A second BART police officer has been fired in connection to the killing of Oscar Grant who was shot and killed early New Year's Day 2009, according to that man's lawyer. Grant was allegedly shot by another former BART police officer, Johannes Mehserle. Mehserle faces murder charges in the case. He resigned from the force. He says he thought he had a taser in his hand and never meant to shoot Grant.
Interim Police Chief Daschel Butler made the decision to fire officer Tony Pirone Thursday. Pirone is not charged in connection with the case, but has been the focus of protests. He is also named in several lawsuits connected to Grant's death.
Pirone's lawyer Bill Rapoport promises he will appeal the firing. "I just received the paperwork late today. I haven't had a chance to review the actual decision but I believe it's all a part of a political appeasement of a certain segment of the community."
Pirone and Officer Marysol Domenici were the first on the scene New Year's morning after they were called to the Fruitvale Station in response to a report of a fight on a train. On cell phone video from that night you can see and hear Pirone shouting profanities at several people who were detained after being taken off the BART train. Grant's attorney claims Pirone's "overaggressive behavior" contributed to the shooting.
Pirone's partner Domenici was fired last month. Her attorney told the Chronicle she lost her job because of the way she recounted what happened that night to investigators and in court testimony.
Chief Butler said he could not discuss the reasons for Pirone's termination. BART spokesman Linton Johnson said of Pirone via Blackberry, "He is no longer employed by the district effective today. We have little else to say at this point."
SF Gate reports Pirone has in the past described himself as a "big brother" to Mehserle while the two were on BART police force.
Now that Pirone has been fired, all three officers at the center of the Grant incident are no longer employed by BART.