Murder in Oakland

|

There is no other conclusion to draw from the video embedded below, filmed by a San Francisco subway passenger, other than the blindingly obvious one: Oscar Grant, the 22-year-old butcher's apprentice shot by Bay Area Rapid Transit Police (BART) on New Year's day, was murdered. Face down on the ground, handcuffed, and unarmed, BART officer Johannes Mehserle unholsters his service weapon and fires a single shot into Grant's back. The New York Times has details.

The killing of Grant precipitated protests and rioting in Oakland last night, with many using the tragedy as a pretext for looting. The San Francisco Chronicle filed this odd story from across the Bay, advising the rioters to at least target white people. Or something:

The roving mob expressed fury at police and frustration over society's racial injustice. Yet the demonstrators were often indiscriminate, frequently targeting the businesses and prized possessions of people of color.

Wait, would targeting non-black-owned business have been more "discriminate?"

The mob smashed the windows at Creative African Braids on 14th Street, and a woman walked out of the shop holding a baby in her arms.

"This is our business," shouted Leemu Topka, the black owner of the salon she four years ago. "This is our shop. This is what you call a protest?" Wednesday night's vandalism victims had nothing to do with the shooting death by a BART police officer of Oscar Grant on New Year's Day—but that did little to sway the mob.

Full Chronicle story here.

Update: In a fit of outrage, I neglected to mention that Brian Doherty blogged the BART murder here.

Advertisement

NEXT: Zombie Corporations Love to Eat Maaaaaaarkets!

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Cannot say I approve of the looters’ or their lack of logic, but I suppose it’s going to come to this if the people who are supposed to protect us murder us without penalty.

  2. If he doesn’t get the maximum penalty, we’d have just one more piece of “anecdotal” evidence about the brokenness of the justice system.

  3. Pointing out that the “protesters” of a racial murder were looting black stores isn’t an exhortation for them to target white businesses instead; it’s a way of making the point that the looters weren’t seeking any sort of justice, and were just wreaking random destruction.

    Doesn’t putting “they were trashing black business” immediately after a “but” which itself follows “they expressed fury at police for the racial murder” make this pretty obvious?

  4. joe – would it be any more just if they trashed white businesses? That would be seeking justice?

    FWIW, I think that the violence should be indiscriminate and immediate. I don’t like the victims, but maybe people will stop turning a blind eye towards the murders perpetuated by the police.

  5. *I don’t like that there are and have to be victims, that is.

  6. Honestly the most the officer will get charged with is involuntary manslaughter. He might not even be convicted of that.

    Seems like the police have an “Oops didn’t mean to kill him” defense now. Just remember that when you are confronted by an officer. They can pretty much kill you for no reason and probably nothing will ever happen.

    I’m frightened for everyone. This cop needs to do some time.

  7. Again, I hate that there has to be violence, but violence is necessary in order to get the powers that be to listen. Peaceful protests went up against the bailout: the bailout happened anyway. Peaceful protests went out against the war and have been for years: the war continues, despite overwhelming popular support against it.

    When the government stops listening, violence is the answer. It’s the American way.

  8. Oakland has white people living there?

  9. Holy shit! Why did they even pull him and his friends from the train?

  10. This cop doesn’t need to “do some time”, he needs to be hung in public view.

  11. There are now so many police shootings of innocents other writers have to pick up the slack for Radley Balko.

    I have to agree with TAO. I thought pretty much the same thing when the Athens riots were going on. It sucks that more innocents are having their property destroyed, but cops all over this country need to learn some humility, and fear of serious negative consequences when they commit crimes.

    I’m off to play some GTA San Andreas, and get some virtual payback.

  12. I’m afraid that between this incident and the one two threads down, I’ll be very surprised if there is not more widespread striking back. Whether its directed in such a way as for anyone to get the point is another matter.

    It will, of course, be sad if it does come to widespread rioting and destruction but how long do the cops think a community is going to put up with treatment like this?

  13. There are now so many police shootings of innocents other writers have to pick up the slack for Radley Balko.

    Line of the day.

  14. When rioters claim to be responding to an incident with racial angles, and somebody else observes that their actions are inconsistent with their alleged racial motives, is that an exhortation to target certain racial groups or a suggestion that the rioters are lying about their agenda?

    Moreover, observing that someone is lying about an agenda is hardly a defense of the stated agenda. If somebody at Reason were to point to hypocrisy by, say, government officials, leftists, or religious fundamentalists, should that be interpreted as a call for the people in question to be more statist, more leftist, or more religious?

    Mr. Moynihan, I get that you’re on the anti-left beat, and I understand that you are contractually obligated to obsess over kids in Che shirts, but this is pretty thin stuff here.

  15. Fyuucking cops.

  16. I live in Oakland – there is a lot more bad stuff going on in Oakland (which yes, has white people like me – I believe its about 30-40 percent crackers) — very high murder rate per population size in the US, lots of corruption, budget shortfalls, lack of cops cause the pay is better in the surrounding safer areas, etc. — not to excuse the rioting — but its more than just this one horrific murder…

  17. After reading this story, I thought I’d check out the International Brotherhood of Police Officers page, just to see if they’d made any kind of statement or had any official line on this one. I couldn’t find anything, BUT! I did find – under their ‘Quick Links’ section – a link to something called Officer.com. which bills itself as ‘Police News, Forums, Links and More For Police Officers, Law Enforcement, Corrections, Sheriffs and More.’ They had a story on this (just a reprint of the SF Chronicle news), as well as…comments!

    Here ya go: http://www.officer.com/online/article.jsp?id=44919&siteSection=5&&cPage=1&OrderBy=InsertDate&Dir=ASC#post_msg

    Offered without commentary, purely in the interest of seeing another perspective.

  18. Riots… they’re not about justice, they’re about anger.

  19. The Union representing the police will get to the truth.

    They always do…

  20. TAO,

    What part of “Pointing out that the “protesters” of a racial murder were looting black stores isn’t an exhortation for them to target white businesses instead; it’s a way of making the point that the looters weren’t seeking any sort of justice, and were just wreaking random destruction.” didn’t you understand?

    Why is this so complicated?

    I just wrote a post, before you ever wrote yours, explaining that the answer to the question is “No,” and your response is to ask the same question I just answered?

    What is your problem?

    Here, let me repeat the part that answers your question: Pointing out that the “protesters” of a racial murder were looting black stores isn’t an exhortation for them to target white businesses instead; it’s a way of making the point that the looters weren’t seeking any sort of justice, and were just wreaking random destruction.

    What the fuck?

  21. FWIW, I think that the violence should be indiscriminate and immediate.

    I couldn’t possibly disagree more. Why not focus the violence on the police who are to blame? How does destroying private property serve as a protest against the state?

  22. The line that “blacks are destroying other blacks’ property” is old as dirt. I distinctly remember white pundits using that fact in 1991 (Rodney King) to “prove” that blacks were less civilized.

    Oh, wait: Hello there, Lew Rockwell..

  23. Mr. Moynihan, if you are going to remain on the anti-left beat, at least take some cues from Katherine Mangu-Ward: While there is much that I disagree with her on, I love the way that she works awesome images and foodie stuff into her posts. You need to have some style, so you don’t come across as one more College Republican upset over taking a class with a smelly kid in a Che shirt.

  24. I thought pretty much the same thing when the Athens riots were going on. It sucks that more innocents are having their property destroyed, but cops all over this country need to learn some humility, and fear of serious negative consequences when they commit crimes.

    I just don’t understand how punishing people who have nothing to do with the cops’ crimes, affects the cops at all. It’s simply nonsense and completely un-libertarian.

  25. joe – I am clearly asking you why the race of the storekeepers makes any kind of difference as to whether the looters are seeking justice.

    Why not focus the violence on the police who are to blame?

    For one, because 3/4 of this nation has its head up its collective ass about police and think they are all heroes. It’s hardly beneficial to anyone’s cause to charge a police station, especially because there is significant practical danger in doing so and little attention to be gained.

  26. The line that “blacks are destroying other blacks’ property” is old as dirt. I distinctly remember white pundits using that fact in 1991 (Rodney King) to “prove” that blacks were less civilized.

    I remember certain white pundits using that line for that purpose.

    I remember other pundits using that line to point out that the rioters’ motives and actions had nothing to do with what sparked the riots, and that those particular people were just criminals.

    What a mind it must take not to be able to tell the difference.

  27. “It sucks that more innocents are having their property destroyed, but cops all over this country need to learn some humility, and fear of serious negative consequences when they commit crimes.”

    so to teach cops a lesson you are cool with destroying the property of people completely unconnected with the shooting? i am really pissed off by the treatment of gazans, i am on my way over to your house to bash in a window. cool?

    its completely random bullshit violence. if these people are pissed and take justice into their own hands, they should head over to the offending cop’s precinct headquarters. the reason they don’t commit random acts of violence against the precinct headquarters is the same reason the gay community didn’t run their big protests through compton )after the black community overwhelming voted for prop 8)…thats where the guns are.

    these people don’t justice they want attention. they already have that bc of the ridiculous actions of the dipshit cop.

  28. I just don’t understand how punishing people who have nothing to do with the cops’ crimes, affects the cops at all. It’s simply nonsense and completely un-libertarian.

    Les: not everything can be “eye for eye, one for one” justice. Did the individual British soldiers we fought at Lexington have anything to do with the Boston Massacre?

    Sometimes large actions where innocents get hurt is necessary to facilitate the greater good. Think of war like this; do you really expect when we fight a war that we should go through so many hoops to make sure that we only kill those responsible?

    At some point, the community as a whole needs to be held responsible for letting the police murder people on the fucking subway. No, the community is not directly responsible, but that doesn’t absolve their complicity.

  29. Les,

    It doesn’t. People take advantage of the anarchy created by big protests to steal shit and live out their tough guy fantasies.

    The looters broke away from the protest.

  30. you folks will have to forgive me a little: I’m dizzy from the flu and have been putting booze and hot liquids in my system all day, so I’m a little punchy.

  31. I couldn’t possibly disagree more. Why not focus the violence on the police who are to blame?

    That is a revolt, not a riot. You are declaring an agent of the state to be your enemy, which is the same thing as declaring the state your enemy.

    Personally, I think a lot of shit needs to burn, and that cop needs to be sent in front of a firing squad.

  32. ap,

    these people don’t justice they want attention.

    Right.

    Keep in mind, “these people” aren’t the majority of the protesters. They broke off from the protest to go smash stuff.

  33. I’m wondering if the cop who shot Grant drew his pistol thinking that he was drawing his taser. I’ve been saying for some time that giving police officers two pistol-shaped weapons, one lethal and one less-than-lethal, is an invitation to tragedy…

  34. I concur with both joe and thoreau about the characterization of the SFC story in the original post.

    Separately, the latest AP story on the shooting (which apparently isn’t yet included in the related Google News story cluster) has this toward the end…

    Bruce Siddle, a use-of-force expert who viewed the video clips, theorized that Mehserle was working under stress in a hostile situation and did not realize he was firing his pistol.

    “I suspect he thought he was reaching for his Taser,” said Siddle, founder of PPCT Management Systems, an Illinois company that trains law-enforcement officers in use-of-force. “If he was under stress, he would not be able to distinguish between a Taser and his firearm. You have video footage that seems to suggest that this officer made a tragic mistake.”

    But George Kirkham, a professor of criminology at the Florida State University who also viewed the footage, said he finds that hard to believe because most Taser stun guns do not look or feel like pistols, and the officer fired in a manner consistent with a handgun, not a Taser.

    Kirkham, who works as an expert witness in criminal cases, speculated the officer fired because he thought he saw something in Grant’s waistband or pocket that appeared to be a gun or other type of weapon.

    “It’s not believable that any officer can mix up a Taser and a firearm,” said Kirkham, who has examined almost 500 police shootings over the past 30 years. “It’s like looking for your steering wheel on the right side of your car rather than the left side.”

  35. ap – ignoring your race-baiting lies about Prop 8 for a second (the idea that blacks “overwhelmingly” voted for Prop 8, as opposed to other socially conservative groups, is a total myth), of course they want attention and of course you’re not going to just rush a police station. For one, a proper riot takes time to foment; you need to get people angry enough to get the mob to rush a police station. For two, if I were a mob leader, I would realize that rushing a police station is going to turn this nation against me. “Getting attention” is all this mob has.

  36. “these people don’t justice they want attention.

    Right.

