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Bart Police Officer Shoots Unarmed Man  
User currently offlineYellowstone From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 3071 posts, RR: 4
Posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 3164 times:

Just heard about this news story today, so it's a few days old. (BART, for those of you who don't know, is the rapid transit system in the San Francisco Bay Area). The original news story:

Quote:
(01-01) 18:41 PST -- A young man allegedly involved in a fight aboard a BART train was shot to death by a BART police officer on the platform of the Fruitvale Station early New Year's Day, in the midst of a brawl between two groups of young train passengers. Oscar Grant, 22, was shot once while on the platform after a BART officer drew his gun during what officials called a volatile and chaotic scene. A gravely wounded Grant was taken to Highland Hospital, where he died Thursday morning, the Alameda County coroner's office said.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...i?f=/c/a/2009/01/02/MNB9152I2Q.DTL
And the follow-up report:

Quote:
(01-05) 22:30 PST PST Oakland -- Five days have passed since a BART police officer shot and killed an unarmed rider on a station platform, but the officer has not given a statement to investigators about what happened and the transit agency has apparently not forced him to do so.

The delay comes as witnesses emerge with their accounts of what happened, some with video footage of the incident recorded on cellular phones. The hold-up is one reason why BART officials - even in the face of public outcry - have said little publicly about the shooting, including whether they believe it was justified.

BART has not released the officer's name, but The Chronicle has learned that the officer is two-year BART police veteran Johannes Mehserle, who turned 27 on Monday and whose first child was born within a day or two of the shooting - an event that may be a contributing factor to why Mehserle has not yet explained the shooting to investigators.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...i?f=/c/a/2009/01/06/BAK61540MH.DTL

Last but not least... the cell phone video footage of the incident (warning - it shows the shooting itself):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmJukcFzEX4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQxBg5Jxp7c

For those of you who don't want to watch, it shows the officers moving Grant from a sitting position to lying facedown on the station platform. A brief, minor struggle ensues, but the officers subdue him and pin him to the platform. One of the officers then stands, draws his pistol, and shoots Grant once in the back.

Any thoughts?

My two cents - There's only a couple of plausible explanations I can think of here. The first one, which the second news article mentions, is that the officer meant to use his Taser (which BART police recently started using) but drew his firearm instead. The second is that he drew his firearm meaningfully, at which point the gun discharged accidentally. Either way, there was a serious failure in gun safety procedures. And it doesn't help the police's image that they haven't interviewed the officer who killed Grant yet.


Hydrogen is an odorless, colorless gas which, given enough time, turns into people.
32 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineKSYR From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 3153 times:

After watching that video, things certainly don't look good for the officer. A taser would have been better suited for that situation...I just don't understand why the kid was shot. And I'm usually a pretty ardent defender of the police in these type situations. If there is no plausible explanation for the shooting I would definitely understand if some type of criminal charges were drawn up.

User currently offlineRussianJet From Belgium, joined Jul 2007, 7703 posts, RR: 21
Reply 2, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 3121 times:
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Quoting KSYR (Reply 1):
After watching that video, things certainly don't look good for the officer. A taser would have been better suited for that situation...I just don't understand why the kid was shot. And I'm usually a pretty ardent defender of the police in these type situations. If there is no plausible explanation for the shooting I would definitely understand if some type of criminal charges were drawn up.

I agree.  checkmark 

I don't want to prejudge or second-guess the officer's thoughts or motives, but it looks like a very difficult one to explain away. The mistaking the gun for a taser theory seems plausible, but at this stage can only be a wild guess.

Awful for all involved.



✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39887 posts, RR: 74
Reply 3, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 2988 times:

This cop is a murderer and should be put in jail.


Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineAGM100 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 5407 posts, RR: 16
Reply 4, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 2966 times:

Woa ! weird stuff . I am going with the mistaken Taser explanation, I don't believe any Police officer would just cold blast a kid in broad daylight in a train station. It does not matter the cop has got to be better than that . Murder ? I don't know, but the cop is definitely off the force for good .


