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Did BART cop who killed Oscar Grant mistake gun for Taser?

January 6, 2009

Plan 9 from BART police

by Junya

Mubarak Ahmad and dozens of others who protested the murder of Oscar Grant at BART headquarters in Oakland on Monday aren’t falling for the “Taser excuse.” – Photo: Frederic Larson, The Chronicle
Mubarak Ahmad and dozens of others who protested the murder of Oscar Grant at BART headquarters in Oakland on Monday aren’t falling for the “Taser excuse.” – Photo: Frederic Larson, The Chronicle
Just as in war, in extrajudicial killings, truth is the first casualty.

We cannot expect to receive any reports except those that justify, excuse or minimize the killing of Oscar Grant by BART police at 2 a.m. New Year’s Day. It begins with the first report of an “officer-involved shooting”: a term that serves to evade the issue of circumvention of justice and remove the shocking lethality, while assigning the killer a passive role – reduced to merely being “involved” in some unstated way.

The Oakland Tribune story “Man dies in BART officer-involved shooting” is a perfect example. The report completely removes the killer from the killing and shifts responsibility to a mischievous little self-willed, but incontinent, gun: “an officer’s gun discharged, wounding Grant.”

Now the San Francisco Chronicle provides an example of journalism sacrificed in service of police deception: “One source familiar with the investigation said BART is looking into a number of things, including whether the officer had meant to fire his Taser stun gun rather than his firearm.”

The Taser excuse is so preposterous that the source preferred to remain anonymous. Why is the Chronicle printing unaccountable rumors? Yet the article begins with the official BART statement: “BART’s police chief asked for patience from the public today after video footage surfaced showing one of his officers fatally shooting an unarmed man … he found the footage to be inconclusive.”

So, officially, we should wait for the police investigation, and not believe our lying eyes. Yet, unofficially, police anonymously spread disinformation that would have us believe that it was something less than the murder we see in several witnesses’ videos.

You would think that if the policeman actually meant to fire his Taser, he would have immediately admitted that mistake to clear himself from a murder charge. Why would the investigation need to be “looking into” that possibility? I try in vain to envision the policeman sweating under the glare of an intense interrogation about the killing, when the interrogator asks, “Officer, is it possible that you might have mistaken your Glock for a Taser?” I’m sure the killer cop would fall out of his seat laughing.

Taser X26, police issue
Taser X26, police issue
Glock 36
Glock 36
Why is the Taser excuse absurd?

1. The manual states that the Taser X26 weighs 7 ounces. Depending on model and bullets loaded, a Glock pistol can weigh from 25-38 ounces. You don’t have to be a weapons expert to feel the difference between holding about two pounds and holding less than half a pound – try it.

2. Police pistols are all black, sometimes with a very dark brown grip. The X26 has bright yellow markings on it. It also has a 2-digit LED display.

3. The X26 has a safety on the grip that must be released. The Glock safety is on the trigger.

So let’s review the minimum steps of a Taser deployment:

1. You pull out the lightweight, brightly colored weapon. You load the cartridge onto the tip of the barrel. The cartridge is fat and rectangular, looking nothing like a pistol barrel.

2. You reach on the grip and flip the safety up. The LED display lights up like half of your digital alarm clock, then shows the percentage charge.

3. Police are taught NEVER to use Tasers in life-threatening situations (ensuring that the “Tasers save lives” mantra remains a fairy tale). So, since that eliminates the “split-second judgment” defense, every Taser policy I’ve seen requires a warning before firing, to give the victim the opportunity to comply. Police like to report that merely pointing the Taser and issuing the warning is often sufficient.

To accept that the killer went through these steps without realizing he actually had in his hands a heavy, dark pistol – with no LED display and no cartridge loaded or to be loaded – requires the kind of suspension of belief we’ve not been asked to make since “Plan 9 from Outer Space” hit the screens.

Most likely, this cockamamie rumor is spread by the police in order to buy time. It’s damage control, to pacify an angry public until they can come up with some way to blame the victim.

Tuesday the Chronicle amplified this “Taser mistake” nonsense:

“Don Cameron, a former BART police sergeant and weapons expert who now teaches police officers about proper use of force, said Monday that he had watched footage of Grant’s death and was convinced that the officer had meant to fire a Taser … Cameron said he made his conclusion based in part on the officer’s stance, and the fact that a second officer moved away from Grant just before he was shot, perhaps trying to avoid a second-hand shock.”

Is there any end to the fictions we’re asked to believe? Everyone knows Tasers do not give “second-hand shock,” because we’ve all seen those jive jolt sessions where police hold a reporter as the reporter gets a sample shock from a Taser. We also watched police piled on University of Florida student Andrew Meyer after he questioned Sen. John Kerry at a campus forum. None moved away before, or while, Meyer was Tasered. On the other hand, stepping away from someone pointing a Glock requires no explanation.

The Taser-confusion rumor is now posted on Police One, a law enforcement website where “You must be a confirmed law enforcement member of PoliceOne to post a comment. The comments below are member-generated ….”

