Prisons

A New Year's Police Murder in San Francisco Bay Area

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Three police officers at the Fruitvale BART station early on New Year's Day have a young black man, Oscar Grant, pinned on the ground, and one of them shot him in the back and murdered him. (Grant and a group of other people were being held and questioned regarding reports of a fight on the train. He was not armed.)

Video report from local news station KTVU here. News account from San Francisco Chronicle here (and the video seems to fully corroborate the worst version of the story from witnesses in the written account).

NEXT: One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, $100,000 Bluefin

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  1. I expected Radley to be the one to post this.

  2. Well…

    FUCK!!!!

  3. If you watch the video, it’s like the cop got tired of wrestling with a drunk idiot, and decided just to kill him. What the fuck, over?

  4. Maybe he just wanted to show everybody that he was the only one professional enough to have that Glock fotay.

  5. If he didn’t want to get shot he shouldn’t have been in the BART station.

  6. Wow. Fuck that cop.

  7. Maybe he just wanted to show everybody that he was the only one professional enough to have that Glock fotay.

    As horrific as this story is, I had to work pretty hard to keep from bursting out laughing in the office just now.

  8. This seems like such an obvious case of police brutality that I’d go as far to say that with that video, the officer involved only has an 80% chance of getting off with the usual, “cleared of any wrong doing…”

  9. Anyone want to take a $1000 bet that the police officer will not be charged with a crime?

  10. As horrific as this story is, I had to work pretty hard to keep from bursting out laughing in the office just now.

    I was right with you on that one.

    Second that “FUCK!” comment.

  11. The State= Violence
    Cops= Murderers
    Any Questions?

  12. Double FUCK! after watching the video. Outnumbered 3:1, the kid was getting jacked up. You’d expect a bit of squirming about, but police should be able to deal with that. Wow, just wow, how in the hell can the guy justify backing off to pull his gun in the first place? There’s no way in hell the kid could be presenting the cops with deadly force while face down on the ground with two cops sitting on him controlling his arms and another at his side.

    Wow.

  13. he had it coming for him anyway. I mean, 4 AM on the BART in Oakley, he was guilty of SOMETHING. Saves a lot on court fees and jail costs… right?

  14. Dont read the paper’s comment section

  15. Is the Fruitvale Police Station burning?

  16. Triple FUCK!

    a witness said Grant cried out, as he lay on the platform, “Please don’t Tase me, I have a 4-year-old daughter.”

    I guess they didn’t tase him.

  17. Maybe the cop was trying to tase the kid, but grabbed his gun instead because of adrenaline/idiocy. Does that make any sense?

  18. Am I missing something? I can’t see where the kid gets shot. I hear it, but I can’t see it. What is the exact minute/second spot where it happens? I hate grainy video.

    Regardless, there were a ton of cops there. There is just no reason whatsoever to shoot an unarmed guy who is already on the ground. Expect “I thought I saw a knife or gun” as a defense.

  19. I’m glad the police officer got some well-deserved R&R:

    “a BART police officer for almost two years, has been placed on administrative leave during an investigation.”

  20. Maybe the cop was trying to tase the kid, but grabbed his gun instead because of adrenaline/idiocy. Does that make any sense?

    Unfortunately, that thought crossed my mind too.

  21. Expect “I thought I saw a knife or gun” as a defense.

    I agree, but realistically, how the hell if you’re face down with a cop on each arm, go for a weapon? And, if you’re a cop on the back of a guy who is on his face reaching for a weapon, do you back up and create space for the guy to move? In all the training, both martial arts and firearms, you never back up and break contact in that situation, you do just the opposite.

    ::sigh:: But, I agree, that’s what it will be.

  22. since that little girl’s father was just begging to be shot, now she’ll get the proper parenting as a ward of the state.

  23. Dont read the paper’s comment section

    Should have listened to your advice on that one. What rock did they dig some of the commenters out from under? One guy basically said that no matter what happened, he has no sympathy for the victim since he got what eh deserved. Others didn’t seem to read the article or look at the video and make conjectures that 30 seconds’ effort would have countered. I don’t understand why so many of them assume that whatever the victim may have done earlier justified what happened to him.

  24. Warty-We’re not the only ones

    One source familiar with the investigation said BART is looking into a number of issues, including whether the officer had meant to fire his Taser stun gun rather than his gun

    From here.

