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OAKLAND, Calif. – As struggles continue throughout the country to end the continuing stream of murders of unarmed people of color by law enforcement, a case many observers say foreshadowed today’s efforts has reemerged in a new and surprising way.

In the early hours of New Year’s Day 2009, following reports of a scuffle on a Bay Area Rapid Transit train, 22-year-old retail worker and doting father Oscar Grant was shot in the back and killed by BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle on the platform of Oakland’s Fruitvale BART station. In one of the early such uses of cell phone cameras, bystanders videoed the interactions leading up to Grant’s death.

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