Firefighter Claims Poor Treatment by Medics in Oakland BART Shooting

An Oakland Fire Department  employee embroiled in a long dispute with the agency has filed a lawsuit claiming that his colleagues provided inadequate treatment to Oscar Grant after he was fatally shot by a BART police officer. BART Shooting Coverage

Sean Gillis, who works in the training division at the Fire Department’s emergency medical services division, filed the whistle-blower suit Friday in Alameda County Superior Court. He says his superiors engage in racism, sexism and cronyism.

Among the claims Gillis makes in the 150-page complaint – which names the department as well as his supervisor, EMS chief William Sugiyama – are that Gillis was demoted and harassed after he began investigating Grant’s death Jan. 1, 2009.

“Grant had been shot at point-blank range,” the lawsuit says. “The bullet created an entry and exit wound. The paramedic applied an air-proof bandage only to the entry wound and left the exit wound exposed to air. Grant died from his wounds 5 1/2 hours later.”

Interim Fire Chief Mark Hoffmann said in an interview Wednesday that he had investigated the allegations by Gillis – who was not at the scene of Grant’s shooting at BART’s Fruitvale Station – and found them to be untrue. “The claims about Oscar Grant are preposterous, they really are,” Hoffman said.

The pathologist who examined Grant’s body, Dr. Thomas Rogers, has testified that measures such as CPR or putting direct pressure on the wound probably would not have saved the 22-year-old Hayward resident. He also said the bullet had not exited Grant’s body.

The former BART police officer who shot Grant, Johannes Mehserle, was released June 13 after serving half of a two-year sentence for involuntary manslaughter. He testified at his trial that he had accidentally shot Grant while intending to subdue him with a Taser shock weapon.
Oscar Grant was mortally wounded by a BART police officer.

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