    But, there is this pesky little detail in the way, from the same story:

    Many Bay Area police departments that use Tasers – including BART – force officers to take precautions, such as wearing them on the opposite side of their strong hand and facing backward. This requires officers to reach across their body to retrieve them.

    The guys I’ve worked with have it butt forward on the weak side, so they have to reach across. This may be what they mean by “facing backward”, kind of like an extended belly draw. Damn near impossible to go for a straight firearm draw when you’re aiming for something clear on the others side of the body.

  25. well this case clearly shows an injustice…all I can say is I hope the Death of this person is judged correctly…(to hell with all these corrupt Cops!) x(

  26. This requires officers to reach across their body to retrieve them.

    I was at a state trooper barracks today on concealed carry business and noticed that they were wearing tasers…on their weak side.

    So is anybody going to give me the minute/second mark that the shooting occurs?

  27. Other Matt – do not underestimate the powers of idiocy.

    I don’t understand why so many of them assume that whatever the victim may have done earlier justified what happened to him.

    To quote my Pollack step-grandfather: “There sure is a lot of controversy over that nigger that was killed. I know my place in white society, they need to learn theirs!”

  28. Epi – 2:27, you cockstained lazy shiteater.

  29. since that little girl’s father was just begging to be shot, now she’ll get the proper parenting as a ward of the state.

    I thought this story was depressing enough, but i was wrong.

  30. Are you watching a different video than me, Warty? I cannot see any details. My eyes work fine. WTF? Maybe that shit I just ate is making me woozy.

  31. I can’t wait to hear what the cop’s story is going to be.

  32. it’s only an isolated incident! It’ll never happen again, since there’s an investigation. See? All better.

  33. From the newspaper report:

    He has not been publicly identified

    You’d better believe that if this was anyone other than a cop he would have been named.

  34. Remember folks, this is San Francisco we’re talking about. It is enlightened progressivism central. They’re in love with big government, but too stupid to realize that stories like this are the side effect of big government. When you elevate the government above the individual, don’t be surprised that you’ll have a few government employees who think they’re better than everyone else.

  35. I’m watching the first link, Epi. At around 2:27, you hear the pop and then a collective, “Oh shit!” from the crowd, and then the cop raises his hands. The video is too grainy to see any real details, unfortunately.

  36. OK, thanks, Warty. I thought I was totally missing an explicit shot of the gun being pulled and fired.

    Also, the cries of “they shot him” were a good indicator that…someone got shot.

    The London cops who shot the Brazilian are getting reamed, and with very good cause. Hopefully the same will happen here. Even if it was a taser mistake–fuck you. A man is dead.

  37. “others side” was supposed to be “other side”. Fingers got a bit ahead of myself.

    Other Matt – do not underestimate the powers of idiocy.

    I don’t, believe me I don’t. Did you read that second link? Already the police chief is feathering the excuse box. Makes you sick. The guy was reaching for his cuffs, then stands up and just flat out shoots the kid, and the chief is saying “But Gee said he found the footage to be inconclusive,”. I mean, what…the….fuck..? I see the guy stand up, pull out his firearm, and shoot. He shoots a guy on the ground with two cops holding him down. How is that “inconclusive”?

    you cockstained lazy shiteater.

    That was rather uncalled for. If it were joe, then I would understand, but in context it was rather uncalled for.

  38. In most civilized countries this would cause a riot. Not here, we Americans cant tear ourselves away from our Tivo/Xbox/Internet long enough.

  39. I know it’s a stretch because of the weak-side problem, but the taser-mistake theory at least for now seems like the only explanation. Any alternative I can think of seems even more insane.

  40. The London cops who shot the Brazilian are getting reamed, and with very good cause. Hopefully the same will happen here.

    You’re a funny guy, Epi, I like you. But I don’t think the cops are going to kill you last.

  41. I’ve got $20 that says the killer will go with the “I meant to taser him” defense, and get off.

    Begging the question, of course, of why you would need to taser someone with two cops sitting on him.

    I know in Dallas, the transit cops are famously the worst of the worst. Is the same true of BART cops?

  42. I see the guy stand up, pull out his firearm, and shoot. He shoots a guy on the ground with two cops holding him down. How is that “inconclusive”?

    It doesn’t show a reason for the man to have been shot. Therefore, it is inconclusive.