    Keep in mind, “these people” aren’t the majority of the protesters. They broke off from the protest to go smash stuff.”

    i am assuming you are being sarcastic with your “right” – if that is the case, what you said is completely contradictory.

  37. I’m wondering if the cop who shot Grant drew his pistol thinking that he was drawing his taser. I’ve been saying for some time that giving police officers two pistol-shaped weapons, one lethal and one less-than-lethal, is an invitation to tragedy…

    Just to continue stamping out this line of though…

    A pistol with a fully loaded magazine weighs significantly more than a tazer and is carried on the off-hand side of the body. It’s not possible.

  38. For one, because 3/4 of this nation has its head up its collective ass about police and think they are all heroes.

    So, it’s collective punishment for everyone, because some folks love the cops? That’s an anti-individualist attitude.

    It’s hardly beneficial to anyone’s cause to charge a police station, especially because there is significant practical danger in doing so and little attention to be gained.

    Charging a police station is not the only alternative to destroying the private property of innocents.

    You really are a little punchy. I hope you feel better soon because your post at 6:50pm sounds like it comes straight out of a diatribe from a member of ANSWER.

  39. Watch FREE full-length Movies, TV Shows, Music (over 6 million digital quality tracks), Unlimited Games, and FREE College Educations (Stanford, Oxford, Notre Dame and more) @ InternetSurfShack.com

  40. if that is the case, what you said is completely contradictory.

    No, I’m just capable of differentiating 40 people who were smashing businesses from several hundred people who protesting.

    Apparently, some other feature makes such a distinction difficult for you.

    What could it be, what could it be?

  41. the stats were what the stats were. the point was and is there many groups that were solidly and vocally against prop 8. the protests were for the most part against the mormons.

    the violence here is caused by an action that has a definite source and the reaction is random. that is non-sense. your answer was also, non-sense.

  42. …but cops all over this country need to learn some humility, and fear of serious negative consequences when they commit crimes.

    While I agree with this, there is something off about this case generally. Instead of the blue wall being invoked, the guy just up and quit. That’s weird, no matter how you slice it.

  43. joe, FWIW I think we are on the same side…except I might actually be defending the destructiveness of this particular group of folks and you might be opposed. I dunno.

    Charging a police station is not the only alternative to destroying the private property of innocents.

    I’m listening. If you have any alternatives I am all for it. Again, letters and phone calls to congresscritters about the bailout ran 100-1 opposed, and guess how that turned out?

    Our government has become tone-deaf and uncaring and unable to redress our grievances. And guess what happens what that’s the case?

  44. ap – trust me when I tell you, the lefty coalition of “the blacks” and “the gays” started fracturing the day the Prop 8 returns came in. But the Mormon Church was very, very responsible., much more than a minority group that provided maybe a hundred thousand votes in a torrent of millions of votes for Prop 8. Again, you’re race-baiting.

  45. I think its important that the government remembers it serves the US citizen, not the other way around. I applaud what the people in Oakland are doing and I hope it continues to escalate.

  46. “No, I’m just capable of differentiating 40 people who were smashing businesses from several hundred people who protesting.”

    um, guy, so did i –

    “its completely random bullshit violence. if these people are pissed and take justice into their own hands,”

    i know why you assumed i was talking about the whole group…bc i talked about the whole group of gay protesters. you jumped from one of the next without actually taking a moment to consider what i said and assumed anyone who spoke ill of the actions of the gay community/black community must be a complete fool and bigot.

    but thanks for the charge of racism. i thought you implied in your first post but i was hoping it was my imagination.

  47. So, it’s collective punishment for everyone, because some folks love the cops? That’s an anti-individualist attitude.

    you know what? i guess that it is an anti-individualist attitude. But frankly speaking, I don’t think a “one-for-one” targeting of those responsible is going to, in any way, shake up the systemic problems we have with our police force. Our police force (largely due to the war on Drugs) is staffed with underintelligent, muscle-headed authoritarians who think they can do what they want, when they want, how they want with impunity. And because blacks are largely the victims of this totalitarianism, I don’t blame the black community for being pissed off for what amounts to a vicious execution of an innocent black person.

  48. While I agree with this, there is something off about this case generally. Instead of the blue wall being invoked, the guy just up and quit. That’s weird, no matter how you slice it.

    Life imitates the Wire? (“Prez” Pryzbylewski?)

  49. TAO: It’s easier than that. Members of the police force have voluntarily (as individuals) chosen to associate themselves with a group that suppresses individual liberties and views non-members as separate group that needs to be subjugated and controlled. They’ve chosen their side already.

    It’s not anti-individualist, they are a coercive collectivist force that is looking to take away your individual freedoms.

  50. …so to teach cops a lesson you are cool with destroying the property of people completely unconnected with the shooting?

    If this had not happened, the chances of a court sweeping this “isolated incident” under the rug would have grown exponentially.

  51. There are plenty of white people in Oakland: in the hills and now apparently gentrification is occuring. BTW: LakeMerritt is quite attractive.

    And, yes, the SFChronicle was suggesting that they target The Oppressors’ shop windows; there’s no other interpretation possible.

    And, yes, rioting like this is stupid and counter-productive. However, it’s not as counter-productive as it could have been: they could have shouted the equivalent of “back to the oven” as was done at another protest recently.

  52. I guess what I have been trying to get at was what BakedPenguin said in one sentence. I mean, just look at the attitude taken in the news clip: they’re still claiming that the shooting is “controversial”. There. Is. No. Controversy! What happened was clear as fucking crystal, and newscasters are still too spineless and wedded to the power structure to have an opinion on the matter. Cowards.

  53. Yet the demonstrators were often indiscriminate, frequently targeting the businesses and prized possessions of people of color.

    That is standard logic for the Chronicle. The Dumbest Paper in the Nation (TM). But you can’t blame them as San Francisco is the Dumbest City in the Nation (TM).

    Of course I live here so that makes me the dumbest poster in the thread. (no TM yet)

  54. “but the Mormon Church was very, very responsible., much more than a minority group that provided maybe a hundred thousand votes in a torrent of millions of votes for Prop 8. Again, you’re race-baiting.”

    ugh.

    i ask: how many votes did the mormons contribute?
    you say: they contributed lots of money.

    and on and on it goes. the point is and was that the target of the protest was the lowest fruit on the tree. same here. you can think up
    all the excuses for it you want for why the looting is justified, but i am not with you. i am right there to take the offending cop into custody, here what everyone has to say, and then giving him his punishment. i’m there the whole way. doing every nasty job myself.

    bashing a local business’s window bc they happen to be nearby is bullshit.

  55. BakedPenguin,

    More importantly, people such as myself go along with widespread violence in the hopes of enriching ourselves. It’s the inner warlord in us all. Justice and order keeps me in my place.

  56. “While I agree with this, there is something off about this case generally. Instead of the blue wall being invoked, the guy just up and quit. That’s weird, no matter how you slice it.”

    they have him dead to rights on a video clip. there’s no struggle, no nothing. he just freaked out and stone cold murdered a dude.

  57. I remember people advocating riots on the first thread on this incident. In fact, the tone was like: “People *aren’t* rioting? What a bunch of pussies!”. ) It was stupid then, and stupid now.

  58. they have him dead to rights on a video clip. there’s no struggle, no nothing. he just freaked out and stone cold murdered a dude.

    Rodney fucking King.

    QED.

  59. “If this had not happened, the chances of a court sweeping this “isolated incident” under the rug would have grown exponentially.”

    i can’t believe i keep reading this stuff. so, the answer is to burn down Joe’s Corner Store? there is a definite source for the conflict here. go to the source. go to the source.

  60. I remember people advocating riots on the first thread on this incident. In fact, the tone was like: “People *aren’t* rioting? What a bunch of pussies!”. ) It was stupid then, and stupid now.

    To tie this back to the thread about “there are two kind of libertarians…”, the difference here is between temperamental anarchists and temperamental conservatives.

    FWIW, while destruction of private property is bad and stuff, cops shooting prisoners in the back is *worse*. Fear is a great motivator, and the powers that be occasionally need to remember to pheer the peeps. cf. Thomas Jefferson.

    Tree, blood, refresh, patriot, rinse, repeat.

  61. Kolohe: Do you think that the criminal justice system of the US is in need of being reformed in a very different way? If so, how would you go about initiating those reforms?

  62. Under these circumstances, I believe the priority is to emphasize the importance of a trial, with full due-process protections, for the accused cop (or ex-cop). If the evidence against this cop (ex-cop) is so strong, then we can trust an impartial court and jury to find him guilty. Meanwhile, the priority is to emphazise that criminal charges are not resolved through riots and indignant blog posts.

    Criticizing the looters by claiming that their actions don’t square with their “racial solidarity” rhetoric isn’t the same as saying, “go out and loot some whiteys.” Mohnihan is so eager to slam liberals that he lets his enthusiasms get away with him.

    Handsome Dan,

    The link you gave, with cops commenting on a story about the affair, doesn’t actually contain any statements along the lines of “this was a justified shooting.” Instead, there were defenses of the accused cop’s legal rights, denunciations of the criminal element and the alleged sympathizers of that element (couched in the usual exaggerated terms cops use on this subject), legal advice for the accused cop, sympathy for his situation (but again, not saying that his shooting was legal), and even some sympathy for the poor kid who got shot. There were even a handful of brave cop-commenters who said that the shooting was unjustified. And there was some articulation of the taser theory expressed in this thread. To sum up: Not exactly a lot of outrage against the BART cop, not exactly a lot of love for the victim, but nobody actually saying that shooting the victim was legal.

  63. Face down on the ground, handcuffed, and unarmed, BART officer Johannes Mehserle unholsters his service weapon and fires a single shot into Grant’s back.

    That’s quite a feat. It’s pretty hard to unholster your weapon and shoot somebody when you’re face down on the ground, handcuffed, and unarmed.

  64. Kolohe: Do you think that the criminal justice system of the US is in need of being reformed in a very different way? If so, how would you go about initiating those reforms?

    the obvious answer is burn down the corner store. burn the B**** to the ground!

  65. 1) Thugs only understand violence.

    2) The state through law is supposed to have a monopoly on violence in the name of it’s citizens.

    3) The state has put it’s thugs above the law.

    Given these basic facts there is no recourse but citizen violence to teach these thugs they are the servant and not the master. In fact under such circumstances it becomes vitally necessary.

    Now I am NOT advocating that ANYONE go out and murder cops. However, something needs to be done, albeit something considerably short of murder.

  66. And the revolutionary zeal of the armchair anarchists is really amusing. The guy resigned, he will probably get prosecuted – how is this a remotely revolutionary situation? The government is *not* on this ex-cop’s side, as far as I can see. Not at present, anyway.

  67. If the evidence against this cop (ex-cop) is so strong, then we can trust an impartial court and jury to find him guilty.

    Mad Max: The problem is that the jury will be stacked and that the entire criminal justice system will be geared up to defend one of its own. This isn’t some “lone wolf” one-off event, it’s indicative of a systemic problem.

  68. You know, I’ve occasionally heard Iraq War hawks observe that the insurgents are mostly killing other Arabs and Muslims, not Americans. This (quite accurate) observation is generally offered as a way of observing that the insurgents are not interested in any of their stated causes (usually something about defending the Iraqis from foreigners) but are rather a bunch of violent thugs.

    So, some reporter points at a bunch of rioters, and observes that despite their alleged grievance against the cops and racism, they are attacking a bunch of people in their own group, the people that they claim to be standing up for. And somehow this is spun as a call for violence against white people.

    Um, yeah, whatever.

  69. Max have you ever read Radley’s blog?

    Full IA investigation will find all procedures were followed and no wrongdoing on the part of any of the officers involved. It’s SOP. They just change the names and dates on the report.

  70. The government is *not* on this ex-cop’s side, as far as I can see.

    If this were *anyone* other than an ex-cop, he’d already be indicted.

  71. There are some interesting details in the second link, the one from the SF paper.

    The main body of protesters smashed a police car.

    A smaller group of about 40 people from the Revolutionary Communist Something Or Other smashed the businesses.

    Fuckers leech onto every genuine protest and movement in this country, and wreck it. Just like before the Iraq War.

  72. Had they been successful in their attempt to confiscate all the video devices I bet you 10:1 that pig woulnd’t have resigned, and the story in the press would be WAY different.

