OAKLAND—Anthony Pirone, a former BART police officer has been charged with collecting thousands of dollars in unemployment benefits illegally. Pirone, 41, was fired from BART in 2010 when it became apparent that he was part of the 2009 New Year’s Day shooting of an unarmed citizen, Oscar Grant, 22, who had gotten into a fight on a train.

Pirone allegedly used excessive force with Grant at the Fruitvale Station inOakland. The detainment resulted in a second officer shooting Grant in the back while attempting to arrest him, resulting in his death. Pirone was a witness in the trial and the other officer was charged with involuntary manslaughter.

He began collecting unemployment money after being fired from his job, but he joined the Army full-time and continued to collect unemployment until the end of 2011.  He reportedly made false claims on his unemployment forms. As a result, on April 9, Pirone was charged with two felonies: grand theft and making false statements on claim forms. He was deployed to Afghanistan last month and the case was put on hold.

Although Pirone’s attorney claims that his client received the unemployment checks legally, reports have stated that Pirone stated on claim forms that he was receiving no money even though he was in fact working full-time with the Army and earning full pay.

By Nedda Alishahi