    Welcome to the state.

  43. That was rather uncalled for. If it were joe, then I would understand, but in context it was rather uncalled for.

    Oh no, you misunderstand me. I just meant to gently chide Epi on the laziness of his shiteating performance of late. Rest assured, I have the highest regard for him and his shiteating over the years.

    Heh heh heh…shiteating.

  44. ktc2,

    An Xbox 360, sure. But a mere Xbox? You’re just trying to be provocative.

  45. My fav – in the comments section – the people that criticize the family – the family that just lost their son/father/borther/ friend – for hiring a lawyer and seeking a “big payozut”? As if any amount of money would be acceptable for what was done.

    WTF????

    Seriously, people forget that tort law also protects the tortfeasor – one, by assuaging the need for self help (i.e. retribution) and two, by avoiding jail for acts of negligence (which is probably not the case here). If you remove tort law – you remove those protections for the tortfeasor. Just a thought.

  46. I know in Dallas, the transit cops are famously the worst of the worst. Is the same true of BART cops?

    Yes. Based on my experience, I would rank LE in the bay area as follows:

    1) BART Police (worst)
    2) Local/City Police
    3) County Sheriffs
    4) State Park Police
    5) Highway Patrol (most professional & courteous)

    Of course this can vary based on individual officers.

  47. I recall in law school the (there) famous cases about shotgun traps, which were considered against public policy in some part because they might go off and shoot someone who has a “right” to be in your home–like cops and firemen. I’ll grant the latter, but I’m less sure about the former.

    Of course, the main reason against those traps is that most jurisdictions don’t permit property owners to use lethal force to defend mere property (in other words, you have to have some level of fear of imminent harm to yourself or to someone else first), but I remember judges tossing around the dead cop thing, too.

  48. “a BART police officer for almost two years, has been placed on administrative leave during an investigation.”

    Maybe I’ll knock down a BART cop and shoot him in the back, just to see how long my “administrative leave” is.

    Oh…wait. No. Death row, video or no video. Never mind.

    Boy, if Radley had posted this, I’d probably really be pissed.

  49. You’re a funny guy, Epi, I like you. But I don’t think the cops are going to kill you last.

    Remember, Warty, when you said the cops were going to kill me last? YOU LIED.

    I just meant to gently chide Epi on the laziness of his shiteating performance of late.

    Dude, it’s been all dark and sticky and hard to chew lately. I need to change my diet, I think.

  50. All you women who want a man of the street,
    Don’t know which way you wanna turn.
    Just keep a’ coming,
    And put your hand out to me.
    ‘Cause I’m the one who’s gonna make you burn.
    I’m gonna take you down.
    Down, down, down,
    So don’t you fool around.
    I’m gonna pull it, pull it,
    Pull the trigger.

    Shoot to thrill, play to kill.
    Too many women with too many pills, yeah.
    Shoot to thrill, play to kill.
    I got my gun at the ready, gonna fire at will, yeah.

    I’m like evil, I get under your skin.
    Just like a bomb that’s ready to blow.
    ‘Cause I’m illegal, I got everything
    That all you women might need to know.
    I’m gonna take you down,
    Yeah down, down, down.
    So don’t you fool around.
    I’m gonna pull it, pull it,
    Pull the trigger.

    Shoot to thrill, play to kill.
    Too many women with too many pills.
    Shoot to thrill, play to kill.
    I got my gun at the ready, gonna fire at will,
    ‘Cause I shoot to thrill, and I’m ready to kill.
    I can’t get enough, and I can’t get my fill.
    I shoot to thrill, play to kill, yeah.

    Pull the trigger, pull it!
    Pull it, pull it!
    Pull the trigger!

    Ah, shoot to thrill, play to kill.
    Too many women with too many pills.
    Shoot to thrill, play to kill.
    I got my gun at the ready, gonna fire at will,
    ‘Cause I shoot to thrill ,and I’m ready to kill.
    And I can’t get enough, and I can’t get my fill.
    ‘Cause I shoot to thrill, play to kill.

    Yeah!
    Shoot you down, yeah.
    I’m gonna get you down on the bottom,
    Shoot you, I’m gonna shoot you.
    Ooh yeah, yeah, yeah,
    I’m gonna shoot you down, yeah, yeah,
    I’m gonna get you down, down, down, down, down.
    Shoot you, shoot you, shoot you, shoot you down,
    Shoot you, shoot you, shoot you down.
    I’m gonna shoot to thrill,
    Play to kill,
    Shoot to thrill.

