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San Fransisco BART shooting

 
 
Reply Wed 7 Jan, 2009 01:20 pm



Oakland + Police + Shooting

If this officer gets off the hook, I don't want to think about the blow back.

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Type: Discussion • Score: 7 • Views: 3,328 • Replies: 20
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Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2009 04:06 am
@Diest TKO,
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/01/07/MN2N155BAH.DTL

Officer in BART shooting abruptly resigns
Demian Bulwa,Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writers

Thursday, January 8, 2009


(01-07) 19:14 PST OAKLAND -- The BART police officer who shot an unarmed man to death on a station platform early on New Year's Day quit the force Wednesday, avoiding an interview with police internal affairs investigators trying to get to the bottom of an incident that has prompted broad outrage.

Officer Johannes Mehserle, 27, was supposed to make a statement Wednesday about why he shot 22-year-old Oscar Grant as the supermarket worker lay face-down at the Fruitvale Station in Oakland, BART said.

Video recordings made by at least two BART passengers and shown repeatedly on TV news programs have prompted speculation that Mehserle fired without provocation or by accident after Grant and several friends were detained around 2 a.m. in the aftermath of a fight on a train.

Mehserle, however, did not show up for the scheduled interview at 11 a.m. - the same time the funeral for Grant began in his hometown of Hayward. Instead, the officer's attorney and the president of BART's police union appeared and handed over a short resignation letter, BART spokesman Linton Johnson said.

"We were prepared to compel him to talk, but he resigned," Johnson said. "We're going to continue the investigation, with or without him. ... There are many investigations that go on without the key person."

The resignation prompted cheers and applause when it was announced at an afternoon rally at the Fruitvale Station, where several hundred protesters called for the officer to be arrested and charged.

The protest was peaceful in the daytime but turned violent after dark as groups of people wandered through downtown streets, smashing storefronts and cars, including a police car, and setting some cars ablaze. Police officers in riot gear fired tear gas to break up the crowds, and BART temporarily shut down the Fruitvale, Lake Merritt and 12th Street stations.

Mehserle's resignation was effective immediately. Christopher Miller, an attorney for the officer, declined to say what Mehserle's explanation was for shooting Grant or why he had quit. He said Mehserle's defense would continue to be paid for by a statewide fund for police officers.

Mehserle's resignation means he does not have to answer questions about the shooting from BART internal affairs investigators. He has previously declined to talk to separate investigators from BART and the district attorney's office, who will decide whether he should be charged with a crime, officials said.

Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff said he plans to move quickly toward a decision on possible charges. Orloff met Wednesday with Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums' chief of staff, several elected officials and other community leaders who arrived at his Oakland office demanding information about the probe.

"These things normally take weeks rather than days, but I am trying to expedite this and get it resolved as quickly as we can," Orloff said.

BART had come under fire from John Burris, the attorney for Grant's family, for not having forced Mehserle to talk with internal affairs investigators since the shooting. Unlike in criminal investigations - in which a suspect has the constitutional right not to talk to police - officers involved in on-the-job shootings must talk to inspectors as part of administrative inquiries or risk being fired.

"I'm not surprised," Burris said of Mehserle's departure. "It should have happened long ago. It's not the end, of course, for the family. They would prefer that he be prosecuted and sent to jail."

Burris has filed a $25 million claim against BART on behalf of Grant's mother and 4-year-old daughter, the likely precursor to a lawsuit. In the claim, Burris said Mehserle "mercilessly fired his weapon" at Grant, who he said posed no threat to the officer or any of his colleagues on the Fruitvale Station platform.

Grant was unarmed when he was shot in the back; the bullet apparently went through him and ricocheted off the concrete platform, entering his torso. It was the ricochet wound that caused Grant's death, the Alameda County coroner's office said Wednesday.

BART's Johnson said Mehserle's attorney postponed a meeting between the officer and internal affairs investigators that had been set for Tuesday and wanted to reschedule it for next week. Instead, BART told Mehserle to show up Wednesday, Johnson said. He would not say where the interview was to have taken place.

BART, Mehserle and the officer's lawyer have all been silent about why Mehserle opened fire. But a source familiar with the investigation said BART is looking into whether Mehserle mistook his service weapon for a Taser stun gun, among many other possibilities.

For the first time, BART police Chief Gary Gee said Wednesday that Mehserle had been armed with a Taser. The agency has been using the devices for only a few weeks, and Gee said officers are prohibited from wearing them near their gun to avoid confusion.

Grant's death has attracted attention well beyond the Bay Area, driven in part by the fact that the shooting was filmed by at least two cell phone video cameras. Footage has been widely aired on television stations.

An official of the human rights group Amnesty International USA, Dalia Hashad, said Wednesday before Mehserle resigned that BART's delay in interviewing the officer "hints at the callousness to the worth of human life to a public that is all too familiar with racial profiling, police brutality and cover-ups."

