Appeals court says Oscar Grant’s dad can sue transit officer who killed son on train platform

Slain 22-year-old's story was the inspiration for the film 'Fruitvale Station'

<p>A protest of Grant's shooting death at the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009.</p>

A protest of Grant's shooting death at the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009.

Credit: AP Photo

Are you a fan of In Contention?

Sign up to get the latest updates instantly.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal appeals court says Oscar Grant’s father can sue the Northern California transit officer who shot and killed his son on a train platform.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday rejected former officer Johannes Mehserle’s claim that he was acting in his official capacity when he killed the younger Grant during a 2009 New Year’s Day melee captured on video by several bystanders.

Violent demonstrations ensued after the videos showing the white officer shooting the unarmed black man were viewed by millions online.

The appeals court said it’s up to a jury to determine whether Mehserle was justified in shooting Grant in the back as he lay face down on the train platform.

Mehserle served 11 months in prison after he was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

The appeals court’s decision affirmed a lower court ruling.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Oscar-statues-outside-the-82nd-academy-awards-at-the-kodak-theater-in-hollywood-ca._article_story_main_primary

Everything: Academy Awards

Latest news, photos, reviews, interviews, videos and more.

2013-2014 OSCAR NOMINATIONS
UPDATED: MARCH 2, 2014