  51. In most civilized countries this would cause a riot. Not here, we Americans cant tear ourselves away from our Tivo/Xbox/Internet long enough.

    We are no longer a civilized country. We’re a domesticated* one.

    *Thank you wikipedia “Domestication […] refers to the process whereby a population of animals or plants becomes accustomed to a controlled environment […].”

  52. that Glock fotay.

    Ahhhh, that’s the answer. Those damned Glock’s and their no-safety’s. No wonder this happened. I knew it was a matter of time.

  53. The guys I’ve worked with have it butt forward on the weak side, so they have to reach across.

    Maybe this cop had just been transferred from the department of transporation, and thought he was reaching for his summons book…

  54. “Dont read the paper’s comment section”

    The SF Chronicle comment section is notorious for drawing kooks from all over the country just looking to pick a fight. I seriously doubt that most of the insensitive and stupid comments are from people who live anywhere near the bay area.

  55. Just watched the video. As an firearms owner of many a year, it looks like his intention was to shoot him. Whether the taser argument holds up or not (or is even made, for that matter) we won’t know for a while. But from what I could tell, he grabbed his firearm, carefully aimed it (two handed) and pulled the trigger, then you see his left hand move away from the firarm. I do have to admit that it seems that there’s a moment of surprise or disorientation that the officer seems to show.

    Almost like he was surprised that the shot went off. Either way, someone’s in big trouble.

  56. Apparently the deceased possessed the ability to menace a police officer with his back. This is a rare ability, but not unheard of. Rodney King, I believe, was another well-known example.

    -jcr

  57. I bet if it wasn’t so cold outside, the Blacks would be rioting right now like the Greek anarchists.

  58. Would it count as karma if the bullet had richocheted into the balls of the cop that fired it…?

    just askin

  59. Better the felon is shot than the hero officer.
    There is a thin blue line between order and anarchy and we owe them our support.

  60. “Better the felon is shot than the hero officer.”

    Oh, yea, that was heroic alright.

  61. FUCK!!

    And they say I’m the one with the vapors when I say we are living in a police state.


  62. There is a thin blue line between order and anarchy and we owe them our support.

    I liked that show, pity cops aren’t more like Raymond Fowler and his wacky crew….sniff.

  63. Let’s not freak out here, people. It’s all part of the plan.

  64. I can’t buy the “I was reaching for my Tazer” argument. There is a several second pause between the drawing of the gun and the shot – more than enough time for the cop to have realized that he had the wrong weapon.

    As Paul @7:45 pointed out, the cop appears to take careful aim before firing.

    BTW: Am I right in assuming that “administrative leave” means the cop still gets paid?

    Lester: Juanita is an ironic troll.

  65. that “administrative leave” means the cop still gets paid?

    Yes, and afaik it’s sop whenever a cop shoots someone.

  66. I’ve got $20 that says the killer will go with the “I meant to taser him” defense, and get off.

    I’ve got $20 that says the killer got off when he shot the guy.

  67. The only thing that would have been better would be if both folks who taped the action had waited until the police had made the results of their investigation public.

    CB

  68. Aresen, You may be right, that the cop quite deliberately shot Grant in the back, but the one thing that makes so hard to accept is I don’t see what his motive could be.

    BTW, I just looked at the video again, the one where you can see the shot being fired, and it looks as if the shooter puts both hands to his head after firing — as if in a gesture of shock or emotional upset. Does it look like that to anyone else?

  69. Aresen, You may be right, that the cop quite deliberately shot Grant in the back, but the one thing that makes so hard to accept is I don’t see what his motive could be.

    He’s a cop. Trying to understand him as one would understand a fellow human being is futile; one must vitiate human sympathies in order to be a police officer.

  70. A pistol with a fully-loaded magazine weighs a hell of a lot more than a taser. This is a case of someone psychologically unfit for duty or so poorly-trained that the competency of the entire department should be questioned.

    In the very brief period where I was training to enter the criminal justice system, we were taught things such as “de-escalation” in violent situations. These cops took a non-violent situation and escalated it.

