Friday, July 2, 2010

Oh, Here we Go...

As the police agencies of the bay area prepare in earnest for the Johannes Mehserle murder trial verdict, several topics cross my mind.

1) Mehserle is white, Grant was black. Had either of those facts been different there would be no uproar. There would be no riots and no accusation of foul play if a black officer had shot a white person. But just because it is what it is there is no way it was anything less than murder in the eyes of the local black community. Why?

2) People will use any excuse to break shit. Funny thing is, most of the rioters arrested last time in Oakland weren't even FROM Oakland. They were from San Francisco, Berkeley and elsewhere. They came to Oakland and tore it up and it's not even their friggin' city! Again, why?

3) When will people of lower socio-economic status bother to educate themselves as to the difference between murder and manslaughter? The people who are calling for a murder conviction believe just because one person kills another it's murder. The problem there is that you have to prove intent, and from everything we have seen and heard during this fiasco, nothing makes it seem as though Mehserle's INTENT was to kill Grant.

Manslaughter can certainly be proved, but there may still be rioting because "It was murder and they let that mutha-fucka off light because he white."

4) Why do the rioters and protesters have to pick on Oakland. Remember, it was a BART cop who shot a guy from Hayward. Just because the station where the incident occurred and BART headquarters both happen to be in Oakland doesn't mean the violence should take over the whole city.

So, as we in the bay prepare for chaos you may not hear from me for a bit. But worry not. As General MacArthur once said...

I shall return...


Katherine said...

I agree with your points 100%. I am hoping that this does not turn into another Rodney King incident. Unfortunately whatever the jury's decision is, no doubt there are those who will use it as an excuse to cause a ruckus. Keeping you and the rest of the LEO's in my prayers for a safe and sane weekend as we wait for the verdict...

Melissa said...

Aargh. #1 rings very, very true. Here in Seattle there was a squack because a police officer was filmed trying to restrain a girl who he'd stopped for jaywalking. She tried to walk away, so he grabbed her. Her friend tried to pull the officer off her, so he punched the friend to make her back off. Conveniently, the film begins right when the habeus grabus starts - no record of the misbehavior that led up to that.

Go ahead, guess the races. Yup, white cop, black girls. Therefore, people scream racism - with absolutely no evidence for racism beyond skin color. Change the genders or skin colors, poof, no uproar. But no, two black girls could not conceivably have done anything that would merit a white male officer punching one of them. Ever. Even when it's on film.

It's possible the cop could have handled the situation better. It looked like he was trying to be gentle with the girl who tried to walk off, a guy in the same scenario would have been taken to the ground and handcuffed immediately. But the girls? WTF, people, it's a stop for jaywalking, which they do all the time in Seattle. Take your ticket and stop carrying on like he's trying to rape you.

lumenatrix said...

I have to say, I don't know enough about the case to be able to say for certain how I feel about and verdict that comes down- there is too much grey and I don't like making gut judgments when so much hangs in the balance so I'm not going to come anywhere near submitting an opinion there.

I will say I 100% agree with you about there needing to be more information out there about the difference between manslaughter and murder.So many arguments and hurt feelings come from misunderstandings like this.

That being said, good luck to all of you through this, may it be way easier than you're preparing for. I hope everyone, police and protesters alike, stay safe and keep things sane.

Percy The Black Cat said...

Ah, I have to interject with that ol' cliche of "well it could be worse you know"...which really, has that EVER really made anyone feel better? Nope I didn't think so.

Anyway, as to points 2 & 4, well here in Toronto we are still getting over the riots from the G20 and it's the same thing exactly, different city and different circumstances but same outcome. They (the Black Bloc hooligans as opposed to the legitimate PEACEFUL protestors) destroyed many shops, banks and set fire to 4 maybe 5 police cars. And attacked one while there were still 3 police officers inside. They also cut a police horse. I'm glad to say everyone is fine and no major injuries.

The problem now, is that the police, who did an outstanding job in very difficult conditions and circumstances are being very heavily critized for actions, inactions and everything inbetween. Which has lead to more protests, or rally's as the media is calling it. But no more violence thank god.

I certainly hope your city doesnt have to face anything like that, but if they do, stand firm and strong. Remeber material things can be replaced, but people can't.

Be safe

Cleanville Tziabatz said...

If Officer Mehserle had thought he shot his taser he would have said so right after the shooting. The fact that he never said this until all the videos came out indicates that it is a made up story.

The evidence of intent here is the same as the evidence of intent in every other murder-by-gun case, which is: the murderer pulled out a gun and shot the victim. Murderers don't have to say out loud: "I want this person to die."

Ann T. said...

Dear Officer Smith,
I wish you a safe Fourth of July Weekend and no riots. If that won't pass, then at least safety all around.
Ann T.

Michael said...

How much of this shit is true?

"footage from a cell phone was presented in court showing Pirone standing over the prone Grant before the shooting and yelling: "Bitch-ass nigger."

