Prisons

Oakland BART Officer Who Shot Pinned, Unarmed Man Is Arrested On The Lam

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Last time we checked in on the aftermath of the New Year's day shooting in Oakland of the pinned, unarmed Oscar Grant by a BART police officer, the D.A. didn't even know when he might decide whether to press charges. Now, the officer in question, Johannes Mehserle, is apprehended in Nevada, arrested on a fugitive warrant on suspicion of murder.

Earlier blogging on this from me and Michael Moynihan, each with links to or embeds of the incriminating citizen-shot video of the leadup to the shooting and the shooting.

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  1. Burn ‘im.

  2. Considering all we see cops get away with, and how they never let one of their own go down if at all possible, the fact that he was running indicates at least what he thinks about his own guilt. Because otherwise he’d sit tight and let the blue wall of silence work.

  3. Yeah, some tough guy he is without his uniform. Running away..

  4. Good to know. Let me know if and when they let him loose.

  5. Because otherwise he’d sit tight and let the blue wall of silence work.

    Cell phones penetrated the blue wall in this case.

  6. Hey all,

    It looks bleak sometimes, but at least one royal douchbag is off the streets.

    1 > 0

  7. I would bet his being charged has something to do with transit cops being much closer to mall security than to the “real” police. The blue wall of silence only comes up to his knees.

  8. Cell phones penetrated the blue wall in this case.

    This is why we’re not allowed to video officers in the line of duty. There will have to be some strict laws against that soon following this case.

  9. Woo-hoo!

    I suppose that it was particularly prescient of others to wonder aloud if Mehserle was actually in the jurisdiction.

    I cannot imagine why he only made it to NV given the two weeks lead time he had.

    Anyway, go get him, Orloff.

  10. I cannot imagine why he only made it to NV given the two weeks lead time he had.

    He only took public transport.

  11. Interstate flight to avoid prosecution?

    Will we see other cops charged with compilicity, or aiding and abetting?

    The BART spin campaign says they want to see how these unfortunate incidents can be avoided in the future. I’d say, throwing this asshole into the maw of the “justice system” with no special considerations whatsoever would be a good place to start.

    ps- fuck the cop union.

  12. The BART spin campaign says they want to see how these unfortunate incidents can be avoided in the future.

    A ban on cellphone cameras in BART stations ought to do the trick. If not for the video evidence, there’s no WAY this cop would be facing any legal troubles at all. The rule is: without video evidence, when a cop says one thing and 100 eyewitnesses say another, the cop’s story is the one that’s believed.

  13. I agree with P Brooks. If we’re to use the excuse of “sending the right message” for all sorts of unreasonable prosecutions, the least we can do is apply that same bullshit strategy to LEOs with reasonable prosecutions.

  14. I wonder if we’ll see the press here treated the way they were in Chicago when they tried to cover the court appearance of that cop who smacked around that female bartender. The reporters who showed up came out to see their cars covered in parking tickets.

  15. It’ll be interesting to learn how he was found; was it incidental to something like a routine traffic stop, or were the Nevada cops tipped off? Also, when was the fugitive warrant issued?

  16. The reporters who showed up came out to see their cars covered in parking tickets.

    Were they parked in a naughty spot? Just covering the bases…

  17. BlueBook – if I had to make a guess, I would say that the California jurisdiction became aware that Mehserle had absconded and then filed the charges to make sure he didn’t make it too far.

    I think that makes it worse: in order to get charges filed, the suspect had to run first…and there’s some irony in that. Had Mehserle stayed put, he might not have had charges filed this “early”.

  18. OT

    Baby Hitler Seized By New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services

    Sorry, I just really wanted to type “Baby Hitler.”

  19. That’s plus one for LEO accountability.
    Here’s minus three.

    Do you wonder why I’m such a cynical bastard?

  20. Another sad thing about this bozo; his girlfriend apparently gave birth to their first child shortly after the shooting.

    1) This probably slowed him down. Even a police officer is capable of affection for his children.

    2) What a jerk abandoning his kid to go on the lam like that.

    Incidentally, here is another video of the incident. I like how the train operator closed the doors shortly after the shooting. I also loved the sheer number of cameras recording the scene.

    BTW, the video clearly shows Oscar was not handcuffed when he was shot. It also shows that none of the other police expected the shot to be fired. Nor was the guy fighting that hard (if at all); the guy kneeling on his neck had control of his torso, and his arms weren’t flopping around.

    Incidentally, anyone know what happens to the guy kneeling on the neck if his victim gets tazered? I would think he’d be at risk of getting shocked too.

  21. Great to see that justice is being served.

    What seems odd to me is the way this is painted as a race war instead of an issue of our above-the-law police force.

    “A white former transit police officer accused of killing an unarmed black man on an Oakland train platform has been arrested in Nevada on a warrant charging homicide, 12 days after the shooting that sparked violent street protests.”

    I really hate to bring up the issue of race, but why is it that we can only be enraged when it’s a [insert ethnic group] killing a [insert different ethnic group]? A police force that routinely uses sledgehammers to crack peanuts is a problem for all of us.

    I suppose it’s been like this for at least since April 26, 1992:

    “They said it was for the black man,
    they said it was for the mexican,
    and not for the white man.

    But if you look at the streets it wasn’t about Rodney King,
    It’s bout this fucked up situation and these fucked up police.
    It’s about coming up and staying on top
    and screamin’ 187 on a mother fuckin’ cop.
    It’s not written on the paper it’s on the wall.
    National guard??!
    Smoke from all around,”

  22. Incidentally, anyone know what happens to the guy kneeling on the neck if his victim gets tazered? I would think he’d be at risk of getting shocked too.

    Per this you can be holding onto someone as they get tazered. I presume as long as you are dry and insulated from the ground, you have enough resistance so that the current will mostly just go from one lead to the other.