  71. As a thought experiment:

    If Oscar Grant had been wearing something made of strong metal – say a back prosthesis – that had been hit by the bullet and caused it to reflect back and kill the officer, does anyone seriously doubt that Grant would be facing a murder charge? Or that there would be a great gathering of police officers from all over the US and Canada to parade in tribute to a “brave officer killed in the line of duty”?

    In fact, even as matters stand, I’d be willing to bet that, if the officer were to, in the old tradition, “do the honorable thing” and eat a bullet*, there would still be that great parade of police officers.

    *Assuming he has a conscience. I rather hope he has a conscience, so he can be tormented for the rest of his life by the knowledge of what he has done.

  72. I want everyone to be clear here, this was not SFPD, this was not Oakland PD, no riots at the Fruitvale station. This was *BART PD*. Yes, our public transit system has its very own (apparently very poorly trained) police force.

    I always thought they were a step above mall rent-a-cops. Apparently I was wrong, I don’t think mall rent-a-cops shoot people in the back. But please Radley, I’m waiting for you to prove me wrong….

  73. He doesn’t have a conscience.

  74. Lester:

    I don’t think motive enters into it. The cop may simply have been in a killing rage. One can do things quite deliberately when one is enraged, but that does not mitigate responsibility.

    I haven’t rewatched the video. I hope the cop did have an ‘omigod-what-have-I-done’ moment. I cannot think of a worse punishment that to have to live with that knowledge for the rest of one’s life.

    My sympathies to Oscar Grant and his family. One of the people interviewed said they hoped that the family could see the videos. I truly hope they never do. No one should have to see their son/brother/father/loved one die.

  75. The Fark headline is good:

    After California police officers accidentally make unarmed man lie face down on the floor and accidentally handcuff him, one of them accidentally draws his gun and accidentally shoots the guy in the back

  76. Nothing to worry about here, civilians. The police officer did not intend to shoot the suspect, he was just reaching for his Taser. The same thing could happen to any cop, no matter how good.

    So like I said, nothing to worry about. Oh and we serve and protect and stuff.

  77. The officer quite clearly intended to draw his pistol. Uniformed police generally carry pistols in holsters with secondary retention devices which make it more difficult for an attacker to steal the sidearm. In order to draw from one of these holsters it requires very specific action to free the pistol prior to the draw.

    In addition, his draw took forever, as if he had not had much practice drawing his weapon…it took a very long time to draw. He begins the draw at 2:20 in the video and has completed removing the gun from the holster by 2:23. He fires the shot at 2:25. A 3 second draw is an eternity, much less 5 seconds from hand on the butt of the gun to firing the shot.

  78. Private cops never do this sort of thing. They’re always polite and considerate. Just ask Don Corleone. Ah, if only we could privatize the police and take them out of the hands of the evil state, all would be well. Give us a plutocracy, or give us death!

  79. ATHENS – The shooting of a Greek policeman Monday escalates a simmering conflict between police and leftist groups – and raises new concern over a resurgence of the militant left in a country with a long history of such violence.

    Greece has been wracked by violent street protests and attacks on government and police facilities since the Dec. 6 killing of a 15-year-old boy by a policeman.

    The incident Monday, which left 21-year-old policeman Diamandis Matzounis in critical but stable condition, marks a dramatic intensification of the violence. Although protesters have previously destroyed property and hurled Molotov cocktails at police, gun violence is extremely rare.

    Police say they have linked one of the guns used in the attack to an extreme left-wing group calling itself Revolutionary Struggle, which has claimed responsibility for several previous incidents. In January 2007, the group attacked the US Embassy in Athens with a rocket-propelled grenade.

  80. “I always thought they were a step above mall rent-a-cops. Apparently I was wrong, I don’t think mall rent-a-cops shoot people in the back. But please Radley, I’m waiting for you to prove me wrong….”

    The BART PD is actually a state police agency like CHP or UCPD. I would think they would have better training and stricter qualifications than the local cops but who knows…

  81. I gotta tell a story cuz it happened near me. Guy sideswipes an SUV on the freeway and runs. SUV chases the Guy at speeds upward of 100 mph on a crowded freeway in the middle of the day. Guy exits the freeway, pulls into a parking lot. SUV follows and the driver jumps out with a gun and shoots the runner dead in the parking lot. Wait for it…..SUV guy is an off duty LAPD (pretty sure it was LAPD).