You dig the hole .. I fill the hole . 100% employment !
User currently offlineRussianJet From Belgium, joined Jul 2007, 7703 posts, RR: 21
Reply 5, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 2961 times:
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Quoting Superfly (Reply 3):
This cop is a murderer and should be put in jail.

Wow. Let's hope the jurors in any trial he might face are more interested in learning all the facts before totally condemning him one way or the other.



✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
User currently offlineBok269 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 2104 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 2918 times:

Let's not jump to conclusions. The quality of that video is marginal at best and there could be a number of reasons as to why he hasn't given a statement yet. Let's let the investigation take its course.


"Reality is wrong, dreams are for real." -Tupac
User currently offlineYellowstone From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 3071 posts, RR: 4
Reply 7, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 2880 times:

Not terribly surprising - the officer in question has resigned from the force:

Quote:
(CNN) -- The officer involved in a New Year's Day shooting that left a passenger dead in a crowded Oakland, California, subway station resigned Wednesday, a Bay Area Rapid Transit spokesman said.

Oscar Grant, 22, was killed January 1 in a shooting at a subway station in California's Bay Area.

BART spokesman Linton Johnson said in a statement that the officer's attorney and his union representative submitted the resignation at a meeting Wednesday morning with BART police investigators. The officer was going to be at the meeting but did not show up, Johnson said.

The resignation was effective immediately.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/01/07/BART.shooting/index.html



Hydrogen is an odorless, colorless gas which, given enough time, turns into people.
User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 19724 posts, RR: 58
Reply 8, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 2840 times:



Quoting RussianJet (Reply 5):

Wow. Let's hope the jurors in any trial he might face are more interested in learning all the facts before totally condemning him one way or the other.

I dunno. I saw the video. Sure is what it looked like to me. A cold-blooded murder.

There were at least 4 cops around the man. He was face-down on the ground, unarmed. One drew his gun and shot him in the back.

What other facts do you require?


User currently offlineElite From Hong Kong, joined Jun 2006, 2803 posts, RR: 10
Reply 9, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 2834 times:

The BART officer in question faced death threats and had to be escorted around by police... there was no future for him to continue as a BART officer. Resignation was the only way to protect himself.

User currently offlineFalstaff From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 6104 posts, RR: 28
Reply 10, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 2797 times:
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Quoting Superfly (Reply 3):
This cop is a murderer and should be put in jail.

You lefties are all the same! Never like the cops...  Silly We righties don't like the government, but like cops.

The cop should have just beat him. Maybe hit the guy with a phone book...

Quoting RussianJet (Reply 2):
The mistaking the gun for a taser theory seems plausible, but at this stage can only be a wild guess.

Those tasers can be about the same size as a gun, especialy if the officers carry small pistols. If BART carries small pistols they should not be carrying tasers of similar size.



My mug slaketh over on Falstaff N503
User currently offlineJohnboy From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 2592 posts, RR: 7
Reply 11, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 2753 times:

I found myself at the tail end of the disturbances/rioting in the middle of downtown Oakland quite by accident last night.

I woke up at around 8:00 pm and the Mr. and I drove to Oakland to grab a bite to eat, oblivious to all the "action" going on. We got off at Jackson Street, drove past Jack London Square and starting driving up from the foot of Broadway, when we suddenly noticed police officers ALL over the place.

TV news trucks were reporting from in front of Oakland Police HQ, people were milling about on the streets, a cop car right beside us sped up suddenly, put on the lights and stopped right in this busy intersection.....cops jumped out and started running after some guys.

Fire trucks, ambulances were going down the side streets....it was one of those moments where you suddenly realized this was probably one of the worst places to be at that time. Ended up at a KFC by Lake Merritt, and the manager said they had just reopened after the SWAT team had been there about 30 minutes earlier.


User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 19724 posts, RR: 58
Reply 12, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 2684 times:

So what I want to know is why he hasn't been arrested yet.

User currently offlineBok269 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 2104 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 2650 times:



Quoting DocLightning (Reply 12):
So what I want to know is why he hasn't been arrested yet.