  23. I too love how the the cell phone cameras are the real heroes here. It’s hard to imagine an instance in the future like this that won’t be covered by multiple angles. I love the 21st century.

    But the cop’s arrest scares me, ironically. Now there will be a trial and if he gets off with a rinky-dink charge, or scott free, things are going to get real ugly.

  24. Incidentally, anyone know what happens to the guy kneeling on the neck if his victim gets tazered? I would think he’d be at risk of getting shocked too.

    Yep. They can’t taser a restrained subject for that reason; just one more in the long litany of reasons why it is unreasonable to believe he was just “reaching for his taser”. I suppose they could drive stun with it, but usually that’s pointless except to torture the poor guy.

  25. Per this you can be holding onto someone as they get tazered. I presume as long as you are dry and insulated from the ground, you have enough resistance so that the current will mostly just go from one lead to the other.

    In drive stun mode there is insufficient current passing through the body to cause much contact current. A full-bore cartridge blast would have knocked all three of those goofballs down.

  26. Maybe Grant said “don’t taser me, bro” and the pig shot him as a way of granting his request. That’s the new professionalism we’ve been hearing about.

  27. The security guards I work with off usually off duty police officers. I brought this incident up with a couple of them the other night. They think the transit cop was going for his taser and instead (accidentally)grabbed his gun. Even if this was a case of adrenaline and a poor decision, what the hell is he going on the lam for? Doesn’t help his case.

  28. Punishing this fine young servant of the people sends the wrong message. Charging a police officer with murder for arbitrarily killing a civilian would have a chilling effect on law enforcement. Do we really want a police officer to stop and think before he shoots?

  29. The taser idea is bullshit. This was not even a case where a taser would have been justified. If he thought he was shooting his taser, he should be prosecuted on that alone for misconduct. And are they designing tasers nowadays that look and feel like pistols? If so, why the fuck? I’d be more inclined to believe the guy put too much pressure on the hair trigger, but knew he was holding his gun. That would explain his surprise. However, that would indicate that he pulled his gun out, which should be grounds for dismissal right there in this case. This was clearly not a situation that required an unholstered firearm.

  30. I know we have gone round and round on the taser issue since this story was blogged about, but I would like to add something that hasn’t been brought up.

    I just happened to watch a documentary on discovery channel the other day about non-lethal weapons. The taser was discussed, and they showed training of some officers in Chicago. In the taser training they showed that in a high stress situation with a combative suspect the officer about to deply the taser screams ‘taser, taser, taser’ before actually firing the weapon.

    The instructor explained that this is done to first warn any officer who may be in close proximity to get away, a wire discharged taser will shock anyone in contact with the suspect, and second, the warning is to give the suspect that last split second chance to stop doing whatever it is he/she is doing to get tased.

    It always struck me as odd when watching the video that if the officer did believe he was about to deploy a taser why he never warned anyone, putting his own comrades at risk.

    Oh well, now we get to see this played out in court, kudos for the arrest. I think its 14 days too late, but its still better then no arrest.

  31. LIT,

    I’d be more inclined to believe the guy put too much pressure on the hair trigger

    I stand by what I said the other day in a thread – putting your finger inside the trigger guard is an act of premeditation. If his finger is inside the guard he has already decided to shoot.

  32. If he thought he was shooting his taser, he should be prosecuted on that alone for misconduct was too stupid to be given a gun in the first place.

    I mean, seriously.

  33. And are they designing tasers nowadays that look and feel like pistols?

    Yes. Just saw one on a state trooper the other day and thought it was a secondary piece at first. They put it on the weak side to force a cross draw so that they supposedly know what they’re pulling.

    I stand by what I said the other day in a thread – putting your finger inside the trigger guard is an act of premeditation. If his finger is inside the guard he has already decided to shoot.

    I agree, but not everyone practices such rigorous trigger guard discipline as you or me.

  34. Nice how so many assume the accused is guilty and that he was on the lam. Just because he wasn’t sitting in the lobby of the Oakland PD doesn’t mean he ran.

    A fugitive warrant is just an accusation.

    Also, finger on the trigger can be a training issue, it’s not always premeditated murder.

  35. not everyone practices such rigorous trigger guard discipline as you or me.

    We must incentivize them.

  36. Just because he wasn’t sitting in the lobby of the Oakland PD doesn’t mean he ran.

    He went to Nevada to get his shoes shined, so he’d look professional.

  37. Ethical Quandry: It is wrong to hope that every fucker who makes excuses for killer cops eventually end up getting shot in the back by a cop while pinned and unarmed?

  38. I’d like to buy an “a,” Alex.

    Quandary

  39. Ride Fast,

    Also, finger on the trigger can be a training issue, it’s not always premeditated murder.

    Ummm…he has had the training. Anyone with any formal training has learned that. Based on Scalia’s new professionalism theory, we can safely assume he was following his training.

  40. It is wrong to hope that every fucker who makes excuses for killer cops eventually end up getting shot in the back by a cop while pinned and unarmed?

    Probably, but understandable.

  41. The “oh, he thought it was a tazer” excuse is laughable.

    Not only is the tazer use not justified in that situation, but the tazer:
    1) is bright yellow, not gunmetal black.
    2) weighs a quarter of what the pistol weighs
    3) is located on the other side of the officer’s body
    4) only works once you turn the tazer on, which is a different switch from the trigger.

    So, the officer drew his “tazer” from his gun compartment, thought his tazer suddenly weighed 4 times as much as it should and became black instead of almost neon yellow, and thought that his tazer suddenly began operating like a gun instead of a tazer.

    That’s quite the believable story, that.

  42. Yep. They can’t taser a restrained subject for that reason; just one more in the long litany of reasons why it is unreasonable to believe he was just “reaching for his taser”. I suppose they could drive stun with it, but usually that’s pointless except to torture the poor guy.