Protesters who gathered at the Fruitvale Station on Wednesday, while cheering Mehserle's resignation, had nothing good to say about him.

"That's cowardice, if you are going to resign rather than talk," said Jemar "J. Smallz" Washington, 23, of Oakland.

Kelsi Arceneaux, 32, of Richmond said of the officer, "I'm sure he's suffering as well. But people's perception of him would be better if we could at least see that he's remorseful. Right now, we don't know anything."

0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2009 04:38 am
Watch this 22 minute video of the incident and interview with the person who filmed it. The last 5 minutes of it are especially informative.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/object/article?f=/c/a/2009/01/04/BAI9153CBO.DTL&o=0

0 Replies
 
snood
 
  2  
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2009 09:48 am
@Diest TKO,
Well, the "blowback" might be over-the-top, but I can understand that kind of reaction to another unaddressed brutality by police.

If this guy gets off, it will be another implicit statement that minorites can be beaten or executed at will by police. It's the only kind of reaction that seems to fit, to me.
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2009 09:59 am
@snood,
snood wrote:

Well, the "blowback" might be over-the-top, but I can understand that kind of reaction to another unaddressed brutality by police.

If this guy gets off, it will be another implicit statement that minorites can be beaten or executed at will by police. It's the only kind of reaction that seems to fit, to me.


Got to agree with you, snood.
snood
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2009 12:03 pm
@edgarblythe,
How you doin, edgar?
OGIONIK
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2009 12:08 pm
@snood,
if a police officer ever shoots one of my family or friends their done, i will wait outside until the morning and blow their ******* head off with a high caliber rifle.

the only way humans learn is fear and pain, it seems. police have almost zero accountability for their actions, they have an immunity to the laws of this country that is absolutely astounding. if i did even 1/4 of what police do on a regular basis id be in prison.

unless of course the said person actually did something stupid, not just lay on the floor facedown and get blasted.

the jackass prolly shot him on accident.

yay lets murder someone, then resign.

i hope someone soaks him in gas and lights him on fire in his sleep.

then puts it on youtube.
0 Replies
 
snood
 
  1  
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2009 08:50 pm
I just want to hear from the Oakland authorities - they have been eerily silent about this.
snood
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jan, 2009 04:49 pm
@snood,
The DA charged him with homicide today, and I hear they're holding him without bail. Step in the right direction. But I also hear he was arrested in Nevada - ??? wonder what's up there...
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jan, 2009 05:53 pm
@snood,
Been listening to this storyline for a while now. I am, of course, appaled. I'm interested in hearing more details about the whole investigation thing. I heard a great commentary from an Oakland man speaking about race and racism in the Bay Area (on NPR).
0 Replies
 
Diest TKO
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jan, 2009 07:00 pm
@snood,
He was in Nevada? Cognitive dissonance anyone?

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0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Wed 14 Jan, 2009 07:27 pm
http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_11447812?source=most_viewed#

Former BART cop arrested on murder charge
By Kelly Rayburn and Sean Maher
Oakland Tribune
Posted: 01/13/2009 09:19:48 PM PST

Authorities in Nevada arrested Johannes Mehserle, the former BART police officer
OAKLAND - Johannes Mehserle, the former BART police officer accused of shooting and killing an unarmed man New Year's Day, was arrested at 6:20 p.m. Tuesday on a murder charge in Nevada, officials confirmed.

Witnesses say Mehserle, 27, killed Oscar Grant III, 22, at an Oakland BART station in the early morning of Jan. 1, in a shooting that prompted massive protests after videos of the incident surfaced and were shown on television and on the Web.

Mehserle is being held in Douglas County, Nevada, on a no-bail warrant, law-enforcement officials said. Because he was arrested in Nevada, Mehserle will face an extradition hearing before returning to Alameda County, a process which could take at least a few days.

The jail staff reports Mehserle has been cooperative and is housed in a segregated area of the facility and on a "precautionary health and welfare watch."

Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff is expected to discuss the arrest further today. Mehserle had been moving from place to place in recent days as he faced numerous death threats. He was reportedly arrested without incident.

Before his arrest, Mehserle was believed to be in the Zephyr Cove area of Lake Tahoe, Nev. Douglas County, authorities said. Oakland Police advised them an arrest warrant for homicide from the Alameda County Superior Court was pending against the former officer.

According to a statement released by the Douglas County Sherriff, authorities in Nevada followed "investigative leads that led them to believe Mehserle was located at the 1000 block of Skyland Drive in Zephyr Cove. Once Douglas County authorities received confirmation the arrest warrant had been issued, officers contacted Mehserle's Sacramento-based attorney, Christopher Miller, and advised him there was an active warrant for his client's arrest."
Miller reportedly called Mehserle, "who in turn exited the residence and surrendered." Calls to Miller were not returned but his office confirmed the Skyland Drive appears to be a stone's throw away from Highway 50, and less than a mile from the waters of Lake Tahoe.

