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.