    Will somebody please explain to me the difference between tasing a guy and clubbing him with a nightstick. IMHO, tasers are now the police brutality weapon of choice and the public, consisting largely of unthinking morons, doesn’t get it becaause there is no blood/bruies/broken bones.

  43. SugerFree and robc – Nice. Express an opinion, get death threats.

  44. Will somebody please explain to me the difference between tasing a guy and clubbing him with a nightstick.

    With a tazer, you don’t get blood, hair, and bone fragments on your shoes.

  45. Will somebody please explain to me the difference between tasing a guy and clubbing him with a nightstick.

    You don’t get brought up on brutality charges for tasering people. Ergo, weapon of choice.

    SugerFree and robc – Nice. Express an opinion, get death threats.

    If those are death threats, you might want to buy some Depends, because you probably shit your pants regularly.

  46. Ride Fast,

    I said it was an ethical quandary. And I said it was merely a wish that fate might grant, not a threat.

    You people who like the taste of cop cock sure are touchy.

  47. SugerFree and robc – Nice. Express an opinion, get death threats.

    Those weren’t death threats.

    They should have reading comprehension courses at your local community college or adult education center. Perhaps you should look into it.

  48. Will somebody please explain to me the difference between tasing a guy and clubbing him with a nightstick. IMHO, tasers are now the police brutality weapon of choice and the public, consisting largely of unthinking morons, doesn’t get it because there is no blood/bruises/broken bones.

    Well, our friendly neighborhood jack-booted thug covered most of it. What irritates me is that they have a contact drive-stun setting at all. All that is good for is causing pain; it doesn’t incapacitate, and is likely to cause the suspect to only struggle more. It’s an engraved invitation for cops to torture suspects with impunity. Not cool.

  49. Also, finger on the trigger can be a training issue, it’s not always premeditated murder.

    Ummm…he has had the training

    Yes, he has but it’s not like you need to have “formal training” to learn that you never put your finger inside the trigger ride until you’ve decided you are going to shoot something.

    I never received formal training, but it was the first thing I learned. Same for everyone else I’ve ever met who learned to shoot a gun, formally or otherwise.

    No, this guy just decided he was going to shoot him. Premeditated murder, if I was the prosecutor.

  50. “trigger guard” not “trigger ride”, no idea where that came from.

  51. The “oh, he thought it was a tazer” excuse is laughable.

    No moreso than the excuse “Gee, I thought I was riding a bicycle” when in actuality I was driving my car.

  52. Matthew – I tend to agree with you and I’m not defending that cop. I’m saying that the training he got may be wrong and is part of what’s wrong with BART and Oaktown PD.

  53. Forget the “don’t put your finger on the trigger” rule.

    Whatever happened to the “don’t point the damn thing at anything unless you are going to shoot it” rule?

    For anyone but a cop, that video would have “premeditated” tattooed on its ass, because of the time and effort it took him to get off the suspect, step back, draw his weapon, point it, and fire it. That adds up to the necessary intention.

    For anyone but a cop.

  54. Ok, fuck that. He ran. 1st degree.

  55. I don’t think he meant to shoot the guy.

    1) He looks stunned after the shot.

    2) If they had anything like the fire-arms training I had in the Navy, then he would be firing salvoes of 2 shots if he intended to put bullets into the guy.

    Of course, I could well be wrong. I am wondering if they are in the habit of pulling guns on people as a threatening gesture while having no intention of shooting. That is, of course, a big no no – you never point a gun at something unless you are prepared to shoot it.

    Note, all three videos show a police force that was feeling under threat and was trying to be intimidating as a reaction. They had officers forming a perimeter to defend the guys dealing with the suspected fighters from attacks from the train. The sound track shows that the a vocal group of people on the train were shouting their disapproval of the police.

    This is a sign that the police are fucking up very, very badly. As Sir Robert Peel emphasized, the effectiveness of the police is dependent on the approval of the general public, and that the police are merely members of the public who are paid to do full time that which is a duty of all citizens. There is not a one on this board that would see a rape in progress and try to stop it, assuming he or she had the means. If police officers were attempting to subdue a rapist who had been caught in the act, there would be no need for a perimeter to defend them against a hostile crowd.

    It is the fact that the laws are unpopular that is the problem. The police, in enforcing laws against victimless crimes make themselves enemies of the communities they police. They become an occupying army. And these sorts of messes are the result.

    Repeal anti-drug, anti-gambling and anti prostitution laws, and I suspect that much of the antipathy for the police in Oakland would fall away. Oh, they should sell off the BART to a private company. Most private companies do not point guns at misbehaving customers.

  56. Ride Fast:SugerFree and robc – Nice. Express an opinion, get death threats.

    Ladies and gentlemen, we have our first new troll of 2009!

  57. RC Dean,

    Yep, I have always been taught that if you unholster your gun, you have lost the ability to argue you weren’t planning on using it (the whole “i just wanted to frighten him” excuse). Even if he hadn’t shot anybody, a cop unholstering a gun like that should be thrown out, because he basically said “i’m prepared to use deadly force” in a situation where there was clearly no threat that justified it. that he shot someone should be considered murder in the 2nd degree IMO if he was just incredibly stupid, murder in the first if someone can prove he had it out for those guys.

  58. I agree with tarran about the cop looking surprised that he fired.

    And about Robert Peel.

    But he meant “not try to stop it.”

  59. There is not a one on this board that would see a rape in progress and try to stop it, assuming he or she had the means.

    Speak for yourself! What a flippin’ awful typo. At least I hope that was a typo, otherwise you clearly are not in the business of sensemaking.