    The cop endangered how many people chasing the loser? Over a fender bender. And then executed the guy in the parking lot full of people. Charges? Nope. Turns out the runner was a dirt bag, which bolsters the cops case.

    At the least, he should be fired for bad judgement. In an honest world he should be tried for manslaughter.

    I understand the cop being pissed but if it was me or you, we’d be in jail.

  82. “Private cops never do this sort of thing. They’re always polite and considerate. Just ask Don Corleone. Ah, if only we could privatize the police and take them out of the hands of the evil state, all would be well. Give us a plutocracy, or give us death!”

    This has existed in liberal San Francisco since 1847 and as far as I know they have never shot an unarmed citizen in the back.

    http://sfpatrolspecpolice.com/SFPatrolSpecialPolice-history.html

  83. I cannot think of a worse punishment that to have to live with that knowledge for the rest of one’s life.

    Oh, I can.

    You are projecting your virtue onto this man, Areson. Lots of people sleep just fine at night.

  84. Private cops never do this sort of thing. They’re always polite and considerate. Just ask Don Corleone.

    Actually, if you had any sense you’d have said THE PINKERTONS. Don Corleone wasn’t a cop. Actually, he wasn’t a real person, although his character was loosely based on Frank Costello.

    When I was a yoot, private security cops carried guns. Bank guards generally had a 12 gauge and a .45. It was kind of cool to go to the bank with my ma and see that.

  85. Maybe the Bart cops suck because no one wants to be a Bart cop. So the selection they have to choose from is far fewer, so they can’t be so selective?

  86. Is the same true of BART cops?

    Bottom feeders, Man.

    In Californicate, first choice is the CHP. Then they just keep applying down the line and as the rejects pile up, they just keep moving down. I mean, who wants to be a BART cop?

  87. I’m pretty convinced that the officer meant to use a taser gun, and I’m sure that will be his defense.

    But then again, wouldn’t a taser have been totally unnecessary in that situation?? You’re telling me three cops can’t hold down one semi-struggling guy, without a taser?

    This cop needs to spend some time behind bars no matter what.

  88. the sf chronicle has identified the cop who did the shooting as johannes mehserle. the classified ads site harmony-central.com shows a user named johannes mehserle, probably the same one, whose email is jmehserle@sbcglobal.net. since the bart police chief hasn’t bothered to interview this guy in the five days since the shooting, why doesn’t someone from reason.com shoot him an email (sorry) soliciting an excloo on his side of the story? i’d do it myself, but i’m not a journalist and i’d be a little creeped out to see an email from a murderer in my inbox.

  89. At the least, he should be fired for bad judgement. In an honest world he should be tried for manslaughter murder.

    You are too kind by half.

  90. From the video, it looked like before the shooting a lot of people in the station were getting rowdy. Some were yelling “Chick cop! Chick cop!” because there was a female police officer trying to control the crowd. More people were walking up to the cops who were detaining people involve in a fight, and the situation looked like it was getting out of control.

    My guess is that the cop was nervous because of the crowd, afraid that the female officer might be overpowered, and pulled his gun. He should have aimed the gun in a safe direction and kept his finger off the trigger. Instead, he had the gun pointed at the guy on the ground.

  91. Interesting exchange from another board:

    Homer900 wrote:
    [quote]Hardly premeditated, Vigilance. More likely than not, a really bad accident that does not relieve the officer or BART PD.

    I have a different spin. What I see watching the video is three LEOs with a plan. The plan was that: (i) one LEO was going to put a knee down on the “perp’s” neck to immobilize his top; (ii) a second LEO was going to sit on the “perp’s” legs to immobilize his legs; (iii) a third LEO was going to get the “perp’s” hands behind his back; and then (iv) once the “perp” was helpless and immobilized, the third LEO was going to torture him with the taser gun to punish him for a “crime” that he probably never would have been charged with. Before moving along with the analysis, it is noted that this plan of the LEOs amounted to crime(s) — that is, a conspiracy to commit battery and/or violate the “perp’s” civil rights. Even if they had to arrest the “perp,” there was no reason to torture him with electroshock. And therein lies the crime. It was committed as soon as the first overt act happened — that is, as soon as the knee went down on the neck. All three LEOs are guilty of it.