Standing apart from the expected boo-hoos for the “devastated” killer is one skeptic, arguing along the same lines I argued:

“I have a hard time understanding how one could mistake a firearm for a Taser, even in a high stress situation. The reason being that even though the Taser may draw and feel similar to a firearm, one has to turn it on. What about the motor skills learned of flicking the switch to turn the Taser’s power on? Would that particular motor skill go out the window during high stress? It seems to me that if one pulled out their firearm, meaning to pull out their Taser, one would wonder where the power switch had gone to when they attempted to turn it on. Should that not tell the mind that there is something not right with ‘this Taser’?”

2002 ‘Taser mistake’ case

There have been at least three shootings where police claim to have mistaken their Glock for a Taser. The most recent I know of was in 2002 in Madera, where Marcy Noriega killed amateur boxer Everado Torres after he was arrested – following a loud party complaint – and handcuffed in the back of a squad car. Noriega was armed with the older and heavier Taser M26 (19.2 ounces). Madera police did not have their Tasers marked with yellow tape; they only added it after the killing. The M26 has a simple LED, with no digital display. But the Taser holster was on the thigh, while the Glock was on the hip.

No criminal charges were brought against Noriega. The federal district court dismissed the family’s civil suit in 2005, but in May 2008 the appeals court ordered the district court to decide if Noriega acted unreasonably.

Junya is an activist and writer living in Palo Alto. He can be reached at junya@idiom.com.

48 thoughts on “Did BART cop who killed Oscar Grant mistake gun for Taser?

  1. Donna

    The green light continues to be on, fully powered and bright, for the cops to kill with impunity and no fear from being held responsible or accountable. Police terrorism is as accepted by all the levels of government in the USA, and many Amerikkkans too, as is the terrorism of Israel perpetrated upon the Palestinian people accepted by the governments and the international organizations of the world. We the people have to find a way to end the War of Terror upon us.

    Reply
  2. tired

    we as a people have to stop killing each other and start defending each other can anyone out there remember when the black gangs no names were calling pigs to the projects and opening fire on them do on to other as they do on to you our only justice has to come from within we’ve been praying;protesting; marching;for decades nothing has changed so we have to change stop waiting on government or anybody else to do something we can do this ourselves let’s get busy black people they are killing us any way for no reason so why be affraid to die die for something other than being black.

    Reply
  3. junya

    CORRECTION:

    Today BART police Chief Gary Gee revealed that Standard-issue pistols for BART police are Sig-Sauer .40-caliber semi-automatic pistols (not the Glocks that many other police agencies carry).

    Of course, that doesn’t lessen the absurdity of the “Taser-confusion” hoax. The Sig-Sauer look and weight is similar to the Glock. It weighs 34 ounces. You can view one model at:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:SIG_P226_img_1624.jpg

    Reply
  4. RETCOMBATVET

    It is sad whenever a person is killed when there was no reason for that person to die. For whatever reason the man lost his life and there is no bringing him back. It is something that so few will learn from, however.
    Why is it that no one is willing to discuss the problem with all of the bystanders? A large number of these bystanders were actually contributing to the man\’s death. Anyone standing around and yelling at the police, or at the people being detained/arrested, or approaching the police helped to increase the tension, confusion, and mayhem of the situation. All of these things can be seen on the video. Everyone wants to blame the police, or maybe just the one police officer, but no one is willing to \”man up\” and look at their own actions.
    Is it any different than these protestors who are blocking the turnstiles and forcing the stations to close? Is this how they view justice? Isn\’t that exactly the kind of justice that the dead man received? Why must people do something so contrary to the justice system that it doesn\’t work? How can there ever be order with chaotic people interfering with law enforcement, staging demonstrations, retributions, and the damages they desire?
    None of the crap the idiot bystanders were doing the night the victim died was helpful and nothing any of these rioters are doing is helpful either. Why can\’t some people be \”man enough\” to stay back, shut up, and let the system work itself out? If these dummies would\’ve let the lawyers and judges do their jobs then maybe the victim would still be alive.
    Also, if these people really want to make a change, then they should teach their children to obey the law, don\’t disrespect the police, and take responsibility for their actions to name a few things.
    I am not blaming everyone that was at the shooting. Not every bystander was causing problems that I am aware of, but it can clearly be seen AND EASILY HEARD that there were a number of idiots that helped to get that man killed.
    It is such a shame that a person lost their life for whatever combination of reasons. I wish people would actually start doing some of the things I just listed so that this would end.
    Signed, Sad and Tired

    Reply
  5. junya

    “Why is it that no one is willing to discuss the problem with all of the bystanders?”

    Because bystanders are not professionally-trained, highly-paid, well-compensated agents of government authority who are empowered to take away a human life and walk free – literally not answering for it, not held for questioning by anyone.

    At least not the bystanders your post is referring to. But, in a way, you are correct. There were some “bystanders” whose actions we should be discussing: the other police on the scene. A number of police watched Johannes Mehserle shoot Oscar Grant while he was lying helpless on the ground. Whether it was negligence or intent, there unquestionably was probable cause to arrest Mehserle on the spot. Yet we see those police just continue after the shooting, business as usual. Had they responded by taking Mehserle into custody, and held him as they investigated, the public response would not be what we see now.

    The second policeman who moved away before Mehserle shot Oscar Grant was in a position to answer some of the questions that investigators claimed required Mehserle’s cooperation. Yet, one week later, the suspects are still free to rehearse with their attorneys the stories they will (eventually) present to the district attorney.

    That’s the police, that’s the law, that’s the justice we are asked to respect.

    Reply
  6. RETCOMBATVET

    So as long as bystanders are not police than it shouldn’t matter what they do? They shouldn’t act civilized?
    What police stood watching Mr. Grant get shot? In the video it looked as if most, if not all, of them were trying to watch the crowd which held some antagonists. I didn’t see any just standing there waiting for Mr. Grant to be shot.
    The difference between a police officer being investigated for an on-duty shooting is that they are on the job at the time. Also, unlike a number of the general public, police officers aren’t arrested because they don’t flee and hide like so many criminals do. When was the last time you heard of an officer being placed under arrest after an on-dury shooting? I never have. I think that is standard procedure. I don’t believe that is incorrect.
    What concerns me is how many people would rather antagonize the police, the local government, and the public in general rather than deal with problems in a controlled manner. NOBODY can tell me that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would be condoning the way a lot of our youth act today. NOBODY can convince me that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would be encouraging harrassing the general public and destroying property as some people are doing.
    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. should still be an inspiration to us all. Instead of fueling our anger and raising our children to believe that you should always confront the police, never trust the police, etc. etc. we should be looking to Dr. King for our role model. He was what was best in us…and we have lost that in ourselves.

    Reply
  7. junya

    “I didn’t see any just standing there waiting for Mr. Grant to be shot.”

    Then you need to watch this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_g17b4fZC8

    As the newscaster says: “Two officers are handling Grant, while a third is standing next to them”. The third appears to be looking away. But the second stands facing Mehserle as Mehserle shoots Oscar Grant.

    “Also, unlike a number of the general public, police officers aren’t arrested because they don’t flee and hide like so many criminals do.”

    In 2000 Oakland police Jude Siapno, Chuck Mabanag, Matthew Hornung, and Frank Vazquez (dubbed the “Riders”) were charged with false arrests, kidnappings, and assault with a deadly weapon. Vazquez fled to avoid prosecution and remains at large, wanted by the FBI: see http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/fugitives/vc/additional/vazquez_fl.htm
    The others stayed – and were acquitted. And that’s why police don’t bother to flee: they’ve no need to fear prosecution. As was reported by the 2000 U.S. Commission on Civil Rights:

    “State prosecution of police misconduct cases remains an ineffective means of correcting the problem. Most district or county attorneys rely heavily on the support and cooperation of the police departments in their jurisdictions, and as such, they are reluctant to pursue criminal charges against them.”

    And in the rare cases where they do, prosecution fails, in part because prosecutors are trained for (and only experienced in) selecting jurors who favor police testimony. Such jurors simply cannot imagine even a single rotten apple, much less systematic brutality.

    “When was the last time you heard of an officer being placed under arrest after an on-duty shooting? I never have.”

    Exactly – that’s the problem. Yet, nothing in the law prevents this. In 2003 in Palo Alto two rookie police were arrested immediately after brutally beating a 60-year-old man for the crime of sitting in his parked car. The arresting police were made to feel like criminals by other police and their chief. Media reports focused on blaming the victim. My report was the only one that recognized the all-too-rare integrity shown by the arresting police (according to email I received from one of them). That report is no longer on sfbayview.com: see
    http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2005/04/08/17321101.php

    “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. should still be an inspiration to us all.”

    Then you should appreciate the relevance of this message from Dr. King:

    “I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government.”
    – from “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence”
    http://academic.udayton.edu/race/06hrights/WaronTerrorism/war01.htm

    Reply
  8. nickel

    watch the long version of the video people. he thought he was going to taze grant, NOT shoot him.

    just watch the cops reaction. he’s shocked. he looks at the other cops and raises his hands to his head.

    1:24
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Tmh9B8LVxM

    (just like the lawyer did after watching the shooting, and saying “why did take his gun out?”)

    2:32
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKy-WSZMklc&feature=related

    there were witnesses that heard a cop say “oh my god”. i bet it was the cop that did the shooting.

    accidental shooting.