  73. “Mad Max: The problem is that the jury will be stacked and that the entire criminal justice system will be geared up to defend one of its own. This isn’t some ‘lone wolf’ one-off event, it’s indicative of a systemic problem.”

    If that happens, it will be time enough to complain. All I know is that courts and juries have shown willingness to convict cops. To be sure, like other criminal defendants, accused cops can avail themselves of all the rights of criminal defendants, and sometimes this means guilty people get acquitted. This is not a phenomonon peculiar to cops – noncops have been known to be acquitted when their guilt was fairly obvious.

    ‘The main body of protesters smashed a police car.

    ‘A smaller group of about 40 people from the Revolutionary Communist Something Or Other smashed the businesses.’

    I think both the ‘main group’ and the ‘smaller group’ were wrong.

  74. Fun game:

    Ask a homicide detective how fast they’d send a case to a DA to indict if they had video and witnesses of a guy shooting a prone man in the back.

  75. Elemenope,

    First, about Rodney King, he was not lying there, not resisting, the way poor Mr. Grant was. That doesn’t make it right what those LAPD cops did to him, but it makes their sin one of excess, a disproportionate response. As opposed to what went on on that subway platform, where there was no call to use any force whatsoever against Mr. Grant.

    Second, If this were *anyone* other than an ex-cop, he’d already be indicted. is a little too simple. If anyone other than a cop had put their hands on Mr. Grant and put him in handcuffs, they’d already be indicted, too. Cops are rightfully allowed to use force in ways that members of the general public are not, just as soldiers are. It’s that “monopoly on force” thing.This doesn’t excuse what was done here, of course, but it makes investigating a little more complicated.

  76. The guy resigned, he will probably get prosecuted – how is this a remotely revolutionary situation?

    First of all, the fact that even you have to say “probably” means you are not all that sure it is going to happen.

    Second of all, the authorities murdered someone; if that isn’t a reason for rioting, I do not know what is. Again, what happened after the Boston Massacre?

  77. Riots != armed rebellion

    Breaking windows and taking some Dvd players and bottles of Tanqueray != watering the tree of liberty with blood of patriots and tyrants.

    Rioting because a cop made a stupid fatal mistake
    =
    Invading Iraq because of a terrorist attack on the 255th day of the current millennium.

    It fails to directly address the issues and in general makes matters worse.

  78. I think both the ‘main group’ and the ‘smaller group’ were wrong

    The main group directs its violence against the murderous organization, and even then you cannot find in yourself to support the people.

    Some people love the State more than life itself.

  79. Kolohe – that is a simplistic characterization of the current rioting. I will readily grant that some people will take advantage of community rage and steal stuff, but the destruction of property is not indicative that the protesters are wrong.

  80. “Fuckers leech onto every genuine protest and movement in this country, and wreck it. Just like before the Iraq War.”

    you mean the 18-22 year old upper middle class white kids who style themselves either anarchists or communists and commit dumb ass crimes while wearing some goofy mask bc they don’t actually believe in what they are doing and simply like acting like assholes? those guys suck…and i am not even a man given to protesting.

  81. Again, what happened after the Boston Massacre?

    I seem to recall they went after British troops (and British Tea); they did not, for instance, smash into Paul Revere’s and Sam Adam’s premises and take their silverware and beer.

  82. ap,

    Actually, I meant the honest-to-god, organized communists in groups like RAIL and International ANSWER.

    Those guys aren’t “styling” themselves anything, they’re the real deal.

    The “black bloc” types, who cares?

  83. If that happens, it will be time enough to complain.

    Great. How about we put something in the next ballot (it will be an off-year congressional election) about how cops shouldn’t shoot kids in the back? Maybe make it a state constitutional amendment? Do you really think that will do anything?

  84. TAO-
    The problem is, even on utilitarian grounds, that even if people don’t ‘take advantage’, rioting doesn’t work. Rather, it causes the outside observer to say ‘oh, that’s just what “those people” do’ and causes those closer to the situation – that is the people who’s stuff is being wrecked, to demand even more heavy handiness from the state to restore order.

  85. A few thoughts…

    1) The indiscriminate violence, for the sake looting for lootings sake is lame. Oh yeah, I think their should be some violence, but only directed at law enforcement. A man was summarily executed, murdered right there in front of all those people. The other cops didn’t do anything when they were in arms reach of a murder. So none of them should feel safe.

    3) The idea that this guy thought he was pulling is tazer….pullleeeeeze. That is so stupid. I can guarantee you every fucking cop knows exactly where is service pistol is. Lots of the small dicked authoritarian pricks probably massage it in their spare time. And like was posted above, and my personal experience in law enforcement, a cop keeps her tazer in her less used hand (i.e. if she is right handed, her pistol will be on her right hip and the tazer on the left or somewhere else. These cops got more shit on their belts than batman but they damn sure now where the heat is.).

    3. I was wrong. In a post a few days ago I was lamenting that NOTHING was gonna happen and I mispoke that this guy was shot in the back of the head. Well, he was only murdered in the back, and and since then something gone that down gives anarchy a bad name.

    4. I got stopped by a pig today. I had the audacity to take a picture of my old high school. When I asked the pig to articulate his reasonable susupicion, he said, “dont you care about kids?” Anyway, I showed him my pictures, 4 other cops showed up….for taking pictures and was eventually let go. At the end, when I told him he STILL had not articulated his reasonable suspicion to which he quiped, “yeah, but you hate children.”

    5. So fuck cops. They should live in fear like we do when we see them. And you cops that don’t turn in dirty cops, fuck you too.

    6. I will still bet that nothing happens to this particular cop… at least not on the scale that he deserves. At a minimum he should be charged with manslaughter. But I bet his doesn’t do a year….for summarily executing another human being.

  86. Sometimes large actions where innocents get hurt is necessary to facilitate the greater good.

    I actually agree with this position, which drew me no small amount of revilation and condemnation on the various Gaza threads. But I only think it applies when you (a) know that the action is going to directly achieve the goal, and (b) there is no reasonable alternative way of achieving that goal. Given the history of these sorts of police “miscues” (b) may apply. But (a) sure as heck doesn’t.

  87. First, about Rodney King, he was not lying there, not resisting, the way poor Mr. Grant was. That doesn’t make it right what those LAPD cops did to him, but it makes their sin one of excess, a disproportionate response. As opposed to what went on on that subway platform, where there was no call to use any force whatsoever against Mr. Grant.

    I was speaking more directly to the “dead to rights on tape” part of the conjecture. And perhaps you need to have a refresher with the Rodney King tape, but there’s a great length of time where they are simply beating on him with no resistance or movement. It was but for the grace of whatever that he wasn’t dead at the end of it, too.

    And. No. As TAO made painfully clear, echoing BakedPenguin’s comment, there is no controversy. None. There is no doctrine of force anywhere in the US where it is “in policy” to shoot an non-resistant unarmed prisoner in the back. That’s what the video shows, and that’s good enough for an indictment against the Virgin fucking Mary, never mind some BART cop. If it weren’t a cop, a DA would look at the tape for about five minutes and then hasten himself to a judge for an arrest warrant.

  88. Cops are rightfully allowed to use force in ways that members of the general public are not, just as soldiers are. It’s that “monopoly on force” thing.

    joe, I’ll take issue with the “rightfully” portion (as a proper libertarian should 😉 ), but that is exactly what makes this that much more heinous. This isn’t some random thug gunning down another gangbanger. This is an agent of the state killing someone that posed no threat.

  89. Face down on the ground, handcuffed, and unarmed, BART officer Johannes Mehserle unholsters his service weapon and fires a single shot into Grant’s back.

    That’s quite a feat. It’s pretty hard to unholster your weapon and shoot somebody when you’re face down on the ground, handcuffed, and unarmed.

    ;^) Language is hard.

    More to the point, I can’t tell from the video that the victim was handcuffed. Does this come from another source? Also, is there outside confirmation of the unarmed thing? Again, this is impossible to tell from the video.

    As for the “not struggling” meme…I’ll buy, not presenting a life-threatening struggle against the police officers, but he seemed to be resisting enough to call it “struggling.”

    All my nits are picked now.

  90. It would have been much, much better if the Symbionese Liberation Idiots hadn’t leeched (good word, joe) onto a justified protest to destroy businesses.

    However, too often the political will to reform police is very lacking. Without the smashed cop car, it’s too easy to believe this would have fallen into the memory hole.

  91. If this has been said, I’m agreeing with it … if not …

    The problem with the article it that it substitutes “protesters” with “rioters” and “looters” indiscriminately.

    The “protesters” are protesting an injustice, which happens to reflect a common sort of racial bias found in their community.

    The “rioters” and “looters” are not.

  92. Leaving aside for the moment the implausibility of confusing taser for handgun, it’s been pointed out several time on these threads that there didn’t appear to be any need for force at all – they had him face down 3-to-1, and if he wasn’t already handcuffed (I’m still not clear on that) that would have been the obvious next course of action to ensure everyone’s safety.

    So how would that argument play out in court? What sort of charges could that add, or could it increase the degree/severity of the manslaughter/murder charge?

    Those are probably fairly stupid legal questions, but I’m just a simple caveman.

  93. Good point elemonope, has this murderer even been arrested yet? Has he had a mugshot and his fingerprints put on the books?

    Why is there a murderer walking free right now?

  94. Members of the police force have voluntarily (as individuals) chosen to associate themselves with a group that suppresses individual liberties and views non-members as separate group that needs to be subjugated and controlled. They’ve chosen their side already.

    So you supported Iraqis circa 2005 constructing and deploying roadside IEDs to burn American troops alive.

  95. Sparky,

    I am with you…it seems the struggle was an attempt to cuff that wasn’t working out. The next step from that is, clearly, not to shoot the guy in the back.

    Taser might (perhaps, maybe) have made sense, but not the gun.

  96. ‘Again, what happened after the Boston Massacre?’

    Let’s see . . . oh, yes: The soldiers were indicted by a Massachusetts grand jury, John Adams (future President) defended them, the trial jury considered the evidence and acquitted some defendants, while convicting some others of the lesser charge of manslaughter (the indictment said murder).

    Does that answer your question?

  97. But I only think it applies when you (a) know that the action is going to directly achieve the goal

    cunnivore – like Baked said, I resolutely believe that, but for the violent protests, this would all have been conveniently “cleared up” by an internal investigation. If the goal is to get people to finally pay fucking attention, goal achieved.

    I mean, how bad has it become when white, middle class men such as ourselves don’t even trust the police any more? I cannot imagine what it must be like to be in the class of people who are routinely subject to the excesses of police corruption.

    NM – I believe the “handcuffed” portion of that comment is incorrect; the video states that Grant was not handcuffed.

  98. The question above: “Do you think that the criminal justice system of the US is in need of being reformed in a very different way? If so, how would you go about initiating those reforms?”

    The obvious answers that beg the question are “stop the drug war, stop the militarization of police, etc”. A more substantial answer would be perhaps to try to get the feds mostly out of the business of directly enforcing criminal laws and use the resources of the FBI and Justice department at large to be provide oversight of local police departments (like how the Nuclear Regulatory Commission doesn’t run power plants). Doing so, of course, will require those from the left of the political spectrum now in power to embrace the principles of localism and decentralization that they generally oppose. (the right has opposed them as well, if you look at deeds and not words)

  99. TAO,

    Thanks, I missed that as I was watching more than listening.

    Anyone have information on the “unarmed” claim?

  100. Cops are rightfully allowed to use force in ways that members of the general public are not, just as soldiers are.

    Not lethal force. Under the law (not that it matters in practice) cops are only allowed to use lethal force in direct defense of their own life or bodily integrity or that of another….the same standard as “civilians”.

  101. Were I dictator, I would ban the use of the word “civlians” by police officers. You’re not at war with us, LEOs, so stop using the terminology. Also, I would come up with a different rank system (this whole “Sergeat – Lieutenant – Captain thing) because the rank system reinforces a warlike mentality. Not only that, but the chief of police in a city doesn’t need four-fucking-stars on his shoulder. you’re not a general., douchebag.

  102. Second, If this were *anyone* other than an ex-cop, he’d already be indicted. is a little too simple. If anyone other than a cop had put their hands on Mr. Grant and put him in handcuffs, they’d already be indicted, too. Cops are rightfully allowed to use force in ways that members of the general public are not, just as soldiers are. It’s that “monopoly on force” thing.This doesn’t excuse what was done here, of course, but it makes investigating a little more complicated.