    Moving on to what happened with the plan, step (i) went according to plan. Step (ii) went according to plan. Step (iii) went according to plan.

    However, step (iv) did not go according to plan. Rather, the third LEO, in his lust for torture, accidentally pulled out a firearm, instead of his taser. He aimed and shot the “perp” dead.

    TRIVIA QUESTION for the policemen here:

    Do you know what happens when a victim is accidentally killed during the commission of a violent felony? More specifically: (i) do you know what happens to the person who does the accidental killing? (ii) do you know what happens to the accomplices?

  92. How can anyone watching the videotape “know” that the officers were planning to torture the victim with a taser instead of just arresting him?

    Why would they carry out this plan in a crowded BART station with a crowd of New Years celebrators standing around, some of whom began to approach the officers?

  93. Abdul, Dave W’s just off his meds again. Don’t bother engaging him.

  94. This story shows us once again the importance of video evidence in addressing police brutality and/or incompetence.

    If this video did not exist, we can all imagine the absurd fantasy version of events that the police department would be trying to sell to the media now.

    We also all know that despite the fact that private citizens are expected to submit to ever-increasing video surveillance every day, the police in many areas still feel entitled to order onlookers to stop taping and leave the area, and regularly seize cameras and cell phones and arrest people who refuse to comply with their orders with regard to taping.

    I think this is one of those times when we have to use the decay of federalism as an aid to liberty instead of a harm. Since local police officers are subject to federal charges if they violate the civil rights of a suspect, we need a federal law, or an update to existing federal civil rights law, making it illegal for a police officer in any jurisdiction to order a citizen to stop filming an event, to interfere with such filming, or to seize the work product of such filming. We can justify this law as an effort to protect evidence in potential civil rights cases.

    If anyone in America needs to be subjected to constant video and audio surveillance of their every move, it’s the various police forces. No one deserves it more. We could release the remaining Guantanamo inmates in the middle of Des Moines, and not even they would deserve total perpetual surveillance more than every last beat cop.

  95. I’ve long felt that carpet-bombing San Francisco into the ground would be the single biggest improvement that could be made to this country.

  96. In Californicate, first choice is the CHP.

    Interesting. On the other side of the country, local deputy types tend to make more than the state trooper/state police/whatever you call them.


    If anyone in America needs to be subjected to constant video and audio surveillance of their every move, it’s the various police forces.

    That would be commensurate with their authority, and justifiable. This particular video looks worse in the morning than it did yesterday afternoon, btw.

  97. How can anyone watching the videotape “know” that the officers were planning to torture the victim with a taser instead of just arresting him?

    The question isn’t whether someone watching the video would know that the LEOs had a plan. the question is whether the LEOs themselves had a plan.

    When you have one officer sitting on a guys neck and another on his legs and his hands are behind his back, it is not (emphatically NOT) time for a taser. Rather, it is time for handcuffs.

    IOW, when the officer on the neck is asked what he thought the shooter-LEO was doing and he says, “I thought he was going to electrochock the perp with his taser,” then that would be a strong indication that the plan going in was torture.

    Bottom line: not only was a shooting not justified here, but neither was a tasering. Under any circumstances that is bad for the shooter. However, if a little gratuitous tasering was a concerted plan, then that is bad for all three LEOs (or it least it would be if the Alameda prosecutor’s office is honest).

  98. If this video did not exist, we can all imagine the absurd fantasy version of events that the police department would be trying to sell to the media now.

    Just go back to the early discussion threads at other boards BEFORE the 2 videos surfaced. You can see this first hand. Last night I read an 801 post thread. It was amazing to see the vector of the comments change as the videos came out and were assimilated by the diffuse body of posters.

  99. Damn this country fucking sucks. I just watch some cop summarily execute a man in the back of the head with several witnesses. Like ktc2, said no riots. I just did a quick look-see through the big internet sites and nothing.

    Let say this again, a man was executed at point blank range while restrained on his stomach by cops…and is followed by…….nothing.

  100. wow. a state sanctioned murder caught on tape for everyone to see. this was no accident. that pig pulled the gun from his holster. placed his second hand on the gun. aimed and fired. don’t try to tell me this officer mistook his fire arm for a taser. that is laughable. this was not an accident by any means. the pig just didn’t think there would be cell phones recording.

  101. Troy

    Try China or Russia, you simpering fuckstick.