Maybe because the investigation is ongoing and the officer is entitled to the same due process that everyone else is?



"Reality is wrong, dreams are for real." -Tupac
User currently offlineTsaord From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 2605 times:



Quoting Bok269 (Reply 13):
Quoting DocLightning (Reply 12):
So what I want to know is why he hasn't been arrested yet.

Maybe because the investigation is ongoing and the officer is entitled to the same due process that everyone else is

And due process should be taken. I hate the fact that people are so quick to judge by their emotions. Guilty until proven innocent is the way to go people just don't want to say it out loud, but that is how people truly feel.


User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39887 posts, RR: 74
Reply 15, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 2559 times:



Quoting Bok269 (Reply 13):
Maybe because the investigation is ongoing and the officer is entitled to the same due process that everyone else is?

If you or I killed someone, we'd be behind bars while the investigation is going on.



Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineFalstaff From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 6104 posts, RR: 28
Reply 16, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 2513 times:
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Quoting Superfly (Reply 15):
If you or I killed someone, we'd be behind bars while the investigation is going on.

Maybe... That would depend on how much money we would have and or how good our lawyer was.  Yeah sure



My mug slaketh over on Falstaff N503
User currently offlinePar13del From Bahamas, joined Dec 2005, 7228 posts, RR: 8
Reply 17, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 2441 times:

I have not seen any tasers up close, but if it is in anyway remotely possible that a taser could be mistaken for a gun when pulled from its holster, why in the world would any security organization equip its armed officers with such a device, you are simply asking for trouble.

Lets for arguments sake say that is what happened in this case, will it be accepted by the masses, will they accept a simply reality of poor training?

This was an unfortunate incident for all involved, hopefully cooler heads will prevail and the society in general will not suffer much in the way of riots etc, trust will definately have been lost, and that will takes years to be restored, that is a fact that all will have to live with.

RIP


User currently offlineDreadnought From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 8841 posts, RR: 24
Reply 18, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 2423 times:

I have a 1911 Colt 45 that has a hair-trigger. If I had to guess at the trigger pressure needed to set it off, I would guess 3 or 4 ounces. WAY dangerous. That is not a gun that you keep at the ready - you'd blow your foot off within a week. I keep that one (unloaded and locked) purely for sentimental reasons, as it was my grandfather's service pistol during WWII.

Looking at the film, it looks to me like the shooter was as surprised as anyone else at the shot. He was probably bringing out his gun to cover his partner while he reached for a pair of ties or something, and the gun went off. I wonder if that pistol has the regulation trigger spring pressure.

That's not an excuse - if the gun had a hair trigger, he should have known about it and fixed it. But the fact that he immediately resigned at least shows that he feels terrible about what happened, and isn't trying to talk his way out of it, like the Rodney King cops.



Veni Vidi Castratavi Illegitimos
User currently offlineDL021 From United States of America, joined May 2004, 11447 posts, RR: 75
Reply 19, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 2363 times:
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I think that either way, intentional or mistaken, the cop needs to be suspended and the incident investigated.

That said, the crowd wasn't being particularly helpful. They seemed to think that restraining the people fighting was unfair and were hurling obscenities at the cops.

Police ought to be well trained enough to ignore a hostile crowd, but those cops seemed busy handling the struggling arrestees who'd been fighting.

The shooter didn't look like he was flying off the handle, and the "I thought it was a taser" story seems plausible (if inexcusable).

Quoting Superfly (Reply 15):
If you or I killed someone, we'd be behind bars while the investigation is going on.

Unless the shooting was apparently accidental during the course of our jobs. Even if we got processed we'd have the opportunity for bail.

Let's see what the facts are once the cop has been interviewed and it becomes apparent whether or not he made a mistake or lost it completely.

Quoting Par13del (Reply 17):
I have not seen any tasers up close, but if it is in anyway remotely possible that a taser could be mistaken for a gun when pulled from its holster, why in the world would any security organization equip its armed officers with such a device, you are simply asking for trouble.

