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Involuntary Manslaughter: Justice for Oscar Grant?
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Strange Famous Forum > Social stuff. Political stuff. KNOWMORE

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TurnpikeGates



Joined: 30 Jun 2003
Posts: 517
Location: Bay Area
Involuntary Manslaughter: Justice for Oscar Grant?  Reply with quote  

I haven't seen this talked about on here so far. The verdict just came out. BART cop Johannes Mehserle was found guilty of the lowest possible charge in the killing of Oscar Grant: involuntary manslaughter.

The Oakland Police and the media have been pushing hard for Oakland residents to panic today, self-fulfilling a prophecy of violence. I just came back from work today, and people were fleeing downtown Oakland on every freeway. Buildings are evacuated, businesses closed down, the community colleges have sent out alerts to all students and employees.

There are hundreds of cops on the street, apparently at least 4 helicopters, armored vehicles, etc. All for (from what I've heard, I'm not in downtown) about 500 protesters. So far I've heard of zero acts of violence or property destruction (two different things, except in police/media spin) on the part of the protesters. And believe me, if it happened, we would hear about it.

--

So here's what I don't get. If it's involuntary manslaughter, then it was basically a wrongful death caused through negligence. That, to me, means that there was no cause for the shooting, but that it was an accident. But if there was no cause, then there's no cause for a tazer, right?

This is where I think I differ, in part, from people on both sides of this verdict. I AM willing to believe that Mehserle meant to grab and fire his tazer. It's hard to believe, but I think it's possible. Only because, even in an aggressive, warped, entitled cop brain, it seems outside the self-interest of the officer to kill an unarmed, prone (hands behind his back, another cop's knee on his neck) man in public.

But if it was an accident, it should be A) manslaughter AND B) assault. Firing a tazer at a prone, unarmed man is assault plain and simple. So it's assault for the intent, and manslaughter for the death. That's IF it was an accident to pull the gun--it certainly wasn't an accident to fire.

I mean I GET IT, but it doesn't make any sense. I'd love a lawyer to lay out the legal technicalities of this case on here. I'm not going to be convinced otherwise in terms of justice, but in terms of law, maybe.

--

Any thoughts?
Post Thu Jul 08, 2010 6:52 pm
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TurnpikeGates



Joined: 30 Jun 2003
Posts: 517
Location: Bay Area
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By the way (sorry for replying to my own post), my take is that this would be the exact outcome you'd expect from a cost/benefit analysis from the people in power in this city.

1st/2nd degree murder:
Cost- Police credibility (haha), legal precedent, $$(influence on the civil case), police anger
Benefit- Public (the part that get the shit end of the cop stick) appeased

Acquittal:
Cost- Riot (short term), police/civilian relations (long term)
Benefit- Maintain police impunity

Involuntary Manslaughter:
Cost- Limited low-level outrage, police anger
Benefit- The justice system "works," throw a bone, weak precedent


In this case, serious violence is less likely, but the cops get to "justifiably" throw their muscle around and "protect" the city, thus justifying their budget (facing serious layoffs) and (grotesquely) the murder that sparked all this.
Post Thu Jul 08, 2010 7:01 pm
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jehu



Joined: 25 Aug 2002
Posts: 9310
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of course it's not a just decision.
Post Thu Jul 08, 2010 10:48 pm
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neveragainlikesheep



Joined: 22 May 2008
Posts: 2536
Location: TKO from Tokyo
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Intent. That's the main problem in this case.

Did he really think he was pulling a taser? His reaction to what he did as seen on the video seems to lend some credit to this theory. Intent is what determined this verdict.

However, when are we going to start holding our police officers to a higher standard? If you ask me this should have been a trial for the culture that raises police officers. This trial should have been about the Oakland PD. This trial should have been an indictment against the use of tasers and the overly-aggressive nature of police officers around the country. It wasn't though.

Intent. It's a matter of whether you believe someone's word or not. They believed him. I'm glad we weigh intent when we determine guilt, but I absolutely love how selective we are when we weigh it. He received this sentence and pity simply because he was a police officer.

What he did obviously doesn't matter as much as the fact that he was a police officer. That's the real crime here.
Post Thu Jul 08, 2010 11:19 pm
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Confidential



Joined: 23 Jan 2004
Posts: 2041
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I posted on this about a week ago in the knowmore thread.