    WTF!!! Yeah it is. First of all, they don’t have a monopoly on violence. I think every political treatise I have ever read, like Hobbes and Mill, talks about, if that indeed isn’t the very first premeise from which those political philosophers started at, says that you have a right to defend yourself. And just cause your a cop doesn’t give you a right or a justification or even a fucking maybe to summarily execute and murder someone (which, I understand wasn’t your point).

    It is was anyone else, they probably wouldn’t even be fucking alive. I’d be willing to bet that no law enforcement hasn’t interviewed this prick for the murder that he committed.

    I fucking hate this idea that you just have aquiese to these fucking pigs. Grant was holding up his hands. He was obviously scared. Maybe he was resisting because he was scared that…you know, that me might be fucking murdered or fucked up by the pigs. I’d like to take this kiss the pavement respect-my-authoritaaa type of effectuation of law enforcement and shove it like a basball bat up their ass.

  103. So you supported Iraqis circa 2005 constructing and deploying roadside IEDs to burn American troops alive.

    You do know that understanding a thing is different from agreeing with it, right?

    Cunnivore, I have to ask, if your country was being occupied by a foreign power, and troops not accountable to your elected government were “enforcing” their “laws” on your friends and family, would you think twice about blowing the shit out of them?

    I wouldn’t. Doesn’t make what Iraqi insurgents are doing right, and doesn’t mean I would be in any way lenient if I were in a position of authority in the situation. But I *get* it. You don’t?

  104. cunnivore,

    Good point.
    One of the reasons they need to keep working on non-lethal restraints/defensive weapons for the police.

    I like the “riot foam” they are working on…immobilize with no harm. If you’ve got something like that in your arsenal, it makes it much harder to claim you needed to shoot someone.

    Of course, we saw how well that worked out in Russia a few years ago…training matters.

  105. Kolohe:

    That is a great report of the current situation but it fails to account for institutional resistance. What do you do when the institution you are trying to change refuses to change?

  106. If the goal is to get people to finally pay fucking attention, goal achieved.

    That’s a bit too modest of a goal to justify random destruction of private property.

    If you were talking about reigning in police abuses, I would agree with you, but you don’t seriously believe that people paying attention is likely to bring about that eventuality, do you?

  107. Not lethal force. Under the law (not that it matters in practice) cops are only allowed to use lethal force in direct defense of their own life or bodily integrity or that of another….the same standard as “civilians”.

    You admit it doesn’t matter in practice. They don’t even follow their own rules, but we expect them to enforce rules on us?

  108. A Web site about the Boston Massacre.

    Eight soldiers, including Captain Thomas Preston, their commander, were indicted for murder. The trial jury, made up of (non-Bostonian) Massachusetts citizens *acquitted* Captain Preston and six of his soldiers. Two of the soldiers were convicted of manslaughter, and in accordance with the criminal procedure of the era, they were branded on the thumb and released.

  109. Max-

    The monopolization of the administtration of justice is a concept that every good christians should oppose with every fibre of his being. The monopolization of the adminstration of justice has produced a rampant lawlessness on the part of an untenable percentage of those employed by the monopolist. This rampant lawlessness is reflected in the subway murder and in the sountless number of botched drug raids which all too often result in the administration of terror by the cops-they shoot folks who were not the subject of the search warrant or somw person’s dog is deliberately killed. It happens everyday on a large scale.

    To have a truly free and civilized society, the individual citizen, either alone or in concert with others, must have the option to take a sledgehammer to Casear and his instruments.

    Both Christ and Jefferson said as much. Remember, “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s” means that Caesar is evil, wicked and depraved and not to be trusted, respected or ever given the exclusivve power to administer justice. After all, “he that is in you, is greater than he who is in the world.”

    What is the Declaration of Independence? Besides being a great document of secession, it is also an eloquent expression of man’s natural right to defend himself and to smash socialist pigs-particularly the parasites with the propensity to impose mayhem, chaos and violence in the name of some political subdivision.

    Having said that, the looters aren’t much better than the cops.

  110. cunnivore – I cannot say that I rightly know whether police abuses will be restrained as a result. But I guarantee that this tactic is far more effective than the pussy nonviolence practiced so far.

    I keep going back to the bailout because it’s so reflective of how far gone we are: you have people peacefully appealing to their government, in overwhelming numbers, against the bailout, and the entire United States government gave them the fucking finger. The reelection rate is something like 94% (higher than the Soviet Union’s “elections”). People feel powerless and ignored. What do you expect them to do?

  111. like Baked said, I resolutely believe that, but for the violent protests, this would all have been conveniently “cleared up” by an internal investigation. If the goal is to get people to finally pay fucking attention, goal achieved.

    This story got some play prior to the riots; it has gotten more (I saw it on MSNBC today) thanks to the riots.

    But do you really think the riots themselves have had, or will have, *any* influence in the past or future actions in this case? Do you think the riots themselves have applied any political pressure on the investigation*? Do you think they will have any effect on the impending wrongful death suit to be filed by the family? Does anybody think now that cops are ‘running scared’ because of the riots?

    *ok, it probably does. it will cause pressure for the investigator to hang this guy out to try. And he may very well deserve it. But do you think this political pressure will result in any long term structural reforms to prevent such future occurrences? No, this type of political pressure causes people to want to ‘fix the glitch’, not solve the problem.

  112. Cunnivore, I have to ask, if your country was being occupied by a foreign power, and troops not accountable to your elected government were “enforcing” their “laws” on your friends and family, would you think twice about blowing the shit out of them?

    I would (think twice). If there were soldiers directly giving trouble to me or my family, I might target them. Otherwise, there’s zilch to be accomplished by it.

  113. Someone shot an unarmed kid in the back. A video was made of this event. The perpetrator hasn’t been arrested, even though the authorities know who he is.

    Do you see the fox in the hen house yet?

  114. Kolohe – that is going to be true of any protest or civil appeal. In the immediate, this action was so outrageous that people probably felt that if they didn’t make a statement in a visible and violent fashion, then this, too, would have been unheeded.

    At the margin, this does at least slightly move things in a direction against police abuses. Maybe next time people will riot when the murder isn’t quite as clear-cut. Frankly, if it weren’t for the videos and the riots, I doubt that there would have been any punishment for the police at all.

  115. From the diary of John Adams, future President of the United States and chief defense lawyer for the defendants in the Boston Massacre trial:

    “I. . .devoted myself to endless labour and Anxiety if not to infamy and death, and that for nothing, except, what indeed was and ought to be all in all, a sense of duty. In the Evening I expressed to Mrs. Adams all my Apprehensions: That excellent Lady, who has always encouraged me, burst into a flood of Tears, but said she was very sensible of all the Danger to her and to our Children as well as to me, but she thought I had done as I ought, she was very willing to share in all that was to come and place her trust in Providence.

    “Before or after the Tryal, Preston sent me ten Guineas and at the Tryal of the Soldiers afterwards Eight Guineas more, which were. . .all the pecuniary Reward I ever had for fourteen or fifteen days labour, in the most exhausting and fatiguing Causes I ever tried: for hazarding a Popularity very general and very hardly earned: and for incurring a Clamour and popular Suspicions and prejudices, which are not yet worn out and never will be forgotten as long as
    History of this Period is read…It was immediately bruited abroad that I had engaged for Preston and the Soldiers, and occasioned a great clamour….

    “The Part I took in Defence of Cptn. Preston and the Soldiers, procured me Anxiety, and Obloquy enough. It was, however, one of the most gallant, generous, manly and disinterested Actions of my whole Life, and one of the best Pieces of Service I ever rendered my Country. Judgment of Death against those Soldiers would have been as foul a Stain upon this Country as the Executions of the Quakers or Witches, anciently. As the Evidence was, the Verdict of the Jury was exactly right.

    “This however is no Reason why the Town should not call the Action of that Night a Massacre, nor is it any Argument in favour of the Governor or Minister, who caused them to be sent here. But it is the strongest Proofs of the Danger of Standing Armies.”

    So the prececent of the Boston Massacre, cited by an earlier poster, indicates that the alleged perpetrators should get a fair trial by an impartial jury. If there is to be a revolution, don’t let it be at the expense of the defendant.

  116. Remember, “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s” means that Caesar is evil, wicked and depraved and not to be trusted, respected or ever given the exclusivve power to administer justice.

    That’s actually the opposite of his meaning, unless he was saying the same thing about God.

  117. Bingo – uhh, bingo!, dude.

    A man was murdered. We have the murder on tape. The murderer is walking free. He is (no doubt) walking free because he’s in an “elite” class.

    No wonder this is fostering civil unrest.

  118. Elemenope,

    I was speaking more directly to the “dead to rights on tape” part of the conjecture. Oh oh oh. Yes, you’re right.

    And perhaps you need to have a refresher with the Rodney King tape, but there’s a great length of time where they are simply beating on him with no resistance or movement. Right, and that was the part where they were in the wrong. Before that, though, there’s footage of him charging the cops, which is quite a bit different than what happened on that subway platform.

    Bingo,

    but that is exactly what makes this that much more heinous. Good point. My point wasn’t about the heinousness of the act, though, but about the investigation. A cop has a lot more defenses he can fall back on than an ordinary person, so there are more steps involved in getting your ducks in a row.

    cunnivore,

    Not lethal force. Right, and ultimately, the charge and punishment need to be the same. My point was about the additional hoops the investigators need to jump through, owing to the fact that the guy’s a cop. It’s easier for a cop to argue that he was acting properly and things got out of control than for a private citizen, because the cop can do things – put you on the ground, handcuff you, struggle with you if you don’t comply – that 1) are perfectly legal for him but not for you or me, and 2) serve as the “buildup” to a use of force.

    Let me be perfectly clear here: I’m not defending or even mitigating what the cop did. I’m talking entirely about the process of investigating and charging being more difficult when it involves a cop.

    If you and I got into a scuffle, every step in the escalation to deadly force would be criminal (unless we’re talking about an I’m-mugging-you situation). Whereas for cops, a whole series of escalating steps are perfectly legal. This throws some additional complications into the effort to pin down exactly where the cop went bad, and what criminal acts he committed.

  119. Mad Max – I do not know how much more clear it can be to you. The LEO stood up, pulled his weapon, and shot a restrained guy in the back. And in the Boston Massacre, the soldiers were arrested and tried. So why are we still awaiting an arrest of this officer?

    This is crystal-clear murder. Civil unrest in the face of non-action on the part of the local government is totally understandable.

  120. @Bingo:

    I think its important that the government remembers it serves the US citizen, not the other way around.

    I think it’s quaint that you still believe that.

  121. I cannot say that I rightly know whether police abuses will be restrained as a result. But I guarantee that this tactic is far more effective than the pussy nonviolence practiced so far.

    Sometimes dicks want to fuck when it’s not appropriate, and they need pussies to tell them that. 😉

    More seriously, I’m not sure what you mean by effective. What is the goal here? There is no way that the rioting is going to lead to curbing police abuses; it’s never worked in the past so there’s no reason to believe it will work this time.

  122. cunnivore – the fact is, is that even if the rioting does not serve the long-term goal of curbing police abuses, it serves the short-term of goal of making sure this particular abuse does not go unheeded and unpunished. I think that is just as important, because punishing this short-term abuse (in this case, a murder) will, in an indirect way, curb long-term abuses.

  123. Civil unrest in the face of non-action on the part of the local government is totally understandable.

    Good point. Understandable, and predictable. The city and state have a duty to act here, if not in the pursuit of justice, than to protect the public safety.

  124. Tao, I think you are a liitle too pessismistic on the percentage of people who view the cops as heroes. IMO, 75% is way too high, I think it is somewhat lower.

    However, I reserve my natural right to kill any jack booted public sector thug who initiates force against any other person(s).

  125. I think it’s quaint that you still believe that.

    Well… do you believe that serving the government is our duty in life? Or do you not believe there is an alternative anymore?

  126. Looking at the video, one thing strikes me right away — the “2-year veteran” has a SERIOUS problem clearing his pistol from its holster.

    You can see him tug several times before finally getting it out (probably after unsnapping the holster). This is someone who is NOT in control of his weapon. I could believe that he did not intend to fire, but was so adrenaline-charged that he lost track of what he was doing and forgot whatever training he had about keeping his finger out of the trigger guard.

    Thus, this seems to be an accidental killing.

    Another success for Sarah Brady and California’s Hoplophobe Lobby — maybe if he had grown up around guns, he would have had more than a couple of hours of gunhandling, and wouldn’t have done such a stupid thing.