  60. If there is a police force in America that trains their officers to have a finger on the trigger if the weapon is drawn the someone needs to sue that police force into oblivion. Especially considering the fact that it seems to be the trend in police forces across the US to have the Glock 40 or close variant. Glock 40’s and similar weapons like my S&W SW9 do NOT have safeties. There is no mechanism to prevent an accidental shooting. The trigger has a safety that by design is built to disengage the moment the trigger is pulled. To call it a safety is misleading, it is more designed to prevent an accidental firing if the gun happens to be dropped with a round chambered.

    If there is anyone out there that believes that having a finger on the trigger is appropriate or proper firearm safety then please, do us a favor and get rid of your weapons, you are a danger to yourself and society.

    Even soldiers, trained to kill are still trained to keep the finger off the trigger until you are ready to destroy what you are aiming at. PERIOD

  61. mumble mumble mumble…

    What?

    Mumble, Mumble, Mumble…

    What?

    joe is right.

    Kicks pebble…

  62. Read the full story before you comment. He wasn’t running away. He was hiding out from the people makeing death threats against him and his family. He is no longer a cop, so he can’t carry a gun to protect himself or his family. He was under no charges, so he was free to leave thet state. He surrendered to the police without incident when his attorney let him know a warrant had been issued. He waived extradition… The warrant was issued to prevent further rioting (my opinion). This whole thing is a travesty. He never meant to shoot Grant, that is clear by his reaction to the gunshot. He made a judgement error.. so did the people who started the incident on BART in the first place. Stop trying this case in the media and the ‘court of public opinion”. Let the courts do thier job now.

  63. Fred,

    He is no longer a cop, so he can’t carry a gun to protect himself or his family.

    WTF? I carry and Im not a cop. Does he live in CA or some stupid state like that? 🙂

    Actually, what is CA’s carry laws like? Im unfamiliar with their laws.

  64. The cop looking surprised doesn’t surprise me…

    To me it looked less like, holy shit I just shot marvin in the face, and more like, holy shit, I did’t realize the hole would be that big.

    But again I just keep returning to the fact that this was supposed to be a ‘trained professional’ who suddenly was surprised that pressure on the trigger would cause the weapon to fire. How many times had he fired his weapon? To hear it from the ‘surprised look’ apologists this must have been what, his first time every having a gun in his hand? Are you apologists going to jump on the defective gun band wagon too? He was surprised that the gun fired, because you know, guns just shoot themselves all the time. Not knowing that you are putting pressure on the trigger is absolutely no excuse. Infact, if that does become his defense, Murder 2 in California was written just for him, his negligence was so severe that he knowingly put others in risk of death, thus murder 2. So actually I hope that becomes his defense, just to insure that there is no doubt.

    Give me a break. You cop apologists will stoop to every level to try to justify letting this man off. How about one of you accidentally shoot someone, without a badge on, and claim you didn’t realize your finger was on the trigger and see how far that will get you in court. My guess is, not very far.

  65. He never meant to shoot Grant

    Bullshit. See the posts above about trigger guard and never pointing at anything you dont plan on shooting. He violated two first day basic firearm rules, both implying that he did, in fact, mean to shoot.

  66. If there is anyone out there that believes that having a finger on the trigger is appropriate or proper firearm safety then please, do us a favor and get rid of your weapons, you are a danger to yourself and society.

    Fair enough. Why’d he draw the weapon in the first place?

  67. Why’d he draw the weapon in the first place?

    I have been wondering this since the beginning. Will one of the apologists please explain this?

  68. Fair enough. Why’d he draw the weapon in the first place?

    To shoot the man.

    There’s no other reason to draw a firearm.

  69. Fred,

    Yeah, except when a drug dealer shoots a cop when he thinks his house is being burgalurized, then its not a “judgement error”, its “murder 1” and people gloss over how the situation actually unfolded. Here we have video evidence of what happened and you’re trying to tell us “oh, well he wasn’t threatened, had several police officers there for backup, had most if not all of the suspects trussed and not struggling, but he was frightened and thus erred in the judgement of pulling his gun and ‘accidently’ shooting the guy”. If we’re going to be a nation that puts petty drug dealers on death row for defending their homes, let’s not quibble about whether this officer made an “error in judgement”, let’s lock him up and throw away the key.

  70. CNN “developing story” on right now about this.

    CB

  71. I don’t doubt that this guy is getting thrown under the bus by the Bay Area political establishment. And he very well may deserve it.

    As far as the blue line thing is concerned, my impression is that transit police are not held in too much esteem by their metro PD colleagues. Perhaps a higher regard than mall rent-a-cops, but not too much higher.

  72. Stop trying this case in the media and the ‘court of public opinion”. Let the courts do thier job now.

    I’d say that it was the riots and the public opinion that got us to a point where the courts will actually do their job now.

  73. You cop apologists will stoop to every level to try to justify letting this man off.

    Wow. You really don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about, or who you’re talking to, do you?

    Just wow.

  74. phalkor,

    There’s no other reason to draw a firearm.

    There is no other GOOD reason to draw a firearm.

    There’s also no other GOOD reason to taser somebody except to defend yourself from attack. We all know how strictly police officers follow that rule.

  75. Well the cop was really scared, I would have been scared too. That’s still no excuse.

  76. I don’t doubt that this guy is getting thrown under the bus by the Bay Area political establishment. And he very well may deserve it.

    Have you seen the video? How can you doubt he deserves the worst the court can throw at him. Maybe it was a mistake, but everyone else pays dearly for theirs, cops should too.

  77. There’s no other reason to draw a firearm.

    I disagree. If one draws a firearm, one should be prepared to discharge it. However, there are a thousand circumstances where one might draw a firearm without the ultimate intent to fire it.

    For instance, if I caught someone in my home, I’d have my firarm drawn in preparation for self defense, but I really don’t want to shoot anyone in my livingroom, and deal with all that noise.

