Photo: Flickr User TheBlackHour.com
Protester calls for criminal charges against BART officer Tony Pirone during an April 8 demonstration at Embarcadero BART Station. Pirone was fired Thursday.
The BART police officer accused of punching Oscar Grant in the face and calling him a racial epithet moments before his death on New Year's Day 2009 was fired Thursday.
Officer Tony Pirone, who called Grant a "Bitch Ass Nigger," was also seen in a video attacking Grant. Pirone was the officer kneeling on Grant's back when then-BART Police officer Johannes Mehserle shot Grant in the back. Grant later died.
Mehserle was charged with murder and had his trial moved to Los Angeles. The trial is scheduled to begin in June.
Daschel Butler, interim BART police chief, made the decision to fire Pirone Thursday. Last week, Butler announced a temporary ban on the BART police force's use of Tasers.
Pirone is the second BART police officer to be fired in connection with the shooting of Grant. Last month, Pirone's partner Marysol Domenici was also fired. They were the first to arrive on the scene at the Fruitvale BART Station on New Year's Day 2009 when Grant was killed.
On April 8, 200 protesters disrupted the evening commute at Embarcadero Station in San Francisco to demand the firing of Pirone, along with the disbanding of BART police.
Photo Credit: KTVU
Marysol Domenici and Tony Pirone, accomplices to the 2009 New Year's Day shooting of Oscar Grant, have both been fired by BART in the last month.
Former BART officer Johannes Mehserle has been charged with murder.
BART police officer Emery Knudtson, who was present at the April 8 demonstration -- but was taunted until he left the platform -- is still on the force. Pirone, and Domenici were placed on paid administrative leave since last year's shooting. Some estimate the expense of keeping those officers on the payroll for 14 or more months to be upwards of $200,000.
BART reached a settlement with Grant's daughter for $1.5 million in January. Due to accrued interest, it is estimated to equal more.
Neither Butler or BART spokesman Linton Johnson could be reached for comment. But BART announced earlier today a new police bike patrol service in honor of Earth Day.
It is also expected that BART will name a permanent chief this week. Embattled former chief Gary Gee was allowed to retire without incident last year.
In an email, BART Chief Spokesperson Linton Johnson wrote, "I can simply say that Mr. Pirone is no longer an employee with the District effective immediately."
On BART.gov, a statement from Butler said, "I have announced to my staff that Officer Tony Pirone is no longer employed by the District. Mr. Pirone’s last day of employment was today."
Original KTVU report implicating other officers: