Court: Grant’s dad can sue officer who killed son

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oscar-grant.jpgA woman leaves a sign after the sentencing of former Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer Johannes Mehserle in Oakland, Calif., Friday, Oct. 5, 2010. Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the fatal shooting of Oscar Grant at a BART station on Jan. 1, 2009. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Perry sentenced Mehserle to two years in prison. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

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.

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