    Reply
  9. RETCOMBATVET

    How are our actions, the actions of our youth, and the values we are teaching our children a credit to Dr. King? In the quote noted by Junya, Dr. King said he would have to “first spoken clearly”. The physical intimidation and violence is CONTRARY to what Dr. King preached. We dishonor Dr. King in how we are approaching this tragedy and our daily problems.
    I am older and my body has too many miles on it from serving in the military. I receive 80% disability due to my injuries. However, why don’t we as a people affect change by working this problem from within. When I was growing up with my father I learned that if I didn’t like his cooking I needed to get in the kitchen and do the cooking myself. How long has this been going on and yet all we do is react, react, react. We could affect real change from within. Unfortunately it is not in our nature to roll up our sleeves when the job is dirty. It takes less effort to yell in the streets or blog an opinion. In the end, if we are not willing to do the work then we are settling for what we get.

    Reply
  10. Whitey

    Why did he have such a lengthy criminal record? Why is it so hard for afro-americans to stay out of trouble and follow the law? I keep on reading “Well, if he was white…. blah blah blah.. A white person would never put themselves in a position like this.

    If you watch the video closely, you can see Grant actively resist the officers. Then he reached into his pocket. Who knows what type of weapon he had in that pocket.

    I’m just so glad the the officers are keeping my family safe. This thug will never have a chance to hurt my family.

    Reply
  11. junya

    Here’s another fact, from the Oakland Tribune, helping to shred the plausibility of the Taser-confusion hoax:

    “Tasers are gun-shaped and kept on the officer’s belt, on the opposite side of the .40-caliber semi-automatic pistols that the department issues, [BART police Chief Garry] Gee said.”

    Taser Intl. recommends keeping gun and Taser on opposite sides, to reduce the risk of confusion. In the Madera case, Noriega’s weapons were not on opposite sides.

    In their hunt for expert opinions, media reports are uncovering some that find the Taser-confusion story far-fetched:

    “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…

    “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.”

    Reply
  12. RETCOMBATVET

    It’s always easy to find someone who will agree with one side or the other. Even a purportedly reknowned individual like George Kirkham, but it doesn’t mean that George Kirkham’s opinion is the truth. After all, Adolf Hitler believed something and was supported by enough people to get away with murdering half of an entire race.
    I also find it disturbing that we become so angry about this situation and we do virtually nothing about the trouble with our youth. We do nothing because we live our lives as if we are nothing. We polute our bodies and brains with tobacco, alcohol, and drugs. We buy it, sell it, distribute it to our friends and families. We steal for our habits. We injure and murder for our addictions. We drag ourselves down and debase our children. When will we protest our own actions? Why do we mourn one individual when we destroy ourselves and our children every day? We do far more damage ourselves, to ourselves and our children, than this one individual’s death or even the accumulated deaths of all wrongful police shootings. Yet we will continue to destroy our children because that is our own business, right? We don’t want to change our self-serving lifestyles, do we? We don’t want to rock the boat that we row in. We don’t want to do the hard work. We just want to rock someone else’s boat. Maybe the problem isn’t the shooting of Mr. Grant. Maybe the problem is that the police shot Mr. Grant. Search within your own hearts. If Mr. Grant had been shot and killed by one of us, would anyone care? If it had been one of our own children would anyone raise a fuss? Would anyone protest? If this were gang related or a random robbery would you, any of you, be irate and raising alarm? No you wouldn’t. It happens every day and yet you sit and say “too bad” or “that’s a shame”.
    When do we mobilize? Is it only when it’s a police-related shooting? Maybe our apathy towards the everyday crimes we perpetrate upon ourselves is the real problem and our ingrained hatred of police is an excuse to become outraged. We are weak, selfish, misdirected, and unwilling to change ourselves. We believe we are always right and that we can’t change what we do as a people. We waste our lives every minute and just accept it as “that’s just the way it is”.
    When will we examine our selves?

    Reply
  13. Travis

    Whitey, on January 8th, 2009 at 5:13 pm Said:

    If you watch the video closely, you can see Grant actively resist the officers. Then he reached into his pocket. Who knows what type of weapon he had in that pocket.

    Whitey,

    So they didn’t pat the guy down once they pulled him off the train? What kind of inept cops do you think they were?

    Who’s gonna keep your family safe from the cops?

    My goodness, where would we be as a country if our forefathers didn’t resist authority? Make no mistake, the BART cops are the(so called) masters of their little train universe. They had nothing better to do than roust commuters on a train that night. And now a young man is dead. Why can’t they just put a cop ON the train instead of rousting people once the debark a train?

    I believe it was a tragic accident though. However, a young man is still dead. Someone has to pay for that. And if 25 million is proper then so be it. I would have asked for 100 million. Every man and woman, black and white, needs to pay for society FAILING Oscar Grant.

    In the end…its all our problem.

