"Court releases dramatic video of BART shooting"
This is a distrubing video. You see Oscar Grant being shot by police officer Johannes Mehserle. It was compiled by the LA Times. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2LDw5l_yMI
Streetgangs.com has another video, again with the killing on video, with commentary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zibrvBxsdck&NR=1
The government and justice system were not quick to arrest Mehserle and put him on trial.
It was only after people in Oakland rioted that the system was forced to put the cop on trial.
Then, according to this article by Ciccariello-Maher, the press went to work on villifying Grant and defending Mehserle. http://www.counterpunch.org/maher06292010.html
Public responses to the civic response is here: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/01/01/18557752.php
* My Impressions *
At the very least, this was manslaughter. Given the situation, however, there has to be some kind of category for shooting someone in the back.
There has been talk about the police officer making a mistake and pulling out the wrong gun. That excuse could save Mehserle from a long visit to prison. If it's valid, it really begs the question: does a cop ever intend to pull out the pistol, but pulls out the Taser instead?
(Because if that's happening, the taser and the pistol should be shaped differently, with different firing techniques.)
According to the news, first degree murder, premeditated killing, was rejected. So he's eligible to be convicted only for manslaughter.
In my mind, I think that there was some time for pre-meditation, if the officer has any history of fantasizing of killing arrestees, Black men, poor men, or guys who hang out together at the stations. It would not be premeditating the conflict on the platform, but in a larger way - to contemplate killing "bad guys".
What's it called if you fantasize about harming people from one group who you consider "bad"? If that group is a racial or gender category, then it's called a "hate crime".
The question in my mind: did the cop, or do all cops, think hateful thoughts or extremely hateful behavior is okay? Is it normal in the department. Do the officers "feel lt" when they work at Fruitvale, a station in a working class neighborhood with many immigrants.
What do you all think?