    But let’s break this particular case down. There have been discussions about the possibility that he thought it was a tazer. I don’t think that’s the case for one reason: The officer has made no attempt to offer this defense.

    For instance, we know that he refused to talk to investigators. We also know he “fled” to Nevada.

    Put yourself in his position. Let’s assume, regardless of how implausible, let’s pretend for a second that you pulled the weapon, truly thinking it was a tazer, you discharged to the subsequent horror that it wasn’t a tazer.

    Wouldn’t you be screaming at top volume to the investigators (apologetically) that you thought it was a tazer? If you have to hide behind a lawyer, your union rep, and leave for Nevada, that suggest that you don’t have a good reason for your actions.

    So, how we all feelin’ on the death penalty now?

  78. So, how we all feelin’ on the death penalty now?

    Ive never been opposed to it. In theory.

  79. There’s no other reason to draw a firearm.

    The police are not allowed to draw their firearms unless a life is in danger. If the cop claims any other reason, he’s guilty of negligence at minimum.

  80. However, there are a thousand circumstances where one might draw a firearm without the ultimate intent to fire it.

    My argument would be if the firearm was discharged, there can be no more arguement whether or not you “intended” to discharge it. You pulled the gun, were in control of it and unless you can prove that the gun suffered a manufacture defect, you “meant” to shoot it.

  81. “Fair enough. Why’d he draw the weapon in the first place?”

    Who knows, I do know that police, and citizens alike have been conditioned to believe that drawing a weapon on another person by police is standard operating procedure. To the obvious detriment of the citizens.

    Police often draw and point their weapon at anyone who refuses to obey commands, it is their false belief that the weapon somehow validates their authority, when infact it is quite the opposite. Threat of force by the police force is in no way a validation of their authority… it is a juvenile ego stroke. Authority is derived from mutual respect, police do not respect the citizenry, as a result they receive no respect back. But boy you cops, and your apologists love to cry about the lack of citizens respect…

    How about doing the logical thing and going out and earning it like everyone else does. Forcing respect at gun point does not earn you respect, it earns fear, and anyone who has ever trained animals will tell you, an animal that fears you will eventually injure you.

  82. Anyone want to place odds on any of the copologists responding to kanabiis’s 3:25 post?

  83. Why should they, robc?

    “If you’re not cop, you’re little people.”

  84. I’m opposed to the death penalty because I don’t beleive people or institutions made by people are flawless enough to make judgments of life and death with 100% accuracy. One wrongful death is too much.

    A police man should know that drawing a deadly weapon is the same as preparing to make such life and death judgments. Even though he was scared he still was wrong.

  85. My argument would be if the firearm was discharged, there can be no more arguement whether or not you “intended” to discharge it.

    Your argument is perfectly valid.

  86. “He never meant to shoot Grant, that is clear by his reaction to the gunshot.”

    I haven’t watched the video since the first day, but my immediate reaction (and my wife’s when she watched it) is that the shooter was NOT surprised about anything. After he fired the shot, I didn’t see him look at the gun, look at the body, look again at the gun, look at his buddies, look again at the gun, etc… like I would have done if I had shot someone with a gun instead of a taser.

    Go back and watch the video again. He unholsters his weapon, fires into the helpless prisoner’s back, then CALMY REHOLSTERS HIS WEAPON. No confusion there. And no holes in his training.

    IMO.

    CB

  87. robc,

    10:1 against

    Like moths to the flame, they can’t “not”.

  88. SugarFree,

    You have it wrong, its “If you’re not a cop, you’re a civilian”. Which means “little people” in cop speak.

    Hey cops – you are all civilians too.

  89. Robc, I don’t expect a response, the best they ever come up with is, ‘oh you smoke weed, your a criminal’

    Watch for it, someone is bound to attack my choice of user name…

  90. Well, if you smoke weed you are predisposed to break the law. Breaking the law shows a severe lacking in judgment. Not that it extends to this, but it might?

    Oh I can’t type that seriously, half of my sorority smokes and they are all nice people.

  91. robc,

    I was quoting Blade Runner, but agree with the troubling “civilian” trend.

  92. I was quoting Blade Runner

    Its pushing 20 years, I should probably see that again.

    Which of the 47,000 released versions is the best?

  93. Oh I can’t type that seriously, half of my sorority smokes and they are all nice people.

    Zeta Alpha Zeta, right?

    Which of the 47,000 released versions is the best?

    Director’s Cut. All the voiceover crap is removed, which is the way Ridley wanted it in the forst place.

  94. Which of the 47,000 released versions is the best?

    The Director’s Cut. No annoying Harrison Ford voiceover.

  95. Curse you, Episiarch!!!!

  96. Any of them without Harrison Ford’s thoroughly bored voice-over. This one is my current favorite, but mostly for the bonus material.

  97. “I was quoting Blade Runner, but agree with the troubling “civilian” trend.”

    Yes, very troubling, and should be noted that law enforcements referring to citizens as civilians did not really enter the language in the US until after the police forces began militarizing themselves during the growth of the ‘drug war’ in the 80’s.

    If you watch popular media, TV shows, movies etc. made during the 50s-70s to hear any character from law enforcement refer to citizens as civilians was unheard of. Imagine that word being used by Andy Griffith or Barney Fife…

    After law enforcement began playing with the toys that soldiers get to play with, only then did they start to think of citizens as, civilians, and well themselves as some sort of military unit. This is further compounded by the fact that until the use of military weapons by the police force, having prior military service was not highly sought out by police forces. Combine these two and the lack of Police brass on emphasizing that police are not soldiers and 30 years later you get what we have now.

    The fact that police officers are NOT receiving training to correct this obvious line being drawn by police officers on the street proves that even the highest ranks of Police forces somehow believe that they are not citizens with a job.