MOst departments I've seen issue tasers and have their officers carry it on the opposite side of their firearm. That way you eliminate the likelihood of the officer's muscle memory from taking over when he's reaching for a taser with his pistol hand.



Is my Pan Am ticket to the moon still good?
User currently offlineJohnboy From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 2592 posts, RR: 7
Reply 20, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 2334 times:



Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 18):
But the fact that he immediately resigned at least shows that he feels terrible about what happened, and isn't trying to talk his way out of it, like the Rodney King cops.

Or maybe it shows that he's talked to his lawyer who advised him that he has no career at this point in law enforcement anyway, and he wouldn't have to answer to BART internal affairs questioning and could concentrate on his own defense.


User currently offlineGreasespot From Canada, joined Apr 2004, 3084 posts, RR: 20
Reply 21, posted (5 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 2186 times:

http://www.ktvu.com/news/18464504/detail.html#-

Ok confirmed invoked 5th amendment rights

taser was on support side....

There is a much clearer video posted on line now...

Perhaps the guy just snapped.if that's the case it makes it murder........I want to give him the benefit of the doubt that it was a tragic accident( still guilty of killing a guy..not trying to minimize that)...but the way it is looking it is getting harder and harder...

as i was not there judgment will have to come from the trial...just giving my opinion on what was written and posted.

GS



Sometimes all you can do is look them in the eye and ask " how much did your mom drink when she was pregnant with you?"
User currently offlineRussianJet From Belgium, joined Jul 2007, 7703 posts, RR: 21
Reply 22, posted (5 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 2185 times:
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Quoting DocLightning (Reply 8):
What other facts do you require?

I dunno.....psychiatric reports, balistic reports, detailed testimony from all those present, and probably lots more I can't think of. I'm not for one second it doesn't look very bad, but there should be a trial, and there are reasons for that.



✈ Every strike of the hammer is a blow against the enemy. ✈
User currently offlineJamincan From Canada, joined Aug 2006, 775 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (5 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 2104 times:

http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/01/14/BART.shooting.arrest/
They arrested him and have charged him with homicide.

They should really launch an inquiry into this particular situation. Obviously the officer who shot the man should have his day in court as well; however, it seems to me that there are probably larger issues at play that contributed to this event, whether it be to easy to confuse the firearm and a taser, or whether it be a culture within that particular police force which encourages excessive force, or whether it be inadequate checks to detect issues related to mental illness amongst officers or any number of other possible contributing factors. There are a whole variety things that could happen, and it seems that it would be helpful to examine the situation in a detached manner with no other agenda than to prevent a similar thing happening again. Something akin to how the NTSB would investigate an accident.


User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39887 posts, RR: 74
Reply 24, posted (5 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 2053 times:



Quoting Jamincan (Reply 23):
They arrested him and have charged him with homicide.

Good!
I hope they throw the book at him and make him serve life in prison in the general prison population.
They just love cops in prison.  yes 



Bring back the Concorde
25 Post contains links Elite : That's the unofficial death penalty... a cop that just killed a man for no reason? Oh boy. Apparently this is not the first case of "abuse": http://w
26 Superfly : Worked for Jeffery Dahmer. He shouldn't get any preferential treatment in prison. Throw him in with the rest of the scumbags he belongs with.
27 ShyFlyer : Prison is a dangerous enough place without adding fuel to the fire, which would be exactly what you would be doing placing a such an individual in th
28 Elite : He murdered 17 men and boys, and often involving rape, torture, dismemberment, necrophilia and cannibalism! That's just scary. He deserved it. The BA
29 Superfly : I think we are saying the same thing.
30 BN747 : This former BART officer just...I mean just within the two weeks had his 1st baby, a daughter. And I must ask, WTF was he thinking when he shot that k
31 Blackbird : Unless he somehow mistook a Taser for his sidearm, what he did was inexcusable and he should be charged for murder. Blackbird
32 RussianJet : That's a hell of an assumption. Maybe he just had a total breakdown or psychotic episode of some kind? We don't know, and until the trial we can't kn
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