    Before lumping this one in with the score racked up by the Dope Ninjas, consider that there was nothing happening which would have prompted a shooting. So, unless you want to think that the cop was looking for an opportunity to shoot the victim (in front of a few dozen witnesses, also not the Dope Ninjas’ style), an accident makes the most sense.

  127. What do you do when the institution you are trying to change refuses to change?

    Fire people until you get results. Although this rarely works as well. An alternative is to have a form of ‘receivership’ where all the functions are taken over by an outside organization until indigenous organic capability can be restored (although 21st century Mesopotamia shows us this is definitely easier said then done)

    With the institutions we are discussing, we are in somewhat of a quandary as they are not necessarily ‘too big to fail’, but rather ‘too important to do without’. I have no doubt that the immediate dissolution of any major metro police force, no matter how corrupt, will in the short term devolve to those scenes in Robocop when the Detroit PD goes on strike. The facade of civilization is a fragile one indeed, and requires little to shatter it.

    Regardless, it is sufficient that these institutions change on the margin (or that the marginal institutional changes). There will always be bad apples, as well as tragic mistakes (I am agnostic as to which category the BART New year’s day incident falls into, too, like most of these, it possibly is elements of both). And all this is beside my original point. The ‘moral’ argument for rioting is unpersuasive, even if they smash a few cop cars. And imo, from the utilitarian pov, it’s downright counterproductive.

  128. It’s probably too soon for my community policing spiel, but what the hell.

    Among the root causes of this murder is the failure of the police to look at those young men on that subway platform as part of a community that the police themselves belong to and feel responsible for and connected to.

  129. That’s actually the opposite of his meaning, unless he was saying the same thing about God.

    Unless it was a chiasm, which was (is?) an extremely common literary device in Hebrew. In which case, Yeshua is *contrasting* Caesar to God ironically. (After all, if God exists, what *isn’t* His?)

  130. Mas- if there is going to be a drug war, don’t let it be at the expense of any of the million plus rotting in jail on drug only raps.

    If one freely makes the truly venal decision to take up arms for Caesar and one abuses his monopolization, de jure, of the administration of justice, daily resulting in murder and theft, one ought to be prepared to get in the elevator going down.

  131. And people wonder why I am such a big fan of external safeties. Had this been a Beretta, the LEO would have had to not only draw the weapon but consciously deactivate the external safety. He would have zero chance of claiming “mistake” as a defense.

  132. However, I reserve my natural right to kill any jack booted public sector thug who initiates force against any other person(s).

    Things might go better at the subsequent trial if you refrain from saying that out loud, or say, posting it on the Web for all the world to see. Verbum sapientis…

  133. Among the root causes of this murder is the failure of the police to look at those young men on that subway platform as part of a community that the police themselves belong to and feel responsible for and connected to.

    I agree and disagree. The police themselves feel separate from the communities they police, which is why they will routinely brutalize and ruin lives as part of their job. But they also see any young black male as criminal, and will even go out of their way to antagonize and harass them.

  134. …Hoplophobe…

    I learned a new word today. Thanks, JGR!

  135. cunnivore – I doubt it. I’ve always wondered if a libertarian defense to shooting an LEO would go down. After all, it would almost put the very definition of “right and wrong” on trial.

    I mean, what if a libertarian claimed that what he did was right, but that the rightness of that action exists outside of the standard of “knowing the difference between right and wrong”? In other words, if I were to shoot an IRS agent because I truly believed that he was “initiating force” against me, and that it is proper to engage in retaliatory force in the face of initiatory force, would be judged insane, justified or guilty?

  136. LMNOP, according to the religious education that was wasted on me, the fact that he pointed out Caesar’s image on the coin and then said “give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” clearly implies he meant Caesar had the right to tax the Jews…the following “give unto God what is God’s” is a plea for people to give to God that which has God’s image — themselves.

    Obviously I don’t follow that stuff anymore, but it always struck me as a clever line in the circumstances.

  137. “What is the Declaration of Independence?”

    A document which articulates doctrines coincidentally similar to those of Saint Robert Bellarmine, a great Catholic cardinal of the Counter-Reformation. Further proof that great minds think alike.

  138. Thoreau really tried to get Moynihan to respond in this thread. But no.

  139. TAO, I think your best bet in that circumstance is to make it seem that you acted without thinking. But I would never approve of or advise harming an LEO in any but the most dire circumstances, where your own or someone else’s life was absolutely and unjustly in danger from the LEO.

  140. LMNOP, according to the religious education that was wasted on me, the fact that he pointed out Caesar’s image on the coin and then said “give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” clearly implies he meant Caesar had the right to tax the Jews…the following “give unto God what is God’s” is a plea for people to give to God that which has God’s image — themselves.

    Obviously I don’t follow that stuff anymore, but it always struck me as a clever line in the circumstances.

    That is the traditional interpretation. However, it was a line too clever by half, because nobody seems to agree on what he really meant by it.

  141. The police themselves feel separate from the communities they police, which is why they will routinely brutalize and ruin lives as part of their job. But they also see any young black male as criminal, and will even go out of their way to antagonize and harass them.

    They’re not all like that, Bingo. They’re not like that everywhere.

    OK, maybe the part about black guys. Dammit.

  142. A document which articulates doctrines coincidentally similar to those of Saint Robert Bellarmine, a great Catholic cardinal of the Counter-Reformation. Further proof that great minds think alike.

    “Crewman Dax, are you familiar with Russian Epic, Cinderella? If shoe fitz, vear it!”

  143. cunnivore, elemenope-

    I am no exegessist? (forgot the spelling)-but, I think you are right in that Christ also is reproted to have said, “render unto God that which is God’s (or his).

    I realize that my interpretation does not square with the mainstream construciton of the text, but so what. I like mine better.

  144. LMNOP, in the Cartoon History of the Universe II, the author is of the mind that it was intentionally obscure so as to avoid taking sides on the temple tax vs. Roman tax, either of which would have made Jesus enemies he didn’t want to have. So maybe confusion was his intention!

  145. For those questioning the ‘confirmation’ that the Mr. Grant was unarmed. Of course he was unarmed, had they FOUND a gun on Mr. Grant the police spokesmen would be on every News station in the US proclaiming the fact that he was armed. There is a wealth of previous police shootings where the subject was armed, the police are very quick to point out this when they feel the shooting was justified.

    The fact that it is now 8 days later and there has been zero discussion of Mr. Grant being armed in any report, or official commentary is pretty much the confirmation.

  146. libertymike, there’s a long and storied tradition of cherrypicking quotes from the Bible to support something you already want to believe for unrelated reasons. Have at it man, it’s the American way.

  147. …unless you want to think that the cop was looking for an opportunity to shoot the victim (in front of a few dozen witnesses, also not the Dope Ninjas’ style), an accident makes the most sense.

    You’re probably right. Also, there are many more incompetent people than evil people. It’s terrible that the price is so high in this case.

  148. TAO,

    Guilty of course. Nobody gives a damn anymore about intent or mens rhea. Hell, most of the time they don’t even care if your the guy that did it as long as they put somebody (preferably not white) away.

  149. LMNOP, in the Cartoon History of the Universe II, the author is of the mind that it was intentionally obscure so as to avoid taking sides on the temple tax vs. Roman tax, either of which would have made Jesus enemies he didn’t want to have. So maybe confusion was his intention!

    Larry Gonick is a genius, and the segment on Jesus had me laughing for hours.

    On a tangent, I’ve always thought those would be good for high school history textbooks, mainly because it makes history not boring to read.

  150. Shit. I was hoping Oakland would be more friendly to drug users.

  151. Pedantic discussions about whether or not some hypothetical historical figure would affirm or berate the policy of having agents of the state shoot kids is completely unrelated to the topic.

  152. ktc2 – I dunno. Mens rea is requisite for all major crimes (other than statutory rape). If you truly believed what you were doing was right, you would have a solid motion for a JNOV (because a modern jury is too stupid to understand how MR works or what “reasonable doubt” means).

    Forgive me, but I am on a tear today.

  153. cunnivore-

    Are you suggesting that my interpretation just happens to be in harmony with my anarcho-free enterprise-individualist narrative?

    Just a coincidence.

  154. WWJS = Who Would Jesus Shoot

  155. Pedantic discussions about whether or not some hypothetical historical figure would affirm or berate the policy of having agents of the state shoot kids is completely unrelated to the topic.

    Feel free to not participate if you don’t like it.

    As an Atheist living in a nation absolutely lousy with Christians, I think it wise to give a damn what they think.

  156. I don’t know, libertymike. Jesus always seemed too cosmotarian for me, hanging out with tax collectors and the like.

  157. Who Would Jesus Shoot?

    Buddha, but only for a lark, and then they would go have a beer and trade jokes about the clever little monkeys.

  158. Damnit, Elemenope… it’s a different sort of logic to deal with that.

    On a completely secular and utilitarian note, the best result from this is that the community of Oakland citizens appoints representatives to go to city hall and start renegotiating the contractual terms of serving as a “law enforcement officer” in the city of Oakland.

    And every effort should be made to accommodate those citizens, because they are paying the salaries through taxes.

  159. Elemenope | January 8, 2009, 8:28pm | #
    …Hoplophobe…

    I learned a new word today. Thanks, JGR!

    El,

    I am not surprised with your limited travel in right wing circles. Now use it in a sentence everyday so you don’t forget:)

  160. Bingo, I completely agree with your proposal… but it is not a new proposal, and has been tried before.

    You under estimate the power of the Police and their lobby…. any attempt at restricting power of the police is met with swift and often quite hyperbolic opposition.

    Think of the children!!

  161. Now use it in a sentence everyday so you don’t forget

    No need. Mentally I’ve attached it to “Hoplite”, which is enough for it to be a permanent part of my lexicon. 😉

  162. “Wait, would targeting non-black-owned business have been more “discriminate?”

    Well, let’s see…

    dis?crim?i?nate (d-skrm-nt)
    v. dis?crim?i?nat?ed, dis?crim?i?nat?ing, dis?crim?i?nates
    v.intr.
    1.
    a. To make a clear distinction; distinguish: discriminate among the options available.
    b. To make sensible decisions; judge wisely.
    2. To make distinctions on the basis of class or category without regard to individual merit; show preference or prejudice: was accused of discriminating against women; discriminated in favor of his cronies.
    v.tr.
    1. To perceive the distinguishing features of; recognize as distinct: discriminate right from wrong.
    2. To distinguish by noting differences; differentiate: unable to discriminate colors.
    3. To make or constitute a distinction in or between: methods that discriminate science from pseudoscience.

    …So, um, yeah. “Indiscriminate” does not mean “bad” it just means “not making distinctions”.

    Damn you, Moynihan, you’ve gone and made agree with joe. I shan’t forgive you that!

  163. Glad to read things are going so well in California. You know, the state serving as the “model” for the other 49. Sorta like Zimbawe serving as Africa’s “model.”

  164. kolohe: “taking…bottles of tanqueray != watering the tree of liberty…”

    i’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and suggest that they wanted to water the tree with gin.

    serious question: if there’s a murderer walking around loose, isn’t it the right of any citizen to try to apprehend him?

  165. Libertarians are some of the most hateful people on the planet.

    I watched a video on TV a few years ago in which a female cop was holding a gun on a prone white suspect while another cop was calmly handcuffing him. Suddenly the gun goes off, just missing the suspects head by inches.

    It was billed as an example of police incompetence, NOT “attempted murder” or attempted manslaughter.

    I don’t know if she was not charged with either nor fired because of her protected gender or the suspects non-protected race, but no one called it “murder” in any sense.

    Involuntary manslaughter is the very worse that should be applied here. The rest is pure unadulterated cop hate from the typically anarchist libertarians.

  166. Re: For those questioning the ‘confirmation’ that the Mr. Grant was unarmed. Of course he was unarmed, had they FOUND a gun on Mr. Grant the police spokesmen would be on every News station in the US proclaiming the fact that he was armed. …

    I was actually referring to this…from the post

    “There is no other conclusion to draw from the video embedded below, filmed by a San Francisco subway passenger, other than the blindingly obvious one: Oscar Grant, the 22-year-old butcher’s apprentice shot by Bay Area Rapid Transit Police (BART) on New Year’s day, was murdered. Face down on the ground, handcuffed, and unarmed…”

    Without outside sources there are two things NOT clear from the video. Whether Grant was handcuffed (he wasn’t, confirmed as wrong) and whether he was armed (not confirmed by the video, or any outside source).