    Reply
  14. PhysAl

    I have just watched several views of the shooting. I have yet to come to any conclusions. A few of the details I noticed were that there appear to be 3 or 4 people in cuffs or some sort of custody on the floor or sitting against a wall. They would have been searched. Oscar was not, as he had his hands in front of his face as he “talked to the police”. From everything I had read I assumed he was handcuffed and laying prone on the floor with no one around him. Thus the assassination and murder rants. His hands only went behind him as the officers jumped on him. My thought is that as his head was moving toward the ground he brought his a hand or hands under him as would be natural to avoid you head slamming into the floor. Once your hands are out of sight of the police all bets are off. He had not been secured or searched before. This would expain a shooting, it doesn’t explain the officer not pleading this as the case though. The taser angle is interesting too. The image of the police issue X26 that I found on google images was a lot different than this one. Check it out and compare yourself. I haven’t read anything about the style of Taser or the duty weapon of the officer so I wouldn’t know what to compare.

    I’am very interested in seeing video from the train and station cameras that will hopefully add to the context of the situation. I’m fairly sure that the officer didn’t wake up that day and wait for an opportunity to kill Oscar, so the 1st degree murder or assassination claims should probably end, unless the entire population of Oakland would like to be held to the same standard and avoid all the legal defense costs.

    As much as people want to dicard any information prior to the shooting as irrelevant, I can’t. The officers were called because of a fight on the train, the train had to be stopped because of it. Its 2 am in the morning and we don’t know if drugs/alchohol were involved. From what I’ve heard this area is the sort where “looking at” or “bumping” the wrong person can instantly lead to violence, yet they expect the police to take direct threats with some superhuman morality and strength. They are just folks who do a very tough job.
    They aren’t particularly friendly to me either(suburban caucasian guy), they are just super suspitious of everything around them. Dealing with people who hate you everyday can have that effect on you. At this point it doesn’t matter who started it I would just avoid behavior and locations that garner their attention and I advise my children to do the same.

    Reply
  15. junya

    "we don’t know if drugs/alchohol were involved"

    Good point – we don't know if the killer had such substances in his body that night. Maybe there really was an "officer involved shooting" – involved in shooting steroids (seehttp://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2006/04/16/18157

    And we will never know. When there is a fatal train or bus wreck, I read that the engineer or driver is held and tested for alcohol and drug use. Yet this killer still walks free – even though he is no longer a policeman. Ten days is more than enough time to destroy all trace of evidence, in consultation with your attorney. The government's complicity in the coverup of this crime is a far greater menace to the public than the individual actions of the killer.

    Reply
  16. Paul Couture

    Also, add this to the steps the officer would have had to confuse – the Taser x26 holster requires only a thumb break to release the Taser.

    The vast majority (well more than 90%) of Police Depts require their officers to use a security holster for their firearm – most of these require the officer to push the firearm downward to release the trigger lock during the draw. That motion would have prevented the draw from the holster by the officer if he was drawing a Taser.

    Reply
  17. junya

    Interesting – thanks for providing another factor to consider: holster differences.

    I couldn’t find any details on the X26 holster, but I see Taser Intl. offers two types in their catalog. Also, on police forums I see discussion of replacing the department-issued holster with other types. So the first step would be to determine the type of holsters used by Mehserle. Rather, the first step is to bring Mehserle in for questioning – which, 10 days later, still has not happened. Apparently investigators are too busy trying to find an excuse for Mehserle – no need to bother him with their questions. The Cron reports today:

    “Investigators are reportedly looking into the possibility that Mehserle thought he was firing his Taser stun gun – a belief that would make the killing accidental and probably not subject to a murder prosecution.”

    Since when do criminal investigators assign themselves the job of working to REDUCE the charge?? Meanwhile, Attorney General Brown claims:

    “Jumping on a police car has nothing to do with bringing this case to a close.”

    Yet, in a case as devoid of reason and sanity as this one, is jumping on a police car any less relevant to justice than an investigation of a killing that doesn’t question the killer, but instead seeks excuses for him?

    Reply
  18. RETCOMBATVET

    Too bad Mr. Grant didn’t die of gang violence, or drug overdose, or a random robbery, burglary, hit-and-run, or some other everyday occurrence. Nobody would be damaging anything or taking time from their otherwise dubious or heinous activities. Not a single member of the general public would care if he died by any other means.
    How can I say this? Well, I never hear any protesting when we kill someone like Mr. Grant by any other means. It’s acceptable for one of us (the general public) to murder him. It just isn’t acceptable for the police to do it. Shame on the police for taking away our right to murder.
    Well, there are plenty of other victims out there for us. A number of us are already doing our part to destroy our society but the rest of us need to get off of the useless blogging and get back to our self-absorbed lifestyles.
    Remember, every man for himself. Fight the power. Down with “the man”. Just don’t interfere with my right to hit the hash pipe, or steal from my neighbor, or deal drugs to your children.
    Thank God for our family values.

    Reply
  19. Peter

    Okay, so Oscar is no longer with us. Someone needs to take responsibility for his death. But seriously…its outrageous for the family to be asking for $25,ooo,ooo.oo , i mean no amount of money can replace a son ( a life, etc)… I dont think its at all appropriate…the hype makes me as angry as the murder does. Healing, Justice, and Prayer please.

    Reply
  20. Shawn

    To RETCOMBATVET….