  98. Curse you, Episiarch!!!!

    Too late; I’m already cursed.

  99. I have to say it. Blade Runner sucked. Every version.

    And not just regular sucked, but “accidentally-shot-a-kid-that-probably-deserved-it-then-got-hassled-for-going-to-Neveada-to-get-your-shoes-shined” sucked.

    See what I did there?

  100. Too late; I’m already cursed.

    The monthly visitor came a little early this time around, eh?

  101. See what I did there?

    I don’t understand, could you explain it to me?

  102. In the video I linked to earlier, the guy kneeling on Oscar’s neck leaps to his feet right after te shot is fired. At that point Johhanes gives him a look that struck me as a “Oh Shit” look.

    Again, I could be wrong. The guy had a reason for pulling his gun and pointing it at Oscar. The reason might have been a justifiable one, but I think it unlikely. I think we are looking at a minimum at manslaughter, but more probably murder due to the depraved indifference implied in pointing a gun at someone without good reason.

    My comment to the effect that I suspect that it was a scare tactic gone horribly wrong is pure speculation. I would not be surprised if it were to come out that I was wrong, and that it had been a killing in cold blood motivated by some bizarre love triangle. My suspicion is merely the most plausible scenario I can come up with from looking at the video.

    In that respect I am not being an apologist. There are consequences to criminal actions, and shooting someone on the back as they lie on the ground with a confederate’s knee planted firmly in their neck is a crime. Speculation as to why the crime was committed is not the same as arguing that the act was not a crime but a justifiable action.

  103. I have to say it. Blade Runner sucked. Every version.

    HERETIC!!!!! KILL THE UNBELIEVER!!!!!

  104. This guy was a glorified traffic cop whose everyday job was mostly pretty boring. He gets in an exciting, stressful situation and all his training and common sense goes out the window. But of course a civilian doing the same would be in deep, deep trouble. No reason a cop should be treated any differently.

  105. My comment to the effect that I suspect that it was a scare tactic gone horribly wrong is pure speculation.

    Not getting on you or calling you an apologist…

    Pulling a gun to scare a guy face-down on the ground is a pretty FUBAR tactic. Basically, he could have just shouted “I’ve drawn my weapon on you!” and achieved the same result.

  106. HERETIC!!!!! KILL THE UNBELIEVER!!!!!

    Nice. Express an opinion, get death threats. 🙂

  107. So, how we all feelin’ on the death penalty now?

    Even more against it. It took 13 days to finally bring charges against somebody who was part of the system and obviously shot an unarmed, pohysically restrained man in the back.

    Like I’m gonna trust that DA to decide who to seek the death penalty against?

  108. He claims he was not running from the law; he went to Nevada to avoid death threats he was receiving. Maybe he visited this site and saw all the insane “all cops deserve to die” bullshit that always pops up here whenever a cop commits a crime.

    And although he should be arrested and punished, the likelihood he will be convicted of murder, which in California requires malice aforethought, is pretty much nil or should be if one is interested in following the law.

  109. So, how we all feelin’ on the death penalty now?

    Still unambiguously opposed. J sub D adds a reason I hadn’t even considered, above.

  110. “Even a police officer is capable of affection for his children.”

    How generous of you to admit that. Because as we all know, since a few bad police officers commit crimes, all of them must be worthless pieces of shit, or at least that is the impression one gets from reading the bullshit posted by a huge portion of knuckle draggers on this site.

  111. I guess I’m a cop apologist, because I thought this cop did not intend to shoot the victim, but discharged his gun accidentally. I base my speculation on the fact that he and everyone else looked surprised after the gun went off. And because it’s happened before, but with less lethal consequences.

    If you think that this cop intentionally tried to kill Oscar Grant, how do you explain that none of the other people being detained were shot? Why would he chose a crowded train station as the place to live out his sadistic executioner fantasies?

  112. And although he should be arrested and punished, the likelihood he will be convicted of murder, which in California requires malice aforethought, is pretty much nil or should be if one is interested in following the law.

    Malice aforethought only requires, IIRC, that:

    1. The suspect had knowledge that he was about to undertake an action that would likely cause someone’s death

    and

    2. That the action was undertaken deliberately and willingly

    ———
    How does this shooting not qualify? I’m pretty sure this guy knows that shooting a guy in the back with a 9mm will cause death, and there doesn’t seem to be any lack of control or intent on the video…

  113. Maybe he visited this site and saw all the insane “all cops deserve to die” bullshit that always pops up here whenever a cop commits a crime.

    Somehow i doubt this.

  114. If you think that this cop intentionally tried to kill Oscar Grant, how do you explain that none of the other people being detained were shot? Why would he chose a crowded train station as the place to live out his sadistic executioner fantasies?

    I think it more likely that one of the hecklers said something that caused his aggression response to spike, and he saw red. As someone else pointed out, he doesn’t look nearly as surprised as the other officers, and holsters his weapon pretty cleanly.

  115. Regarding Blade Runner

    Either the “director’s cut” or “Ridley Scott’s Final Cut / 25th Anniversary Edition,”

    Very similar, but the Final Cut version is the only one Ridley Scott had complete control over.

  116. The pacing is better in the Final Cut version.

  117. If you watch popular media, TV shows, movies etc. made during the 50s-70s to hear any character from law enforcement refer to citizens as civilians was unheard of. Imagine that word being used by Andy Griffith or Barney Fife…

    Actually, I think Barney did say such a thing on at least one occasion. But then again, Barney Fife was pretty over-the-top with stuff like that. 😉

    Today cops say it with a totally straight face and expect to be taken seriously.

  118. Because as we all know, since a few bad police officers commit crimes, all of them must be worthless pieces of shit

    Yes. We do all know that. When you cover for a worthless piece of shit, you become a worthless piece of shit. Don’t want to be called a worthless piece of shit? Turn in fellow officers when you see them commit a crime. Tear down the blue wall of silence. Stop referring to the people you serve as “civilians” and treating everyone as enemy combatants.