    Given that MM got the first one wrong, I was just questioning the second. Piss poor reporting. I realize it is just a blog post, but when you are a professional journalist posting on your company’s website, you’d think you might want to make SOME attempt to be at least a little bit accurate.

    If I was the company, I would demand it of my employees. I did when I was a newspaper editor.

  167. I think people need to chill out a bit and exercise Occam’s Razor, in other words the most likely explanation is the true one.

    How likely is it that an officer would deliberately pull his gun on a crowded public train platform and shoot a handcuffed man in the back. Possible, but unlikely.

    How likely is it that after subduing several individuals fighting on the train, the officer seeks to subdue a handcuffed man by tasing him, even if he doesn’t seem to be resisting. More likely, particularly if you notice that the other cop steps back from the individual at the point before it happens.

    To assume that the cop deliberately murdered him is also to assume that the other cop agreed to it.

  168. thank you mike jackson, for giving moral and legal cover to any cop who feels like wasting a ni- sorry, african-american.

    “no one called it ‘murder’ in any sense.”

    maybe because the bullet missed?

  169. Libertarians are some of the most hateful people on the planet.

    Huh.

    Personally I don’t know enough of the “people on the planet” to confirm or deny that. But, my personal bet–an intuition if you will–is that Libz as an aggregate group aren’t even close in the running.

    Perhaps what is confounding you is the difference, however subtle, between “anger” and “hate”.

  170. There seems to be a weird Manichean conception that anyone who criticizes the senseless vandalism is thereby justifying the shooting. In other words, either you believe that smashing storefront windows is an acceptable protest against the BART police, or else you believe that it’s OK for the BART police to open fire on handcuffed civilians. Weird.

  171. he probably thought he was firing his taser

  172. TAO,

    What is your specific response to my bottom-line point about the Boston Massacre:

    ‘So the prececent of the Boston Massacre, cited by an earlier poster, indicates that the alleged perpetrators should get a fair trial by an impartial jury. If there is to be a revolution, don’t let it be at the expense of the defendant.’

  173. From what i saw it look like he tried to grab the gun a few times. wouldn’t he realize after a few times that it was not the taser? also are the firing mechanisms that similar?

  174. Suddenly the gun goes off, just missing the suspects head by inches.

    It just happens, right? Those things just go off all on their own.

    Anyway, Mike, I just want to be clear: your position is that the shooter didn’t commit manslaughter (at the least) because it was probably incompetence. So do you think those that trained and hired him should go to jail for criminal endangerment, for putting someone totally incapable for handling a weapon and authority on the street with both? Or is this just one of those things that happens, no harm no foul. Sometimes lightning strikes, sometimes the power goes out, and sometimes police shoot a guy for no reason. Whoops!

  175. mens rhea

    Now that, if you know a little Latin and Greek, is funny.

  176. “maybe because the bullet missed?”

    Not the brightest bulb, are you? (“Attempted”?)

    I saw another video in which a black police officer fired THREE shots into the back of a white Iraqi war veteran home on leave who had been pulled out of a car and was laying on his stomach. Three shots, not possibly an accidental shooting.

    It was captured on video with sound. The cop could be heard (poorly) ordering the veteran to stand up. Then, as the veteran moves slightly…pop pop pop. He claimed that he was attacked before he found out it had been taped.

    No charges of racism. No murder charges. It dropped off the radar so fast I never found out if he even lost his badge. And, of course, no outrage by Balko’s oh so racially sensitive mouthbreathers.

  177. LMAO…what twits. Some hoodlum shoots a cop and it’s all about justifying it by the creep’s poor social status or some b.s. And execute him? Can’t do that, the system’s unfair, the system’s racist.

    But a cop shoots someone, apparently by accident, and all of sudden he’s tried and guilty, no presumption of innocence, no thought of mitigation. And plenty of you pacifist lefties all of a sudden are in favor of lynching and capital punishment. And now it’s suddenly OK to judge all cops by one;s actions… hence the notion that the violence of the thugs who are rioting should be directed at the police.

    This kind of crazy shit is why no one takes the left seriously. You all have no principles, just a lust for power.

    For the record, is there any doubt that this officer will be tried and convicted of at least manslaughter?

  178. It was captured on video with sound. The cop could be heard (poorly) ordering the veteran to stand up. Then, as the veteran moves slightly…pop pop pop. He claimed that he was attacked before he found out it had been taped.

    Yep. It’s tragic. Cops commit manslaughter way too often. Glad we agree.

    It dropped off the radar so fast I never found out if he even lost his badge. And, of course, no outrage by Balko’s oh so racially sensitive mouthbreathers.

    Reason: keeping the white man down since 1972.

  179. Some border guard between here and a cop site fell asleep ten minutes ago.

  180. So. . .where is this flood of retards under the impression that Reason is some sort of left wing rag coming from?

  181. There seems to be a weird Manichean conception that anyone who criticizes the senseless vandalism is thereby justifying the shooting. In other words, either you believe that smashing storefront windows is an acceptable protest against the BART police, or else you believe that it’s OK for the BART police to open fire on handcuffed civilians. Weird.

    This here is what we call “reading into the text”.

    The issues are separate, and the arguments in this thread have primarily revolved around what is an appropriate response to the shooting…not whether the shooting was justified.

    But you got to work “Manichean” into your post, so kudos.

  182. I saw another video in which a black police officer fired THREE shots into the back of a white Iraqi war veteran home on leave[…]No charges of racism. No murder charges. It dropped off the radar so fast I never found out if he even lost his badge. And, of course, no outrage by Balko’s oh so racially sensitive mouthbreathers.

    Hey, you go ahead and linky the video, and if it is what you say it is I’m sure there will be plenty of outrage to go around.

  183. My guess would be RSMcCain’s site

  184. mens rhea

    Actually that’s me and my son.

    Oops sorry, I thought that said Rhea’s Men.

  185. And now you see why so many cops are so adamant about not allowing citizens to film their actions, even in cases threatening them with arrest or physical harm if they do not stop filming and/or delete what they have already filmed.

    Hey, if they weren’t doing anything wrong, then they’d have nothing to be afraid of, right?

  186. I’m still trying to figure out how destroying the businesses of others “sends a message” to the police. Why exactly is a crowd of rioters supposed to scare cops in 30-ply Spectra with ASP batons, M4s, shotguns, CS gas and a belt full of stingball grenades? What do they have to fear from your riot, which justifies any action they choose short of a Kent State (or including one, if your riot is vigorous enough)?

    “There were hundreds of them, Your Honor. I feared for my life and the life of my fellow officers, so I discharged my weapon until the threat ceased.”

    Might as well write them a Get Out of Jail Free card. What that police officer did was every flavor of wrong, but rioting — as hard and ‘revolutionary’ as it may seem — accomplishes nothing except to justify further police overreaction in response.

  187. “From what i saw it look like he tried to grab the gun a few times. wouldn’t he realize after a few times that it was not the taser? also are the firing mechanisms that similar?”

    I have seen various sources claim that this is the taser issued to BART officers:

    http://www.defensereview.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=550

    The taser excuse is no excuse….

    I don’t own a taser, but I do own a semi-auto 9mm handgun. A S&W SW9 to be exact. After seeing photos and demonstrations of the taser that has been reported being used by BART officers, the one thing that sticks out in my mind is the bright yellow nose piece. How could you NOT realize you did not have a taser in your hand when taking aim?

    Even if the shooting was accidental, its still against the law, reckless homicide, negligent homicide. If I was in my living room and I pointed my firearm at my buddy just messing around and the gun went off and my friend dies as a result, you can bet your ass I would be charged. Accidental or not…

    Incidentally, while researching reckless/negligent homicide I came across this interesting information via Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manslaughter#Involuntary_manslaughter

    “Recklessness, or willful blindness, is defined as a wanton disregard for the known dangers of a particular situation. An instance of this would be a defendant throwing a brick off a bridge, into vehicular traffic below. There exists no intent to kill; consequently, a resulting death wouldn’t be considered murder. However, the conduct is probably reckless, sometimes used interchangeably with criminally negligent, which may subject the principal to prosecution for involuntary manslaughter: the individual was aware of the risk of injury to others and willfully disregarded it.

    In many jurisdictions, such as in California, if the unintentional conduct amounts to such gross negligence as to amount to a willful or depraved indifference to human life, the mens rea may be considered to constitute malice. In such a case, the charged offense may be murder, often characterized as second degree murder.”

    Conceivably, this been just an ordinary citizen accidentally shooting his friend, in California, an enterprising DA could push murder 2.

    I know one thing for certain, 8 days after shooting my friend, I would certainly not be walking free on the streets as my lawyer handed my resignation to my employer.

  188. Liberals want all guns banned, claiming only police should have guns.

    Liberals believe the police violate the rights of minorities.

    Please, someone, explain to me how you can not trust cops but want only cops to have guns.

  189. Again, what happened after the Boston Massacre?

    There was a trial and John Adams defended the British soldiers.

    Or am I confusing two events?

  190. I see Mad Max beat me by a few hours.

    Didnt you all have a football game to watch?

  191. Mad Max seems to think he has a point. He does not. Note that the British soldiers went on trial; this cop hasn’t even been arrested yet.

    But a cop shoots someone, apparently by accident

    Apparently by accident? There is no visual evidence to support that. I want the man to go on trial, yes, but I am more than allowed to judge him guilty of what he did prior to that trial. Kind of like how I still think OJ did it; it’s OK for me to have an opinion before a trial. Not everyone has to have the same evidentiary standards as a jury.

  192. So you supported Iraqis circa 2005 constructing and deploying roadside IEDs to burn American troops alive.

    I can certainly sympathize.

  193. And this “taser excuse” is the stupidest thing I have ever read. You’re telling me that not only did a police officer mistake a loaded gun with a taser (which do not weigh anywhere close to each other), but proceeded to place it against the suspect’s back, look at it, then fire the weapon? As a mistake?

    Please. That is an incredible leap of logic.

  194. he lost track of what he was doing and forgot whatever training he had about keeping his finger out of the trigger guard.

    I interpret this the exact opposite way. Putting the finger inside the trigger guard is an act of premeditation. It removes manslaughter as an option, IMO.

  195. where is this flood of retards under the impression that Reason is some sort of left wing rag coming from?

    It seems to happen whenever we criticize cops. Im guessing cop sites.

  196. “”joe – would it be any more just if they trashed white businesses? That would be seeking justice?””

    Well, yes. It could be construed as “seeking” justice. I’m not saying it’s justice, but random violence, destruction, and theft is, well, random. You may not, for example, agree with Israel’s operations in Gaza. But even the most vehement member of the “solidarity” movement would have to admit that hitting targets in Gaza is more appropriate than hitting targets in, say, Turkey.

    This is just…well, it is what it is. Sound and fury. There are other terms, but they might be against Reason’s TOS.

  197. For the record, is there any doubt that this officer will be tried and convicted of at least manslaughter?

    Kathryn Johnston.

    2 of the 3 eventually were found guilty of manslaughter. So its at best a 67% chance.

  198. Mike Jackson

    Suddenly the gun goes off

    You want to explain how this is even remotely possible? With any reasonably modern handgun (like a cop would be carrying), they cannot fire without the trigger being pulled. Since anyone with even 5 minutes of training knows that putting the finger inside the trigger guard is only done once the decision to fire has been made, I dont see how it could just “suddenly go off”.

  199. people of color?

    They should have targeted the transparent people’s shops.

  200. Is their a rationale for why the cop pulled his gun in the first place? Situation seemed to be under control.

  201. And, of course, no outrage by Balko’s oh so racially sensitive mouthbreathers.

    Ding! Wrong answer. You do not get the vintage 427 Cobra behind Door # 2.

  202. TAO,

    You and I agree that this cop should have been immediately arrested and charged.

    Okay. Now, how is it that randomly destroying the private property of others is going to bring this about? When has it worked in the past?

    Hypothetical situation: Let’s say you’re driving down your street and, sadly, the night before, your local cops murdered a person. If people who claim to be protesting that murder smash your car windows, force you from your car, and burn your car, are you seriously saying that you could shrug your shoulders and say what you said above?

    “Sometimes large actions where innocents get hurt is necessary to facilitate the greater good. At some point, the community as a whole needs to be held responsible for letting the police murder people on the fucking subway. No, the community is not directly responsible, but that doesn’t absolve their complicity.”