My thoughts are that a guilty verdict does not equal justice. I stand with the family of Oscar Grant and the Justice for Oscar Grant campaign in denouncing this verdict and in affirming the right to assemble freely and demonstrate publicly.

I'm all for organized rebellion - what the media and the pigs call "riot" - but in this case, my romantic fantasies of rebellion in the streets gave way to nervous anxiety in the weeks leading up to the verdict.

I bacame convinced that the a riot on the day of the verdict would have made the cops' day. For one, it would have justified, with the aid of the media using the word "violent," their outrageous show of force - at least to the general public. It's obscene that the cops would show such brute force in such a sensitive situation - as if the black and brown community didn't mistrust and fear the police enough.

Add to that that within the movement to which I am connected, there was hype around tearing this motherfucka down. So both the cops and SOME of the people were talking riot. But I refuse to distance myself from those who would tear some shit down, as the police would love nothing more than for that classic wedge maneuver to pay off. What we need is solidarity, and unity, even if we disagree on tactics.

Mind you, it was only when Oakland rose up after the murder of Oscar Grant that they even considered prosecuting Meserhle. There are countless cases of police abuse and death that aren't caught on video and will never see the light of day.

Unfortunately, this whole event has not got us any closer to a serious dialog about police violence, nor will jailing Meserhle address the violence endemic to the system anymore than jailing an addict will solve drug addiction. Except among those who are already pissed off, this will soon be forgotten as another "isolated incident," another "freak accident."

this is the first time in CA that a white man has ever been convicted of killing a black man.

Final thoughts:
NO JUSTICE NO PEACE, FUCK THAT POLICE!
Post Thu Jul 08, 2010 11:45 pm
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firefly



Joined: 27 Sep 2002
Posts: 3990
Location: Montreal
 Reply with quote  

It's crazy how Cops get off easier because they are police. It should be the opposite. Someone in a position of authority should be held to a higher standard.

Fuck the police fraternities and anyone who defends these murderers.
Post Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:10 am
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bbreakz



Joined: 08 Apr 2008
Posts: 948
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I just read this great story on the TASER the company in Esquire. I just searched for it online and can't find it.

It solidifies my belief that the culture the cops create around using tasers is the big problem, not the tasers. They train these cops to overuse them and many of these meatheads think they are toys. And TASER breeds that culture. That is what they want, so they can sell more. Some cop ask kids at a show and tell "ok who wants to be tased first." Another one tased a kid at a birthday party.

I have been saying for years that tasers are safer to an extent, it is the way they are used by some of these cops, cuz they have been told they are the fail safe. I know if i was on the firing side of a taser, my own sadistic tendencies might kick in and I would keep pulling the trigger and I am not a meat head.

They even have some high up cops saying tasers have bred lazy policework.

Anyway i searched for the story and I can't find it.
Post Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:43 am
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firefly



Joined: 27 Sep 2002
Posts: 3990
Location: Montreal
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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/09/oscar-grant-verdict-oakland-riots-johannes-mehserle_n_640468.html

OAKLAND, Calif. — Violent protests erupted in Oakland with stores damaged and dozens arrested after a Los Angeles jury convicted a white former transit officer of involuntary manslaughter in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man.

Prosecutors had wanted Johannes Mehserle convicted of murdering Oscar Grant. So Thursday's lesser verdict raised concerns of a repeat of the rioting that followed the shooting on New Year's Day in 2009 on an Oakland train platform. The trial was moved to Los Angeles following the riots.

The verdict also prompted an announcement by Justice Department officials that they would look into whether the case warrants federal prosecution.

Police in riot gear Thursday had maintained a watchful eye over a crowd of protesters as emotions ran high with about 500 people marching in the street. Members of a crowd near City Hall moaned and cursed when they heard the verdict.

Sporadic violence later broke out and police said they made 83 arrests throughout the night for violations that included failure to disperse, vandalism and assaulting a police officer.

At least a dozen businesses were damaged, including a looted Foot Locker store and a ransacked jewelry store, police said. Protesters also smashed the windows of a bank, set fires in several trash bins, and detonated a small incendiary device near a police station that caused no damage.

"This city is not the wild, wild west," said Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts. "This city will not tolerate this sort of activity."

