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Film About BART Shooting Victim, Oscar Grant, Wins Top Sundance Prize

The dramatic film about the shooting of an unarmed man by BART police in 2009 was shown at the Sundance Film Festival this week.

By Bay City News Service

A dramatic film about the last day in the life of a man shot to death in Oakland by a BART police officer was awarded the top prize for a dramatic film at the Sundance Film Festival Saturday.

Fruitvale, written and directed by Bay Area filmmaker Ryan Coogler, was awarded the U.S. Jury Grand Prize for a dramatic film Saturday evening, according to festival organizers.

The film follows Oscar Grant in the hours leading up to his death at the Fruitvale BART station. Grant will be played by actor Michael B. Jordan, who is known for roles in The Wire, Friday Night Lights and Parenthood.

Grant, a 22-year-old Hayward resident, was fatally shot in the back in the early hours of Jan. 1, 2009 by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle.

Grant was unarmed at the time he was shot, and his death caused widespread outrage and protests in Oakland.

Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in a 2010 trial that was moved to Los Angeles County Superior Court because of intense publicity in the Bay Area. He was sentenced to two years in prison and released in 2011 due to credits for time served.

Mehserle testified that he intended to use a taser stun gun but accidentally drew his revolver instead.

Grant's family and several other men who were detained with him in the BART station at the time of the shooting have lawsuits pending against Mehserle and others connected with the incident.

 

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