  203. I saw another video in which a black police officer fired THREE shots into the back of a white Iraqi war veteran home on leave who had been pulled out of a car and was laying on his stomach. Three shots, not possibly an accidental shooting.

    Shot him in the leg and chest. The victim was a census-designated official minority and not a white guy. The shooter was black and he was…..wait for it….ACQUITTED OF ALL CHARGES.

  204. Les,

    I do not have any doubt that, but-for these riots and this anger, that this would not be the story that it is. I mean, look at it! People are in the streets and this guy still isn’t arrested. Imagine how much less play this would have received if people were not in the streets.

    . If people who claim to be protesting that murder smash your car windows, force you from your car, and burn your car, are you seriously saying that you could shrug your shoulders and say what you said above?

    Nope, I would not say that. Like I said, violence is unfortunate but if you fail to follow-up on what is clearly an execution, these things are bound to happen.

  205. Like I said, violence is unfortunate but if you fail to follow-up on what is clearly an execution, these things are bound to happen.

    I can’t quite find the connection between a murdered youth and tearing down your city. Course, it is Oakland and the beer trucks do have tail gunners.

    That notwithstanding, had the rioters tracked down the cop and, well, wreaked some havoc upon him as divine retribution for his misdeeds, then I could understand and maybe even empathize.

    I’m thinking Reginald Denny. Whoops, wrong riot.

  206. I’m thinking Reginald Denny. Whoops, wrong riot.

    To be clear, I mean the cops who deserved to be dragged out in the street and bashed into a coma weren’t the vics. A truck driver with no connection to the problem became the victim. That doesn’t wash with me.

  207. “You want to explain how this is even remotely possible?”

    Heellooo… don’t you understand, only criminals pull triggers, and cops are by definition not criminals, therefore the cop did not pull the trigger. The gun misfired….. I take it you have never read the official report regarding, well pretty much any ‘accidental’ police shooting. The officer never intentionally fires the weapon, the weapon misfired.

    Its as if the triggers to police weapons have a mind of their own….

    This has lead me to make it a rule never to purchase a handgun that I know has been in use by Law Enforcement… it is quite clear that those weapons are extremely dangerous, even in the hands of trained professionals.

  208. “I saw another video in which a black police officer fired THREE shots into the back of a white Iraqi war veteran home on leave[…]No charges of racism. No murder charges. It dropped off the radar so fast I never found out if he even lost his badge. And, of course, no outrage by Balko’s oh so racially sensitive mouthbreathers.”

    You mean Officer Ivory Webb???

    Oh yea, H&R NEVER discussed that issue:

    https://www.reason.com/blog/show/121185.html

    Oh wait, whats that, a link to H&R blog entry about the shooting, and whats that, comments that pretty much reflect the same sentiment as this case. You don’t say….

    I think ‘accidental police shootings’ is something quite frowned upon around these parts, regardless of what color the cop is, or poor soul who happens to be the bullet catcher.

    Thanks for playing though….

  209. I mean, why should they riot? It’s only been going on 8 days days since the incident and Jerry Brown, Oakland PD and BART have yet to start an investigation nor deign to even ask Mehserle one question, let alone arrest him.

    That community should just lie down and take it.

  210. There is no possible way this guy is getting off without doing prison time. With the number of ultra-liberals in the area and a black president coming into power, there is a very small likelihood that a politician will allow for another Rodney King scenario. The fraternity of police usually runs deep, but everyone else is going to save their job before they save his ass.

  211. Any prosecutor worth his salt can get a plea deal for 10 years on a 2nd degree murder charge in about two weeks time with that video.

    That’s outrageous. The refrain will soon change from “don’t resist arrest” to “shoot them first because they are going to shoot you”.

  212. Unreal that the cop is not arrested at this point. That video has been out there for days.

    I’m surprised they haven’t thrown molotav cocktails at police precincts. Other cops need to stand up and say this guy is a black sheep.

  213. The guy in the BART station looks like he was murdered, but some of the protesters sound like they need to be shot.

    It will be interesting what theory – other than panic – this officer can come up with.

  214. “It will be interesting what theory – other than panic – this officer can come up with.”

    Well they have certainly been giving him plenty of time to think about his excuse. He didn’t even show up for his IA Investigation hearing, instead his lawyer delivered his resignation.

    But there is no Blue wall of protection….thats just a silly conspiracy theory…. Everyone who accidentally shoots another human in the United States is treated this way.

    Thats why every time I shoot me a negro I just tell them it was an accident… works every time.

  215. Like I said, violence is unfortunate but if you fail to follow-up on what is clearly an execution, these things are bound to happen.

    I agree, absolutely. But I don’t think it needs to happen or that anything positive comes from it.

    I mean maybe there was a time in history where people indiscriminately attacking private property moved the government to take action against state-sponsored injustice, but I can’t think of any.

  216. Lets try to imagine what was going through Mehserle’s head:

    “Man this job is boring, I wish I had more chances to pull out my gun and wave it around like a real cop. Hey they’re arresting this guy, now’s my chance, I’ll just point my gun at him and shout incoherently for a few seconds, then I’ll have something to brag about for the next few weeks. Oh no. Oh no. Man, why didn’t they tell me these things have such light triggers? Damn!”

  217. And now it’s suddenly OK to judge all cops by one;s actions

    I’d be willing to bet your a cop. Yes, I judge you by your actions. Like Batman said, “it isn’t what inside that count’s, it is what you do that defines you.” So, if you act like a (negligently) homicidal (as opposed to murdering..don’t wanna get too picky on the mens rea) maniac, expect lots of scorn and derision…and hope that you get testicular cancer.

    This kind of crazy shit is why no one takes the left seriously. You all have no principles, just a lust for power.

    I think one of the best indicator of utter fucking stupidity is to call someplace like Reason “left.” Do you wear a bib every time you eat? Does the recoil remind of sex?

    As for principles, go here……

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harm_principle

  218. I’m looking at gun/taser confusion. Officers wear both handguns and tasers on their belt. It could be very easy to mix them up if you’re rattled. Not that that could excuse this. It’s still Manslaughter at the very least.

    Watching the reaction when he shot Grant, I can almost hear the other officers saying “What the f**k did you do that for?”

  219. They should have targeted the transparent people’s shops.

    Silly rabbit, transparency is for government.

  220. I know that riots aren’t exactly logical things, but wouldn’t it have made more sense to protest at the BART stations, confronting BART officials? The people who own and work in the Braiding shop or the Electronics store aren’t setting public policy.

    That said, I’m sure the smash and grab segment of the crowd doesn’t give a fuck about police injustice, they’re using the crowd to smash and grab.

  221. I really wish those rioting would stop directing their anger at cars and buildings and start directing their anger at the COPS themselves as they are the ones who deserve it!

    JT
    http://www.privacy-tools.at.tc

  222. I know that riots aren’t exactly logical things, but wouldn’t it have made more sense to protest at the BART stations, confronting BART officials? The people who own and work in the Braiding shop or the Electronics store aren’t setting public policy.

    According to joe’s summation above, that’s exactly what they were doing. The main crowd of protestors smashed a cop car. Another band of politically motivated parasites smashed the businesses.

  223. And this “taser excuse” is the stupidest thing I have ever read. You’re telling me that not only did a police officer mistake a loaded gun with a taser (which do not weigh anywhere close to each other), but proceeded to place it against the suspect’s back, look at it, then fire the weapon? As a mistake?

    Please. That is an incredible leap of logic.

    Not to mention, there’s no need to taser an already subdued person. It scares me that Dave W brought that up, and that I agree with him.

  224. According to joe’s summation above, that’s exactly what they were doing. The main crowd of protestors smashed a cop car. Another band of politically motivated parasites smashed the businesses.

    Yes, I see that. I hadn’t read through the 200+ comments when I’d posted.

  225. Hey, wait a second.

    I had to read this article a couple of times to be sure, but am I the only one who thinks that the “outrage” Moynihan refers to in the final line is directed at the rioters, and not at the BART police or at the power structure’s shockingly nonchalant response to this event?

    [Insert libertarian disclaimer about the sanctity of private property here], but I do have to note one thing: Before there were riots, this story was a page 10 story nationwide. After the riots it was a page 1 story. From this I conclude that it’s not unreasonable for people in Oakland to believe that if they riot, the rest of the country will know about the injustice they’re angry about, and if they don’t riot no one will give a shit.

    Then again, the way this story has played out has made me think that in some ways, the mainstream media was happy to see the riots because it gave them a way to cover the story without being required to focus on the police misconduct – e.g. “Damn, we have this great video we want to show on an endless loop but we can’t because it undercuts our necessary and proper police state! Oh, great, now there have been riots so we can use the riots in the headline so now there’s ‘balance’! That’s a relief.”

  226. Hanging’s too good for him. He should get the big taser!

  227. …and all of sudden he’s tried and guilty, no presumption of innocence, no thought of mitigation. And plenty of you pacifist lefties all of a sudden are in favor of lynching and capital punishment.

    If there was video of some non-cop thug shooting someone who was defenseless, I would judge them guilty of homicide. What allowances should be made when a cop does it. As for capital punishment, I missed the posts where anyone said he should be executed. Please point them out.

    You all have no principles, just a lust for power.

    Yeah, we want cops to stop shooting defenseless people. God, we’re power hungry.

    For the record, is there any doubt that this officer will be tried and convicted of at least manslaughter?

    Since you are apparently unable to actually read the posts here, for the record: yes, there is a great deal of doubt that he will be convicted of anything.

  228. Well gaoxiaen just kneecapped the last statement I made, but the rest of it stands.

  229. He’ll probably just get probation for reckless endangerment.

  230. Before there were riots, this story was a page 10 story nationwide. After the riots it was a page 1 story. From this I conclude that it’s not unreasonable for people in Oakland to believe that if they riot, the rest of the country will know about the injustice they’re angry about, and if they don’t riot no one will give a shit.

    Rioting to bring attention to injustice is the grassroots version of making fiat money.

  231. If there weren’t videos and a LOT of witnesses, he’d probably get a medal.

  232. “So. . .where is this flood of retards under the impression that Reason is some sort of left wing rag coming from?”

    cop site, as well as some of the “oh noes black peoples” conservatard runoff.

  233. But there is no Blue wall of protection….thats just a silly conspiracy theory…. Everyone who accidentally shoots another human in the United States is treated this way.

    WIN. Seriously, like I said, it’s been 8 days now and still no investigations, no questions and no arrest. Can you imagine how fast you would be in jail with video like this?

  234. It takes more than eight days to find and intimidate all the witnesses.

  235. Baked Penguin:

    Uh, have you read the comments to this post? A few selections:
    ***
    “Nigel Watt | January 8, 2009, 6:32pm | #

    This cop doesn’t need to “do some time”, he needs to be hung in public view.”

    “Bingo | January 8, 2009, 6:51pm | #

    I couldn’t possibly disagree more. Why not focus the violence on the police who are to blame?
    That is a revolt, not a riot. You are declaring an agent of the state to be your enemy, which is the same thing as declaring the state your enemy.

    Personally, I think a lot of shit needs to burn, and that cop needs to be sent in front of a firing squad.”

    “Troy | January 8, 2009, 7:42pm | #

    A few thoughts…

    1) The indiscriminate violence, for the sake looting for lootings sake is lame. Oh yeah, I think their should be some violence, but only directed at law enforcement.”

    ***

    So much for the peace-loving left.

    Due process for blood-thirsty thugs, hang-em-high for a cop who recklessly commits an accidental homicide.

    I don’t mind that you guys hate cops… I welcome the day when roaches like you are out in the light and can be sprayed with a can of Raid.

    I just find it amusing that all the whining about the rights of the accused and due process and how horrible the death penalty is goes right out the window when the right kind of criminal is on the hook.

  236. Watching the reaction when he shot Grant, I can almost hear the other officers saying “What the f**k did you do that for?”

    Why didnt the other officers immediately beat him down and cuff him?

  237. Fuck you Tom. I hope the next time you try to arrest someone he pops a cap in your fat head.

  238. Tom,

    So much for the peace-loving left.

    Seriously, dude. Learn your fucking audience. We arent the fucking left, you fucking moron.

  239. Cops are just a big gang with a lot of backup.

  240. Damn, just reread my post. I went too easy on Tom.

  241. Not to mention, there’s no need to taser an already subdued person. It scares me that Dave W brought that up, and that I agree with him.

