Saturday, March 16, 2013

Oscar Grant Opinion

Mural of Oscar Grant in Oakland

This quick post was inspired by a comment I found on Facebook today completely randomly, and I thought it was really interesting and sheds some light on the Oscar Grant shooting that happened in Oakland a few years back.  It also gives you a slight idea as to what other officers thought about the incident.  Overall, I consider it a good find.  Just in case you haven't heard about this incident, it occurred in Oakland at the Fruitvale BART station on New Year's 2009.  The shooting was captured on video by a number of people at the scene and led to riots in downtown Oakland.  I was living there at the time, so I remember it clearly.  A little background:

Oscar Grant: Another Victim of the American Police State
(3 min)

Collection of Different Angles of Shooting Released by Judge

Learn more about it: (lots of info here)

And now for the quote....

I'm directly related to an Oakland police officer (where the Oscar Grant event went down). Some facts idk if most of the public knows: You're trained to use a taser with just one hand, the non-dominant one usually, in order to avoid pulling your gun. He pulled his gun and held it with both hands like a pistol, indicating he knew he had a gun in his hands. Commonly known is that the BART cop said he thought Grant had a gun. Why would you pull a taser vs a gun if you also have a gun? You wouldn't...

A taser weighs half of what a gun weighs nowadays. They feel and look very different. 

Involuntary manslaughter was pretty much appropriate. Most non-cementhead cops say the BART officer is either a complete moron or completely full of shit. In a position of power you also have a responsibility of ensuring safety of the people rather than compromising that safety. There was no gun enhancement on the charge, it is simply a visible slap on the wrist for not being what he should have been as a fully trained sworn officer of the peace. He served 8 months in prison. 

He was denied an appeal to overturn the charges so he could 'return to police work' unanimously by the supreme court, further indicating it's just a punishment for betraying expectations of the 'law-keepers' and 'stability of the commons yada yada' authority he had. Basically, you fucked up, you will remand, and you can't come back in. 

Even in terms of who is responsible for causing what percentage of the incident, the cops story made no sense. If you thought he had a gun, why would you pull your taser? How could you even confuse the two? It's like confusing a Macintosh with your Windows machine. They serve similar purposes but are not at all easy to confuse.

He was trained to use his non-dominant hand (his left hand) but claimed he set up for cross-body draw on his taser so he could pull with his right hand. This is negligent and stupid. There's a reason you use your non-dominant hand that doesn't pull your gun...

tl;dr: he got off easy, court clearly agrees grant was to blame for a lot of it hence the 'involuntary' part of the charge. It's very trumped up though. 1 Oscar Grant isn't a threat to 4 police officers (i believe that's how many were there), armed or unarmed. I hate to reference this show but even the bumfucks in Dillweed, Arkansas on "COPS" can figure out that 4 cops > 1 assailant or fleeing suspect. Given the buildup of a crowd and reactions by the people in the BART station there was clearly time to simply handcuff Grant and restrain him and put a knee on his back and yell 10 feet for backup with the cuffs. My point is that most people who actually know what the fuck they're doing wouldn't have even considered pulling a taser. MAYBE pepper spray if he was truly as belligerent and threatening as claimed. But come on. 4 cops were within 50 feet of you. Just fucking floor him and cuff him and charge him with whatever.

Most wrongful shooting deaths by officers happen when then intentionally pull a gun and shoot but for an unclear or wrong reason. (Kid had a Toy gun and it was dark, i.e.). Grant was shot in the BACK with the would-be taser turned pistol. If you can shoot him in the back you can just as easily pull his arm up and back and buckle his knees with your feet and apply the cuffs.

im sure nobody will actually read this or care but facts are nice to have in an argument of 'justice' like above.

most cops/closely involved/people who get the exact same training would venture to say he has an easy-to-use, hard-to-disprove excuse of "thought it was my taser" and is probably fuill of shit. and that Grant deserved a citation and restraints but the use-of-force was too much, and the officer is either untrained or just full of a convenient lie.

of course there are also facts on the other side too. He only fired a single shot (consistent with taser) rather than the traditional 'doubletap' for lethal force purposes from a firearm. Granted this is merely circumstantial and proves nothing either way. On the other hand, he never even mentions the fact that he drew his gun by mistake to dispatch or his fellow officers on scene. That only came up when he was being charged. Then again he knows his Miranda rights, but he also knows the strength of immediate reactions and precedent. If you say you accidentally pulled your gun and report it to dispatch immediately it's far more believable than pulling out that sentence when you're on trial.

Finally, here is a cool Documentary that I found on YouTube, it is well worth the watch if you have time.

Popper In Oakland Part 2: The Follow-UP
(47 min)