    From your comments you’re obviously in favor of THIS officers use of deadly force. This behavior is frowned upon even if it took place in a war zone let alone the “land of free and home of brave”.
    If you served this country, as your name suggest, them you should now that the Constitutional rights of one your countries citizens have been violated and has resulted in the worst punishment imaginable.
    Instead of taking up for and trying to show your support via sarcastic remarks…look at this case and explain to any willing to pay attention how this use of deadly force was needed on a subdued, unarmed man laying on his stomach..This tone and lack of being objective is why anybody other than the FEDs (and even they’re questionable) investigating this is joke. His resignation shows he’s a coward and man of zero character.

    Reply
  21. catwalk

    Well there is a strong point that RETCOMBATVET makes and that is we need to focus on the youth of today. From what I’m reading from Retrocombatvet, I don’t think he’s saying
    that to whether or not the officer is guilty, but he is reminding us that we have to admit they we are guilty too. I mean some of the kids who were making stupid comments…they should know better. I mean they are like 16 or 17. I’m sure their parents have tried to get through to them. But maybe they don’t because they don’t know how.

    Sorry if I’m ranting, but I am 25 years old and I was so sad to learn that my 14 yr old nephew started hanging out at the tenderloin and smoking weed along with other things. By the looks of it, he’s starting to hang with the bad crowed. I don’t know how to help him. Basically I just want to tell him to stop these bad habits. I’m afraid if I sound like I’m lecturing him, he will stop listening and shut me out. Plus I he might not tell me things anymore. I remember when my sister started lecturing me, I didn’t want to tell her things anymore. Anyways I felt like he changed over night!

    Everyone just loves firefighters, but cops don’t get the same respect. Maybe it’s scaring people away in thinking about becoming cops. If anything I think we need more cops! Maybe we need to inspire at-risk youth to become cops. Perhaps they can relate to better to our youth!

    Reply
  22. catwalk

    If you don’t like the law enforcement, then become one! After all, when you don’t like something, do the job yourself!

    Reply
  23. RETCOMBATVET

    DEAR CATWALK,

    Finally, someone is getting the point I am attempting to make! I AM NOT SIDING WITH THIS OFFICER! I think it is a damn shame when anyone loses a life…PERIOD!

    But why is it that we only become agitated, vocal, and mobilized for police violence? Why do we sit on our butts when our children, friends, and neighbors are dying every single day due to our own faults? Why do we seem only truly concerned when it is “DEATH BY COP”?

    As for you, CATWALK, don’t lecture. Spend time with your nephew. Bring him in even closer to you than ever before, if you can. Show him the good things in life. It doesn’t even have to be anything that costs money, but do whatever you can to grow closer with him. Maybe with time he will appreciate your friendship more than the dummies he hangs with, especially if they start to rag on him and/or run you in the ground.

    When the time is right you can plant a small seed in his brain from time to time. Things that you have learned from experience. Not too much too often, though. Maybe a comment about how you or someone you knew blew everything on drugs or a party with nothing too show. Just kind of reminiscing without lecturing of hashing it too long. Whatever you happen to mention it should be truthful and just sort of a small comment without being directed at him or his behavior.

    I will never have all of the answers but I do have experiences and have found some things that have worked for me. I will pray for you and your nephew, especially. I will pray for all who want real change in their lives, too. Love is the best and clearest path to real change. I believe that is what Dr. King was trying to teach us.

    Reply
  24. RETCOMBATVET

    One more thing.

    WHY DO SO MANY OF YOU SUPPORT SLAVERY??!!??

    All of these drugs and alcohol make for nice little slaves! We serve them and keep their shackles on with blind obedience! We sacrifice our friends and our loved ones for another fix or another drink. WHY?

    Tobacco isn’t much better, either! It’s just not quite as destructive as the alcohol and drugs.

    WHY KEEP OURSELVES SERVING THE DRUG AND ALCOHOL MASTERS????

    Get help! Free yourselves from the chains of addiction!

    IS THIS FORM OF SLAVERY SOMETHING THAT DR. KING WOULD APPROVE?

    Reply
  25. Diana

    All I gotta say is it doesn’t matter if he mistaken his gun for a “taser” he killed an unarmed man! Your not suppose to kill anyone!! Ugh this pisses me off because I’m from the bay area and we need to do the right, and that is to make that murderer pay for what he did to Oscar Grant.

    Reply
  26. Lita

    The BART police officers did not properly conduct the whole situation that resulted in the murder of my niece’s Father. I was shocked to see that BART began too and would have covered up this whole tragedy if they could have. Not taking any responsibility for wrong doing. That is shameful!! Thank you Father for the videos and the people who recorded! Up until this tragic time in my life I have not experienced this kind of America. I have only heard the stories. I am sad. I hate that this type of conduct is allowed in our law enforcement. I am not African American (I am a minority) but I now understand what discrimination and “stereo typing” feels like. I am sorry to every African American that has endured this pain time and time again. I now stand with you! I am praying and asking God to show me where to start and how to make a difference! My life has been turned upside by this horrible situation. I cry all the time. When I hear or read distant ignorant comments I feel gripped with anger. We all need our Savior!! God help us!!

