporters that she's looking forward to getting the phones home so she can charge them and go through Grant's photos and other content, although she already knows what his final photo was.

"So, Oscar's last picture in his phone was of the officer who shot and killed him, pointing his Taser at him," Johnson said.

She also said his last call was to his fiancee.

"He was up on the platform talking to her, telling her that (BART police) were beating them up for no reason," Johnson said. "And so I definitely wanted all his property back and it means a lot to be able to look in and see... what other pictures he had taken for me."

Grant was killed on New Year's Day 2009 by then-BART Officer Johannes Mehserle, who was responding with other officers to reports of a possible fight on a train.

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

He was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to two years in prison but was released early because of credits he had accumulated.

The phones that Price gave to Johnson on Thursday were found in Grant's possession at the time of his death.

Price said her predecessor Nancy O'Malley's administration refused to return the phones "for reasons that remain unexplained" and vowed to create protocols so families of victims won't have to endure excessive wait times to get their loved one's property back.
Johnson said that while the phones' return won't bring closure, they will help her feel a little closer to her son.

"It does my heart glad," she said. 

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