"The family will certainly be relieved that the (district attorney) has made some effort to bring him to justice," said John Burris, an attorney who is representing Grant's family in a $25 million claim against BART. "This is terrific. This is a very important step in healing the community."

Mehserle refused to be interviewed by either BART investigators or Orloff's office following the incident. Videos appear to show him shooting Grant as the 22-year-old was facedown on the ground at the Fruitvale BART station.

Mehserle's resignation last week took away BART's best chance at getting a statement from him because Mehserle could no longer be fired for remaining silent.

BART concluded its own investigation into the shooting Monday, but it remained unclear until Tuesday night when he might be detained.

Oakland assistant police chief Howard Jordan said he hoped news of the arrest would calm tensions among the more than 1,000 people expected to protest the shooting today.

"We're hoping that people act civilly and they take this recent action as a sign the (district attorney) was committed to doing (the) job and moving forward with a complete, thorough and unbiased investigation," Jordan said.

On Jan. 7, peaceful protests turned unruly, when a breakaway faction of demonstrators shattered storefront windows, smashed up cars and lit fires in downtown Oakland. More than 100 were arrested.

Earlier Tuesday, Mayor Ron Dellums said he understands the anger people feel, but said taking anger out on people who had nothing to do with the shooting is an injustice in its own right.

"It's fundamentally contradictory to stand up for justice and then dispense injustice," Dellums said. "You can't operate on both planes. You can't walk both sides of the street."
0 Replies
 
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 11:38 pm
This just in: Sad update.

Rachael Maddow wrote:
It's hard to know what to say after seeing that video and seeing the verdict it resulted in. You can note that there was not a single African American juror. That it was in LA instead of Oakland. That even if Officer Mehserle was reaching for his taser it was totally uncalled for. Was he going to put a jolt in Grant as he lay prone, for no reason?


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0 Replies
 
snood
 
  2  
Reply Thu 8 Jul, 2010 11:55 pm
F**k.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Jul, 2010 03:10 am
@snood,
a different view:

Quote:
The right verdict in Mehserle case


Involuntary manslaughter might seem an unsatisfying outcome for the killing of the unarmed Oscar Grant on Jan. 1, 2009, but it was consistent with the evidence that could be proved beyond a reasonable doubt against former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle. Anything less would have been an injustice. Anything more would have required conclusions about Mehserle's state of mind that were not sufficiently supported in trial.

.
.
.

Mehserle was the defendant in Los Angeles Superior Court, but the case also cast a disturbing light on the BART Police Department. Whether Mehserle was unfit for uniform by temperament or unprepared for a high-stress situation by inadequate training, the department cannot escape at least part of the culpability for the outrageous lapse of professionalism on that train platform.

In one important sense, this case was an affirmation of our justice system. The Alameda County district attorney's office should be credited for pushing the prosecution to the extent of the available facts. The conviction of a police officer for the killing of a civilian is a rarity in this society, but in this case, it was merited.



Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/07/09/EDU01EBK43.DTL#ixzz0tAtC1MQJ

failures art
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Jul, 2010 04:05 am
@hawkeye10,
Multiple videos from multiple angles show an unarmed man who is already subdued being shoot in cold blood, and this is the "right verdict?"

The author of your piece has **** for brains.

Quote:
second degree murder n. a non-premeditated killing, resulting from an assault in which death of the victim was a distinct possibility.

We don't have to know the Officer's state of mind to understand that a death was a distinct possibility.

The victim was already subdued, so saying that he mistakenly went for his tazer demands an answer to the question "why do you need to tazer a subdued man?" Any aggression directed toward the victim under these circumstances suggests the malice required to qualify this as murder.

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This was Murder.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Jul, 2010 12:36 pm
@snood,
I just read that article. I see their point re necessity for consideration of intent and the place of reasonable doubt - but am having trouble absorbing and believing the decision on intent was that there was a reasonable doubt.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Jul, 2010 01:13 pm
Not a good outcome.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Jul, 2010 01:19 pm
There is a case going on in Houston right now, where cops had a suspect subdued. He lay on his stomach with his hands on the back of his head when they commenced to kick and beat him. At least one high five was recorded on the surveillance video that is so far being kept from the public. Some of the officers have been fired. Some reprimanded. Either two or three will stand trial. I doubt they will get more than a slap on the wrist. Oh, yeah, the kid is black.
0 Replies
 
snood
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Jul, 2010 09:40 pm
http://i196.photobucket.com/albums/aa101/janblount/Oscar20Grant20Protester.jpg
0 Replies
 
 

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