It was early on New Year's Day in 2009 that Oscar Grant was shot and killed by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle at the Fruitvale Station, and on Wednesday the fifth anniversary of the tragedy was marked by two separate events in Oakland. First, just after midnight struck on New Year's Eve, a march organized by Occupy Oakland moved through downtown, with the usual shouts of "fuck the police" and the lighting of firecrackers. Then on Wednesday afternoon, a vigil led by Grant's family members took place outside Fruitvale Station featuring readings and performances.
In attendance on Wednesday was 27-year-old filmmaker Ryan Coogler who won raves last year for his film Fruitvale Station, depicting the events surrounding Grant's death. While the film was not nominated for any Golden Globe Awards, it's been buzzed about for having serious Oscar potential, in particular for the performance by Octavia Spencer as Grant's mother, Wanda Johnson. The film one the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance last January, and will be the recipient of the Producers Guild of America's Stanley Kramer Award, in recognition of films with important messages of injustice, social change, and environmental concern. Previous recipients of the award include Precious, Hotel Rwanda, and An Inconvenient Truth.
As the Oakland Tribune reports, Grant's now 9-year-old daughter and former girlfriend attended Wednesday's vigil, but neither have seen Fruitvale Station.
Below, a clip from Bay Area News Group of Tuesday night's midnight march.