The motion also states that the man sitting next to Grant also told police he heard Mehserle say "I'm going to taze him."[4]

Mehserle then stood up, unholstered his gun, a SIG Sauer P226,[3] and fired a shot into Grant's back.[23] Immediately after the shooting, Mehserle appeared surprised and raised his hands to his face; according to Michael Rains, Mehserle's criminal defense attorney, several eyewitnesses described Mehserle as looking stunned.[3][26] Witnesses say Mehserle said "Oh my god!" several times after the shooting.[27] and many saw him put his hands to his head.[28]

The .40 caliber bullet from Mehserle's semi-automatic handgun entered Grant's back, exited through his front side and ricocheted off the concrete platform, puncturing Grant's lung.[26][29] According to one witness, Grant yelled, "You shot me! I got a four-year-old daughter!"[30] Grant died seven hours later, at 9:13 am, at Highland Hospital in Oakland.[

KD said...

amen. amen. amen.

It's not the citizens I worry about in situations like this, it's you LEOs. I'll be praying all the LEOs come home safe and sound.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. It irks me that you LEOs have to make split-second perfect choices (because obviously Mr. Mesherle made a bad one in this instance) and then get persecuted (and prosecuted) by the peanut gallery ~ be it lawyers, jurors, the public, the media ~ who have months and months to dissect every little thing that happened and tell you how you SHOULD have handled yourself. oy vey.

The moral of the story: comply.

Mad Jack said...

Something that no one talks about: When the Detroit Pistons lose a game, people riot. Stuff gets vandalized, cars are overturned, windows broken and graffiti is painted. Some people get arrested and others chased home.

Now, when the Detroit Pistons win a game, guess what happens? People riot. Stuff gets vandalized, cars are overturned...

I lived in Madison, Wisconsin for two years and during that time I had the opportunity to see the Mad City police in action on several occasions. They are great police, by the way. Mad City has several main events that used to result in a lot of vandalism, but the police found a way to put a stop to that. Anyone caught acting like a destructive ass hat got busted; out of town ass hats spent the night in jail, then were given the opportunity to post $2,500 minimum bail money to go back home.

The first year the jail was crowded, the second less so, and then things came to a nice halt. Mind you, there are still parties, still dancing in the street, occasional nudity and disorderly conduct, but the fighting and destruction of property and petty theft are pretty much gone. A lot of the other stuff gets ignored.

I suspect that, like Detroit, a certain number of people will instigate the riot, others will fall in with it and we're off to the races.

TheBronze said...

Be safe, brother!

On a side note: I hope Oakland burns. To the ground.

BootedCop said...


#1. Because those who hold those opinions are racists. Blacks are not exempt from being called racists when they exhibit racist beliefs. The media plays up the racism angle to the hilt. Never have you seen the incident referred to as "police officer shot unarmed man". It's always "white police officer shot unarmed black man."
#2. Because they are lawbreaking thugs who have no respect for others or their property.
#3. Never, because most of them don't have the intelligence to understand the difference, nor the moral character to care.
#4. See #3, and Oakland has more than its share of stupid racist thugs.

Candi Apple said...

Yes, this is sadly a no-win situation I keep refraining from writing about. Seems the newspapers are ridiculously biased in their coverage of this case and it's making me grumpy. I just hope they come back with a verdict quickly so that whatever will happen is done with quickly.

Jeff said...

The threat of violence can't be allowed to influence the legal system. Those that see a riot as a valid form of protest should be ashamed of themselves.
All I can say is hope for the best, expect the worst and stay safe. My thoughts are with you OS and all LEOs.

Officer "Smith" said...

Cleanville Tziabatz said...

"If Officer Mehserle had thought he shot his taser he would have said so right after the shooting. The fact that he never said this until all the videos came out indicates that it is a made up story."

Not so fast there Sparky...

The fact that Mehserle didn't say "It was an accident" right after, or even long after the incident does not mean it was not an accident. Fact is he didn't say ANYTHING.

As peace officers working in an overly litigious society, as demonstrated by the entire Mehserle fiasco, we are generally pretty tight lipped after an officer involved shooting. We may be compelled to give a public safety statement, i.e. how many rounds we fired, where they went, if we reloaded, etc. for the immediate safety of the public. But, we will not generally provide a statement of facts until, like you, we have an attorney present. It's our right just like anyone else.

The officers who were brought to the stand by Mr. Stein to testify that Mehserle never said it was an accident left out a very important part of the story. He not only didn't say it was an accident, he also didn't say it was intentional. He didn't say ANYTHING.

If saying nothing is an indication of guilt, then every person I have ever arrested who invoked their right to silence was just as guilty as you perceive Officer Mehserle to be.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some civil unrest to quell...

Cleanville Tziabatz said...

Fact is he didn't say ANYTHING.

Not true. he told at least one person (and I think more) that he thought Oscar Grant had a gun.

More importantly, most police shootings, there is a tendency to remain tight lipped. However, mistaking a gun for a taser (if such a thing has ever truly happened) is not a typical police shooting. It is a situation where a police officer needs to say first:

"hold your fire!"

and then

"I did not mean to shoot"

this does not apply to all police shootings, but it does apply to unintentional discharhes where there are a lot of people standing around.

Truth of the matter is, he meant to shoot. He would have kept on shooting except he remembered the cameras around.

Anonymous said...

Take white, black and cop out of the equation. One white guy is holding another unarmed white guy down on the ground. The white guy on top pulls out his gun and shoots the white guy he is holding down. Afterward the shooter says he thought he was pulling his taser out.

Would a jury buy this? Or would the prosecution successfully show that a gun and taser feel different in your hand? So it had to be on purpose. Maybe just a momentary lapse of reason?

Cleanville Tziabatz said...