    I was happy to see that some of the newspapers also finally picked up on that train of thought.

    Death during felony = felony murder.

  242. Felony murder for the accomplices too.

  243. Personally I think agents of the state should be the only persons eligible for the death penalty.

  244. Well, that depends. Maybe one of the confiscated camera phones has them yelling, “JOHANNES, NOOOO!!!!!!! Bad cop. No donut.”

    That would be cool because it would mean that some of the confiscated footage would be released instead of going in a black hole.

  245. ktc2,

    While I wouldnt go that far, I do think they any crimes committed while acting as an agent of the state should carry triple damage.

    Get a 5 year sentence? 15 years if you were acting under state authority at the time.

  246. There is a rationale for my 10:07 post. State agents are given powers not available to regular folks. With great power comes great responsibility. And greater punishments for not being responsible.

  247. Tom –

    I believe in due process for both, one just makes me angrier than the other because he’s in a position of power and he abused that trust and power I placed in his hands.

    So shut the fuck up.

  248. TAO,

    If Tom doesnt like what we suggest for cops who abuse their power, he shouldnt read any threads involving politicians.

  249. Drawing equivalence on Tom’s part is the most irritating thing of all, really.

    I mean, Tom, do you want to know why, when a normal suspect is put on trial I worry more about due process than I do with your boyfriends’ the police? Because I don’t expect the police to have their due process violated; if anything, I expect the system to take care of its own. Due process violations AND “sweeping things under the rug” are both abuses of the criminal justice system, so I get mad about due process for criminals and I get mad about the lack of justice for the victims of police officers.

    Or, in other words, guess why the ACLU went to court for the Klan and did not have to go to court for The Kindly Methodist Grandmothers Who Love Kittens? One group needs all the help it can get to exercise its rights.

  250. Triple damages and life sentences should be bumped up to death penalty.

  251. Uh, have you read the comments to this post? A few selections:

    Tom, what you’re seeing is people advocating insurrectionary violence. People may not be articulating it that way even to themselves, but that’s what it is.

    And due process is not part of the paradigm of insurrectionary violence. An insurrection by definition involves the use of violence against representatives of the state in what amounts to a military confrontation. Due process doesn’t work in that context any more than it works in the context of war between nations. George Washington’s men didn’t individually try each and every British soldier and Hessian before they fired muskets at them.

    I’m not saying these posters are right. In fact, since I doubt they really want full-scale insurrection, they’re mixing their paradigms in an inappropriate way. All I’m saying is that there is nothing inherently contradictory about a fierce advocate of due process also advocating violence against law enforcement. Not to Godwin the thread or anything, but in a police state context it would be precisely the persons most attached to due process who would be the first to turn to violence against representatives of the state.

  252. It sucks that more innocents are having their property destroyed, but cops all over this country need to learn some humility, and fear of serious negative consequences when they commit crimes.

    Similarly, it sucks when innocents (like the Norfolk 4) get convicted when the guilty are still walking around, but we need to send a message that we’re tough on crime (oh yeah, and criminals need to learn some humility, and fear of serious negative consequences to other people when they commit crimes).

  253. I remember they fired a bunch of cops in New Orleans a while ago and the citizens were afraid. But crime went down 20%, including homicides.

  254. George Washington’s men didn’t individually try each and every British soldier and Hessian before they fired muskets at them.

    But they also didn’t visit random violence upon British and Hessian noncombatants.

  255. YOU FUCKING LEFTIST TWATS, YOU’VE NEVER HAD TO QUELL A RIOT HAVE YOU? HAVE YOU!?!?!

    MY SYMPATHIES FOR THE OFFICER AND THE HATE HE IS RECEIVEING. YOU POWER LUSTING LYNCH MOBBING FOOLS! THE NEXT TIME I SEE A PIMPLE-FACED STONER ON THE STREET I’M GOING TO BEAT HIM EXTRA HARD JUST FOR GUYS.

    SEE WHAT YOU MADE ME DO?!?!?!?!

  256. So much for the peace-loving left.

    Due process for blood-thirsty thugs, hang-em-high for a cop who recklessly commits an accidental homicide.

  257. I meant to follow my quotation with two replies to Tom:

    (1) A lot us us are part of the peace-loving right, thank you very much.

    (2) Murdering cops should be given a fair, swift trial, then strung up in public view.

  258. what the flying fuck. this peace-loving, cop-distrusting, riot-enthusiast (though non-participator), and believer in not wantonly destroying lives or personal property is completely baffled and dismayed by this situation.

    one hopes clearer heads may prevail.

  259. “It will be interesting what theory – other than panic – this officer can come up with.”

    Probably the same excuse that Deval Bullock (the killer of Salvatore Culosi) used successfully.

  260. http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Campus_Cop_Charged_With_Stealing_Donuts.html

    At least this one got arrested. I guess stealing donuts is worse than shooting an unarmed black man in the back.

  261. Magnus Leo, I hope I’m the stoner you fuck with because I’d rip your balls off and stuff ’em down your pig throat, you fucking asshole. I hope the riot’s in your neighborhood.

  262. Every cop fantasizes about being a hero, but the reality is that most of them are just criminal scumbags. And the few that aren’t are closet Nazis.

  263. Hey guys, what percent of the population-at-large do you think supports an insurrection? I’m asking not because majorities are right, but because they’re often powerful.

  264. You know that’s true, Magnus Leo.

  265. Have you EVER, EVEN ONCE told the truth in court, Magnus Leo, other than your name?

  266. Magnus Leo, if you’re looking for sympathy or support, this is the wrong place, so you should just go fuck yourself.

  267. Anarch,

    Sadly only about 2% I would speculate would support a full insurrection.

    The majority are still fat, dumb and happy sitting in front of their xbox 360 and 60″ HD TV and won’t come out to do anything about anyone’s rights until they are less comfortable.

    So perhaps the recession/depression will bring us closer. It’s long overdue.

  268. ktc2, then with anything under 20%, why are we discussing it?

  269. This Cop should receive the death penalty for this murder reals you cops in every city are the biggest most organized gang out here. you see laws were passed to give gang members gang enhancement charges are added to whatever crime they commit.the same should be done to any law enforcement brealiokng laws should be stiffer for cops that kill and break the law just as it is for gang members. the cops should get enchancements even worse than gang members because they are supposed to protect and serve thats what they wore sworn in for so they should be held accountable even more because of the position they are in fry that bastard.

  270. Because if it isn’t discussed, the idea wont spread.

    People need to remember:

    “. . . That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it . . .”

  271. ktc2, that I understand (and would have to think about whether I agree), but to characterize what happened in Oakland as insurrection seems, whether sadly or not, vicariously grandiose.

  272. Yeah, it’s not an insurrection in Oakland.

    But it gives one hope that sufficient spirit exists to rise up against a government and perhaps people will eventually be motivated to get off their couch by some modern Boston Massacre.

  273. If you read the full article you will discover there was a contingent from a lefty bookstore participating in the riots. Also notice some of the quotes from the rioters in the story. I suspect that it is the usual anarchist/leftist crowd that is instigating the violence.

  274. I heard the cop thought he was pulling his Taser.

  275. bill,

    did you even read the post? That theory has already been shot (or tasered) down.

  276. Get a 5 year sentence? 15 years if you were acting under state authority at the time.

    An ex-cop isn’t likely to last 5 days in prison anyway, if you know what I mean. So that’s pretty moot.

  277. And of course the rioting also increases the chance that any trial will be held in a Simi Valley-type police-worshipping suburb rather than in Oakland. Good going, guys.

  278. Seems like anytime you don’t like something that the media dislikes you have permission to rape, loot and murder, as long as you target the victims the MSM intends. So who is more irrespondible the cop who murdered someone or the newspaper that calls for the murder of innocents?

  279. I would just like to point out, it is now day 9, the ‘cop’ has not been interviewed, taken into custody, and according to the recent CNN coverage of the riot, of which they briefly touched on the issue of the shooting, Tony Harris reported that the whereabouts of the officer is currently unknown.

    So, at this point it can be assumed that he has probably fled the state…. thats some fine police work there, mighty fine.

  280. the gang is wanted in eight other states and we have a little saying around here: Let Michigan handle it.

  281. @robc

    Yes I did. Did you? There’s nothing in either post about a Taser.

  282. BTW, I’m not justifying his actions. I hate cops just as much as the next guy. I just heard that he had mistook his gun for his Taser. That’s still pretty stupid and the guy should be charged with at least manslaughter.

  283. Bluntly, even after seeing that video I’m vastly more afraid of the gangbangers in Oakland and elsewhere than the police force.
    In the 24 hours that contained the murder of Grant, gang members in America murdered about 16 to 19 people. I guess I missed the riots and looting those murders provoked. And the number of people killed by police (not murdered, but simply killed) is estimated at about 200, or less than one per day. Let’s assume (outrageously) that half of those are really murders, not righteous killings. The gangs still win by 30/40 to 1.
    And the whiners who complained that the violence should have been directed against whites seem to have failed to notice that Mehserle is officially listed as Hispanic by the force.

  284. I guess I’m quibbling, but while there was certainly a lot of property damage done, it’s been clear from the reports that there wasn’t any ‘looting.’ (I.e. stealing from storefronts whose windows have just been smashed.) Not to say that this makes the behavior excusable, but I think there’s a difference on some level.

  285. Flubber, when a gang member kills another person its is a crime, that gang member when caught WILL be prosecuted and will do time.

    There is quite a bit of public outcry on gang violence, the fact that you claim there is none is intellectually dishonest, or just flat our hyperbole intended to cloud the issue.

    You see, gang members are not trusted agents of the state with the intent of ‘serving and protecting’. Gang members do not have the express consent of the state to have the authority to use deadly force against citizens, and gang members are not funded and held accountable to the citizens of the state.

    When the crips become an agent of the State of California then you will have a legitimate complaint, until then not only are you comparing apples to oranges, but you just said that Gangs and Police should be viewed as equals…. which to some citizens in the US that is already SOP anyway.

    But hey, thanks for playing the failed logic game…

  286. I am sure this will eventually make it to the national news, but there was another police shooting in California on Jan. 4 2009.

    As with the previous shooting, there is video clearly showing that the victim of the shooting posed no threat to the police, infact he was running away and was violently gunned down. Now, this victim was a carjacker, so he was no saint, but the use of deadly force against a suspect who is running away has been a hotly contested issue.

    Video found here:

    http://www.bakersfieldnow.com/home/video/37114349.html?video=pop&t=a

    Watching the video has me puzzled, the suspect is fleeing, you can hear the officers telling him to stop fleeing and the suspect is obviously disregarding the orders of the police, but the other sound in the background is a police dog barking… You know, a dog trained to bring down fleeing suspects… with an obvious non lethal tool at their disposal these officers still choose to shoot the kid instead. WOW

  287. What’s up, leftists?

    heh

    I like these cops, and cop buddies, who can’t even manage a symbolic denunciation of this man’s actual death before getting loud and vulgar about the fact that people are upset enough to mouth off about it, maybe a little too much.

  288. It now seems that the officer did use his pistol when he intended to use his taser. Of course a pistol and a taser have a completely different feel and action. And of course tasering an essentially subdued individual is inappropriate and probably criminal. It appears that Mehserle is immature, overly-excitable, poorly trained and has no business being a police officer.

  289. Tom – fair enough. I must have discounted those statements as angry hyperbole when I first read them, but I can see why you don’t. Personally, I agree with you on this much: the guy should get a fair trial, with all due process, and I still don’t agree with the death penalty.

    In the meantime, you and your pal MANGUS! might consider some anger management. Otherwise, I expect to see both of you in some videos of your own pretty soon. Don’t worry though, when that happens, I’ll still say that you deserve due process, no death penalty – and a long time in a prison cell.

  290. bill,

    see the 6:52 post. FSU criminolgist.

  291. Chris,

    I dont buy the taser bullshit argument. But even assuming so, it is also a deadly weapon. If he intentionally pulled the trigger (and I see no other way for the weapon to go off), I cant see a charge less than murder.

  292. Been sucking up the product, “kanabiis”…?
    Read my comment this time, then respond to it, rather than your own gibbering strawmen.

  293. This is obviously fake. They just looooove black people in San Francisco. They’re very tolerant, and peaceful, and loving.

  294. did you even read the post? That theory has already been shot (or tasered) down.

    Not even. It’s been seriously questioned, though.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.