Though police did not release a damage estimate, the protesting appeared to be much less severe than the rioting that hit Oakland after Grant was shot.

Even though the protests wound down late Thursday, Batts expected the number of arrests to double overnight.
Post Fri Jul 09, 2010 8:58 am
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phataccino



Joined: 10 Jan 2004
Posts: 4771
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This just happened yesterday near my neck of the woods:

Quote:

Date: 7/9/2010 2:19 AM

AP-OR--Stunned Woman Dies/149
Eds: APNewsNow.
Armed Ore. woman dies after stun gun is used


BORING, Ore. (AP) — A Clackamas County sheriff's spokesman says an armed, 87-year-old woman who had reportedly been threatening to shoot a man installing a water line was shocked with a stun gun and died a short time later.

Detective Jim Strovink says two deputies responded Thursday afternoon to a report of a woman waving a handgun and threatening a man excavating a trench at the Big Valley Woods Mobile Home Park in Boring, Ore.

The deputies ordered the woman to drop the gun. The spokesman says she set it down briefly but quickly grabbed it again. At that point, one deputy fired his Taser and she fell unconscious. Although they started cardiopulmonary resuscitation, she died about an hour later at a hospital. The woman was not immediately identified late Thursday.

The deputies will be placed on administrative leave.



Copyright 2010 The Associated Press

Post Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:01 am
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firefly



Joined: 27 Sep 2002
Posts: 3990
Location: Montreal
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Post Fri Jul 09, 2010 9:03 am
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C.R.A.Z.Y



Joined: 18 Feb 2008
Posts: 2719
Location: Vote for me and i'll vote for you.
 Reply with quote  

phataccino wrote:
This just happened yesterday near my neck of the woods:

Quote:

Date: 7/9/2010 2:19 AM

AP-OR--Stunned Woman Dies/149
Eds: APNewsNow.
Armed Ore. woman dies after stun gun is used


BORING, Ore. (AP) — A Clackamas County sheriff's spokesman says an armed, 87-year-old woman who had reportedly been threatening to shoot a man installing a water line was shocked with a stun gun and died a short time later.

Detective Jim Strovink says two deputies responded Thursday afternoon to a report of a woman waving a handgun and threatening a man excavating a trench at the Big Valley Woods Mobile Home Park in Boring, Ore.

The deputies ordered the woman to drop the gun. The spokesman says she set it down briefly but quickly grabbed it again. At that point, one deputy fired his Taser and she fell unconscious. Although they started cardiopulmonary resuscitation, she died about an hour later at a hospital. The woman was not immediately identified late Thursday.

The deputies will be placed on administrative leave.



Copyright 2010 The Associated Press



tazing an armed person who won't relinquish their weapon and is threatening another person is a far cry from shooting a prone person on their back.
Post Fri Jul 09, 2010 10:53 am
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phataccino



Joined: 10 Jan 2004
Posts: 4771
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Umm...yes, you are right. I wasn't comparing the two.
Post Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:00 am
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C.R.A.Z.Y



Joined: 18 Feb 2008
Posts: 2719
Location: Vote for me and i'll vote for you.
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phataccino wrote:
Umm...yes, you are right. I wasn't comparing the two.


ok, i just failed to see what was your motivation in posting this other cop story to this thread?

umm...ok bro? perhaps some enlightenment for me while you are here droppin' ummm's?
Post Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:06 am
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phataccino



Joined: 10 Jan 2004
Posts: 4771
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bbreaks talking about cop culture and taser use in general. I didn't want to start a new thread on it, but it was on my mind since it just happened yesteday.
Post Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:10 am
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C.R.A.Z.Y



Joined: 18 Feb 2008
Posts: 2719
Location: Vote for me and i'll vote for you.
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phataccino wrote:
bbreaks talking about cop culture and taser use in general. I didn't want to start a new thread on it, but it was on my mind since it just happened yesteday.


ok well, in general not starting a new thread on it creates a second discussion in this thread unless everyone ignores said post. all i have to say is age aside that lady was threatening a mans life with a gun which she did not want to relinquish.

let's not do that thing where we lump in unfortunate justice with outrageous injustice, it takes away the whole power in being right about the cops when you know they were really wrong.
Post Fri Jul 09, 2010 11:15 am
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