    Reply
  27. junya

    Looks like the Chron has toned down their Taser-confusion nonsense, now providing a somewhat more “balanced” perspective. Their article “BART shooting draws Rodney King case parallels” raises the the same points raised a week earlier in the story above. Here are the relevant excerpts:

    …However, neither Mehserle nor his lawyers have offered any explanation for the shooting, and the Taser possibility remains speculation.
    [NOTE: Finally, an admission that the Taser-confusion story is mere speculation!]

    …A few cases in which officers have confused firearms for stun guns have arisen elsewhere…One who avoided prosecution was Marcie Noriega, a police officer in the city of Madera, who fatally shot Everardo Torres in 2002 with a gun she said she thought was a Taser…District Attorney Ernest LiCalsi decided not to file criminal charges against Noriega, who remains on the police force. The Torres family’s civil suit against the officer and the city is pending.

    Changes in weapons

    Changes in police weaponry since the Madera case, though, could make it harder for an officer to argue that he mistook a service weapon for a stun gun.

    Tasers, which were about the same size and weight as pistols in 2002, now are smaller and weigh less than half as much. While Noriega held her gun on the same side as the Taser, officers now are told to keep the weapons in different areas.

    “A Taser looks different from a gun,” said Laurie Levenson, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and a former federal prosecutor. “It’s hard to believe that it’s a reasonable mistake for an officer who’s had any training at all.”

    Reply
  28. Toni

    I am an African living in Europe, this shooting is evil, and no excuse can exonorate the police officer,it is gross wickedness and evil intent.the excuse of the taser is baseless and even agravates the already bad situation,cause Grant was coperating.he should be charged with murder.

    Reply
  29. Tor

    I think that to judge this a murder is too premature. The officer is definitely guilty, but perhaps it was an accident. It is best to reserve judgment until after the trial.

    If it was a hate crime, i wonder if the officer has had a history of violence against minorities?

    Reply
  30. edog

    dammmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm i dont know why cops dont want to get real jobs thers a lot of things do do and get paid more money maybe u cannot have common sence to be a cop thers no money in the world that can pay me to break in to a persons house or a mans castle maybe its a lack of info.

    Reply
  31. junya

    The “Taser confusion” defense hits another obstacle. At http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/06/05/MNRA18125K.DTL, the SF Chronicle reports:

    >>>
    After listening to seven days of testimony, Judge C. Don Clay concluded that Mehserle hadn’t gotten his stun gun and his service pistol mixed up when he shot Oscar Grant in the back at the Fruitvale Station in Oakland early New Year’s Day.

    “There’s no doubt in my mind,” Clay said at the close of the former officer’s preliminary hearing in Oakland, “that Mr. Mehserle intended to shoot Oscar Grant with a gun and not a Taser.”
    <<>>
    “Human nature tells us that not only would (Mehserle) have acted differently on the platform, I don’t think you would have been able to shut him up,” Stein said. “I think he would have said repeatedly, to anyone who would listen, ‘Oh my God, I made a mistake.’ “

    Reply
  32. Алан

    Да уж… Все-таки интересное изобретение – блог. Казалось бы обычный сайт, но поменяли подачу информации, отдали сайт в руки толькоодного человека и сразу открылась еще одна свежая грань общения с миром. :)

    Reply
  33. Reason

    Why your argument is flawed…

    1. Regarding your assertion that “You don’t have to be a weapons expert to feel the difference between holding about two pounds and holding less than half a pound – try it”. Yes. Try it under the same circumstances. Responding to a big fight on the train, armed with a device that you just started carrying.

    2. Regarding the color of the device “Police pistols are all black, sometimes with a very dark brown grip. The X26 has bright yellow markings on it. It also has a 2-digit LED display.” In a stressful situation, you will not look at your taser… or your gun. Same point… and counterpoint as #1.

    3. You made this easy… “The X26 has a safety on the grip that must be released. The Glock safety is on the trigger.” So…? The safety is easily manipulated as part of the draw stroke.

    My point is (and you should really concede this) is that nobody is saying that the officer is not responsible for killing Grant. Really, they aren’t. So quit trying argue as if they were. The weapon confusion issue is simply a mitigating issue that calls into question the one thing that is required for the charge of Murder… intent.

    Just because you don’t like police, even if it’s for good cause, does not mean that this officer intended to put a bullet in Grant’s back.

    Reply
  34. junya

    To the poster called “Reason”:

    Thank you for your comment. It is the first one to directly challenge the claims of the article. Such challenges can help me find errors. Unfortunately, although it is a good effort, this critique fails to meet even the most minimal standards of reasoned arguments. Still, I am grateful for this opportunity for clarification.

    To be compelling, a critique must at least:

    1. Work within the context
    2. Quote from the text when making claims about the text
    3. Support claims with facts or authoritative opinions

    This critique fails to achieve #1 and #3, and only partially achieves #2.