  102. I think this is one of those times when we have to use the decay of federalism as an aid to liberty instead of a harm.

    If we could somehow redirect the energy of “hate crime” activists toward aggressive prosecution of crimes by policemen, it might help. I don’t see it happening, but who knows?

    What’s the legal term- Under Cover of Authority? I suspect the law is there, but it would be necessary to divert precious federal resources away from truly horrific crimes like selling bongs (or dildoes), and smoking marijuana to relieve the poisonous aftereffects of chemotherapy.

  103. Fuck!

    Yeah, it was murder. I’ll leave it to the lawyerly types to argue 2nd degree/manslaughter/whatever.

    If the video of this heinous act did not exist the BART cops, like all other cop departments, would, be huddling together, getting their stories straight and fabricating a scenario that purports to show the shooting was justified.

    That isn’t cynicism, that is facing reality.

    If Dave W. or Lefiti wrote anything substantive, somebody let me know. I am trying to avoid reading comments of known fuckin’ idiots this year.

  104. I’ll second Abdul’s 6:02 post. Not that speculation on the details matters to the victim, but I don’t think the cop meant to shoot the guy either.I think he meant to draw the weapon to try to get control over an escalating situation (which is probably wrongheaded), and just didn’t follow basic firearms safety rules. (I think that makes more sense than the taser argument anyway).

  105. If Dave W. or Lefiti wrote anything substantive, somebody let me know. I am trying to avoid reading comments of known fuckin’ idiots this year.

    Dave W. raised the issue that this might not have been justifiable force even as a tasering, and the legal implications of that potential factual determination if the “I thought it was a taser” defense is used.

  106. I think he meant to draw the weapon to try to get control over an escalating situation

    No personal offense intended, but that’s patent bullshit. First, when you have a situation where there is a possibly hostile person, the first thing you do NOT do is create space to allow them freedom to proceed with their hostilities. Secondly, the officer had no justifiable reason to draw the weapon without being threatened with lethal force, or have someone else threatened with lethal force. This isn’t my opinion, this is the law, and covered in numerous training courses. You have a number of young adults, all but one of which are in handcuffs and at least 15-20 ft away sitting down per the video. You have the one individual who is not in handcuffs face down under the positive control of three trained individuals (at least until fuckhead #1 stands up to shoot the guy).

    Where is the threat to cause him to draw his weapon in the first place? If we accept your premise that he was drawing his weapon, which somehow was supposed to give him more control than an armlock on a person laying face down with two other individuals applying restraint also, why would he draw?

  107. I don’t think the cop meant to shoot the guy either.I think he meant to draw the weapon to try to get control over an escalating situation (which is probably wrongheaded), and just didn’t follow basic firearms safety rules.

    So you’re advocating the “I’m a completely incompetent moron, but it’s your fault for giving me the gun and turning me loose” defense?

    What happen to well-intentioned civilians who “accidentally” shoot cops?

  108. “Bottom line: not only was a shooting not justified here, but neither was a tasering.”

    You’re right, it was not. Either the cop was just trying to have a a little fun and torture the guy or he was completely incompetent to do his job. Neither should get him out of a murder conviction, IMO.

  109. How can anyone say he didn’t intend to shoot the guy when he calmly unholstered, aimed, and fired his weapon? He may have thought he had his tazer, I don’t know and I find that suspect, but there is no doubt he intended to fire the weapon.

    “”””I think he meant to draw the weapon to try to get control over an escalating situation”””

    How would have him drawing a weapon allowed to get gain more control if the person on the ground can’t see the cop one uped him?

    “””Either the cop was just trying to have a a little fun and torture the guy or he was completely incompetent to do his job.”””

    Maybe the cop is a racist, and he was surprised he couldn’t control the urge.

  110. to all of you who have written that the man who got killed deserved it and blah,blah, just remember KARMA IS A BITCH.YOU WILL GET YOURS.no one deserves a back shot.in the old west,shooting someone in the back would get you hung

  111. Jan 8 update, they finally did have a bit of decent rioting resulting in 14 arrests, and:

    Mehserle resigned from the transit agency shortly before he was supposed to be interviewed by investigators Wednesday.

    Like this will save his ass?

  112. Fuck that cop and fuck all racists. They don’t deserve to live in this world AT ALL.

  113. Off the fucking pigs!!!

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