    When you make excuse for worthless pieces of shit, do you become one yourself? Maybe not, maybe you are just a worthless crumb of shit.

  119. “Ethical Quandry: It is wrong to hope that every fucker who makes excuses for killer cops eventually end up getting shot in the back by a cop while pinned and unarmed?”

    Ethical Quandry: Is it wrong to hope that every fucker who calls all cops pieces of shit and hopes for their deaths (and don’t even fucking try to claim that doesn’t happen on this site because I have seen it dozens of times) because of the actions of bad cops gets killed in the course of a crime or can no longer walk safely in their neighborhood because there is no longer a police presence.

    It is always hilarious to read the missives directed against all cops by the pussies on this site who try to act all big and bad. But I can guarantee you don’t feel that way when you need the police. And if the police are half as bad as half the shitheads on this site claim they are, why don’t you just come out and say you want the police to be done away with everywhere? If this is not how you feel, then shut the fuck up with all your “look at me I am so tough and cool calling all police horrible, fascist murderers” bullshit.

  120. I want the police to be done away with everywhere.

    –Armed Civilian

  121. Hate to tell you this, but this would actually make life much more dangerous for us.

  122. then shut the fuck up with all your “look at me I am so tough and cool calling all police horrible, fascist murderers” bullshit

    Don’t be silly. We punctuate much better than that when we call police horrible, fascist murderers.

    @ Unarmed:
    Better fix that then.

  123. B, did I hurt your feelings? Poor baby. Remember not to suckle your gun as you cry yourself to sleep tonight.

    “Those big meanies at Hit and Run! They don’t want me to get away with shooting unarmed citizens no more! Wah!”

    Grade-A pathetic.

  124. B —

    There is a subtlety you are missing to the “all cops are pieces of shit” meme. Many, though not most, cops are bullies. A few of them are abusive. A few of those are sadists. A few of that group are murderers.

    I think it, in the dispassionate glow of after the stupid thing, more accurate to call those majority of officers who stand around stupidly and/or avert their eyes when their bad brethren commit criminal acts to be “mediocre” cops. But you must admit that burying your head in the sand when the guy next to you does something unspeakable can in no way be characterized as “good”.

    For evil to succeed, all that is required is for mediocre people to care more about their pensions than about the murder of unarmed innocents.

  125. Wow, B’s accusing _other_ people here of “try[ing] to act all big and bad”? I can’t tell how much of an internet tuff guy you are yet, B; why don’t you throw in a couple more “pussies” and “shitheads” in your next post, and then we’ll all know you’re the real deal.

  126. But I can guarantee you don’t feel that way when you need the police.

    When do I “need” the police? The last thing in the world I want is any–any–interaction with them. I don’t want any interaction with the Mafia, either.

  127. Such anger B, I certainly hope you don’t take that malice and hatred of us pussies out on the street when your driving around with a badge on. (Can I at least assume you are a police officer)

    And here I will return to my, you want respect, earn it. Your tirade sounds just like every other cops, and their apologist ilk against people like me who happen to have noticed cops are less cops and more jack-booted-thugs these days.

    Oh yea, someday I will need a cop for sure, to write a report. Or maybe check the identity of the people down the street some gang banger shot dead. Maybe run some police tape around the crime scene. The chances of a cop responding to a life or death situation and actually saving a life is so rare it makes national headlines when it happens. Get off your high horse in believing that those tickets you write to speeders and kids smoking weed in the park has any effect on real criminals and the crimes they commit.

    You want my respect Mr. Officer, earn it, that badge is as worthless as the application you filled out to get it. Anyone can get a fucking job, so you got one, big fucking deal. You know who else filled out an application, took some training and got a badge? Tony at McDonalds, but at least he says sir when he hands me my food. Whats your excuse?

  128. I second SugarFree. You want cops treated with more respect, B? Time for the good ones to start outing the bad.

  129. LMNOP, you win the First Annual H&R Generosity in the Face of Vitriol Award.

    I’ll let you know when I reach that “dispassionate glow of after the stupid thing” and can promote the enablers to “mediocre”.

  130. “You want to find an outlaw, hire an outlaw. You want to find a Dunkin’ Donuts, call a cop.”

  131. “B” has thin skin, it seems. Or maybe he’s getting an unpleasant look in the mirror.

    Let me paste this in from the other day:

    And I will restate, for your benefit, a point I have made in the past. Until the “good” cops begin to arrest their “bad” co-workers, and testify against them in open court, I will proceed with the default assumption that there is no such thing as a good cop.

    That motherfucker should have been disarmed, bodyslammed to the concrete and cuffed right there on the platform.

    On a purely practical note, that guy could have gotten himself, and every other cop on that platform, killed by being stupid.
    I’m surprised the crowd didn’t riot.

  132. “I’m surprised the crowd didn’t riot.”

    Oh I am, they just witnessed a cop gunning down an unarmed suspect and none of his coworkers said a damn thing about it. To rush those officers for justice, would have been suicide and I think those people wanted to get home and sleep it off, not die on New Years eve.

  133. I’m surprised the crowd didn’t riot.

    That is surprising, now that I think about it. There is lots of un-permitted concealed carry in Oaktown.

  134. “I think it more likely that one of the hecklers said something that caused his aggression response to spike, and he saw red. As someone else pointed out, he doesn’t look nearly as surprised as the other officers, and holsters his weapon pretty cleanly.”

    I have seen a few times that cops get fucking hyper when they have an audience, trying to prove themselves. Specifically, I have seen that old cops often appear more calm, although sometimes cranky, but not really giving a shit. The younger ones that look like they just got out of failing high school, protein-drinking douchebags tend to be the shittiest.