    Context: As you can see from the date, the article was written within the first week of the killing. From the start, and throughout, the article makes clear that it is a response to widespread SPECULATION in the state media that the killer “had meant to fire his Taser stun gun rather than his firearm”.

    > 1. Regarding your assertion that “You don’t have to be a weapons expert
    > to feel the difference between holding about two pounds and holding less
    > than half a pound – try it”. Yes. Try it under the same circumstances.
    > Responding to a big fight on the train, armed with a device that you
    > just started carrying.
    >
    > 2. Regarding the color of the device “Police pistols are all black,
    > sometimes with a very dark brown grip. The X26 has bright yellow
    > markings on it. It also has a 2-digit LED display.” In a stressful
    > situation, you will not look at your taser… or your gun. Same point…
    > and counterpoint as #1.

    Out of context. Neither of the two cited Chronicle articles that spread the Taser-confusion rumor attempted to attribute the confusion to the fight or lack of Taser experience. At the time of the first report, the killer had yet to even be identified and the report conceded that it was not known if he even was carrying a Taser. So this critique is presenting a new defense, and then claiming the article’s argument is flawed because it does not respond to the new defense – that was never presented! That’s a claim that is less than compelling.

    > 3. You made this easy… “The X26 has a safety on the grip that must be
    > released. The Glock safety is on the trigger.” So…? The safety is
    > easily manipulated as part of the draw stroke.

    This challenge seems to have overlooked this text in the article:

    > So let’s review the minimum steps of a Taser deployment:
    > …
    > 2. You reach on the grip and flip the safety up.

    If the “safety is easily manipulated as part of the draw stroke”, and that manipulation did not occur on the grip, then you know you don’t have a Taser in your hands.

    It also seemed to have overlooked the correction I added above, that police later reported that the killer carried a Sig-Sauer, not a Glock. So my argument is flawed for that reason – wrong assumption – not the one presented in this critique.

    The remainder of the critique makes claims about the article, without quoting any text in the article as the basis for those claims. So it is impossible for me to either concede or rebut those mystery claims that are, again, less than compelling. It is easy to rant, but to free our minds from the state’s propaganda juggernaut requires vigilant attention, focus, and rigor.

    Reply
  35. remonter

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    Reply
  36. Jennifer

    In the video, the crowd seems to be loud and raucous, it is New Years'. Many of them are drunk. There is what, five cops total? I can see why they'd be stressed.
    However, even if the cop did mistake the gun for a taser(and I honestly think he did, he looks genuinely shocked, as does his fellow officer[who should have realized his partner had a gun ou not a taser, and stopped him].), he's still a fucking idiot and should be charged. This is shit he's trained for, he should not be loosing his cool so much he mistook his gun for a taser.
    Also, the female officer in the clip had her taser drawn. It is possible he had his out and prepped and put it back in his holster(like an idiot) when he and the other officer attempted to restrain Grant. In the confusion, he may have grabbed his gun instead.
    He could also be a power hungry murderer, or racist asshat. I'm a high school student, not a damn mind reader.
    I think he should be punished severely, but I do understand why he may have made that mistake, if that's what he did. Unfortunately, these are mistakes that should be made by civilians, not police officers trained to do their job the fucking right way.

    Reply
  37. Withan

    I am a white man. I also feel I am very conservative and much more "Fox News" than MSNBC> I think this was an up and up murder. Okay, add confusion, struggle, etc. Maybe a first degree manslaughter. But involuntary manslaughter? No way.

    Just some blather: "highly paid" and "well-compensated" are the same thing, dude. I would argue about either. Nevertheless, this guy wasn't even held to a normal standard, let along a higher one for a trained law enforcement officer.

    Bystanders: I could see a point if they had been rushing the cops, but as they just seemed to be shouting, not so much. I probably would have shouted, too.

    Do I believe he got it because he was black? No. Not really. Do I believe the cop got off because he was white. Again, not really, but a little less sure.

    I know this really doesn't help, and it applies to me as well, but if you don't go around f-ing up, this is less likely to happen to you. However, like I said, that doesn't help, and turnstile jumping, or whatever certainly doesn't deserve instant execution.

    To the mama, very sorry Ma'am.

    Reply
  38. Withan

    One thing I have to add. Please remember how this affects the children. I am in a very bad situation with regard to my ex-wife, and I have custody of my kids. When I am out with my friends, alone or with other family and my kids aren't around I spout off about the *&&%^%!! When they are in earshot I keep my mouth shut. Please don't load the kids up with your hate and despair over this, no matter how justified. They can't take it. If they ask, answer honestly, but gently, without using a lot of loaded words. It would be best if you honestly tried to forgive the bob, at least for the sake of the kids.

    When my ex had the kids for a short while she used them as her outlet about everything she thought of me. They didn't believe most of it, but it hurt them real bad. In this situation it can be much worse.

    Reply

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