  135. DOH, that was supposed to read,

    Oh I am NOT.. lol previewed and still didn’t fix it.

  136. When do I “need” the police? The last thing in the world I want is any–any–interaction with them. I don’t want any interaction with the Mafia, either.

    Was going to post pretty much the same thing, didn’t want to get involoved, but the urge to say something took over. As well as:

    Oh yea, someday I will need a cop for sure, to write a report.

    Because that’s about all I’d get from calling the cops. I need to so the insurance company will pay.

    What do you think, calling the cops will save your ass? Protect your property? If you’re calling the cops, it’s already too late.

  137. There is lots of un-permitted concealed carry in Oaktown.

    And yet the cop is the only one who killed someone, even in these exaggerated circumstances. What’s that line again about private gun ownership turning civilized places into the Wild West?

  138. FrBunny – Good point.

  139. Kudos to those that point out that the other mighty protectors standing there did nothing as a man who was completely restrained was shot in the back.

    From the handful of cops I have known personally, I can say that I have never known a decent one. I was at a wedding just last weekend and had to listen to a jag-off cop tell me about shooting some dog for no reason while he laughed like a psychopath. I’m sure there are nice ones out there, but just like anything else, I need to see it to believe it. Until then, I’ll hang tight with Eazy and say “Fuck tha police.”

  140. LMNOP, you win the First Annual H&R Generosity in the Face of Vitriol Award.

    I’ll let you know when I reach that “dispassionate glow of after the stupid thing” and can promote the enablers to “mediocre”.

    LOL. Heh.

    It’s not generosity. Here’s the thought process:

    1. To be called evil requires a bad act.
    2. To be called good requires a good act.
    3. Self-preservation is neither a good nor a bad act.
    4. Cops who don’t rock the boat refrain in order to ensure their own personal (financial and/or physical) security.

    And on one thing Jesus, Nietzsche, and I all agree: We may quibble on whether good is good or evil, evil, but lukewarm is just fucking pathetic.

  141. Even more against it. It took 13 days to finally bring charges against somebody who was part of the system and obviously shot an unarmed, pohysically restrained man in the back.

    Like I’m gonna trust that DA to decide who to seek the death penalty against?

    Damn if I’ve ever heard something more logical than that. I wish I could paste this all over the Texas interstate system.

  142. lmnop,

    Im not sure I agree with all your points. I might argue that evil merely requires the failure to do good.

  143. Hey B, tough guy, you got the cajones to respond point by point to the 3:25 post?

  144. Im not sure I agree with all your points. I might argue that evil merely requires the failure to do good.

    That’s the majority position, I’m pretty sure.

  145. I have to say it. Blade Runner sucked. Every version.

    I disagree. Only the director’s cut sucked. in fact, Blade Runner was one of the first movies* that taught me why the director’s cut doesn’t make it into the theater.

    * Blade Runner was one of the early movies that was released as director’s cut. Supposedly because all the Sci-fi geeks swore that the true vision was lost with the theater release version. After that, every damned movie, from Gone With The Wind to Deuce Bigalow are now release as Director’s cut versions. Why, I ask? Why?

    Anyhoo, take someone who’s NEVER SEEN Bladerunner, (even a sci-fi geek) show them the director’s cut, then wait for the “so, what the fuck’s going on” look to appear on their face within the first ten minutes. It’s priceless.

  146. I might argue that evil merely requires the failure to do good.

    Uh oh.

  147. Until then, I’ll hang tight with Eazy and say “Fuck tha police.”

    Eastside…’till I die. Why aks why?

  148. “Anyhoo, take someone who’s NEVER SEEN Bladerunner, (even a sci-fi geek) show them the director’s cut, then wait for the “so, what the fuck’s going on” look to appear on their face within the first ten minutes. It’s priceless.”

    Heaven forbid they wait another ten minutes while the fucking story unfolds.

    (Reminds me of when people lean over to you in a movie that just started and say “What’s going on?” I just got here too. Wait a minute and figure it out.)

    You have to be a grade A moron to not figure out by the end of Blade Runner what is happening. You have to be a grade B moron to not figure it out in the first ten minutes.

  149. I have watched the videos several times and what I found informative was watching the forward officer with his knee on the victim’s neck: Before the shooter stands up, this forward officer repositions himself to assume control over the victim. And then, the forward officer repositions himself to quickly get away from the victim right before the shooter pulls his gun. Then, as the gun is pulled and the shooter stabilizes for the shoot, the forward officer jumps back on his feet, clearly in expectation of the shot, which comes moments later.

    Now, this proves the two officers were in communication (as we would expect being so close to each other) and therefore the forward officer knows the verbalized intentions of the shooter.

    This disproves the ‘hair-trigger’ theory, as clearly other officers expected a shot from something. However, it is unlikely the forward officer expected a gun-shot, as this would not require distancing himself from the victim first, but a taser shot would. A such, it is clear to me that all involved expected a taser blast. However, would this not still be murder in some fashion, even if it is just manslaughter?

  150. Lonesnark,

    You are right… I hadn’t noticed the way the guy kneeling on Oscar’s neck repositioned his feet just before the shot was fired.

    What a bunch of fucking incompetents.

    As to whether or not misidentifying his weapon as a taser before he fired constitutes manslaughter rather than murder, I would defer to experts on CA code. However, speaking morally, anytime you point a weapon at someone and intentionally pull the trigger without justification, it’s murder. They didn’t need to taze the guy; when the second guy takes his knee off Oscar’s neck, Oscar remained prone on the ground. At most he was refusing to put his hands behind his back. Use of a weapon, even a less lethal one was not justified – ergo you still have a depraved indifference. Had he been tazed and suffered a heart-attack, it would still be murder.

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