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The Shooting of Oscar Grant

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This paper offers an op-ed piece that argues another op-ed piece on the Oakland ...... More...
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Paper Abstract:
This paper offers an op-ed piece that argues another op-ed piece on the Oakland police shooting of black teen Oscar Grant is misguided in alleging the police officer responsible is guilty of murder. Why real justice must be achieved through due process of law is examined.

Paper Introduction:
The Shooting of Oscar Grant The death of a young black male a young white male police officercharged with murder and two near-riots have been the outcome of formerOakland BART police officer\'s Johannes Mehserle\'s fatal shooting of OscarGrant Mehserle responding to a disturbance call on New Year\'s Day at the Fruitvale BART Station fired his Glock semi-automatic into Grant\'sback a store clerk who was lying on his stomach Mehserle\'s initialexplanation was that he meant to use his Taser not his gun did

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It is clear that Mehserle's actionsseem to encompass a callous disregard for life and reckless behavior on thesurface, but it is just as likely in a pressure-filled situation he made ahuman mistake and reached for his gun instead of his Taser. In fact, his lawyer wants the Oakland District Attorney TomOrloff removed from the case because Orloff, "Formulated and orchestrated asystematic effort to get Mehserle to talk and confess without theknowledge, and outside the presence, of his lawyer" (Ex-Bart 1). 12 May 2 9 http://cbs5.com/local/ bart.shooting.mehserle.2.996955.html, 1-2.Rosynsky, Paul T. Mehserle's initialexplanation was that he meant to use his "Taser not his gun," did not keephim from being charged with murder as cell phone video footage of theshooting made by bystanders spread through the media like wildfire(Rosynsky 1). However, this does not justify robbing Mehserle of hisconstitutional rights or convicting him before all the evidence in the casehas been reviewed in a court of law. At least Shan (1) admits she is "ashamed" ofthe violence used at those protests as "dishonorable" to the slain Grant. Further, Mehserleis guilty until proven innocent. "New Video Shows BART Officer Johannes Mehserle Shooting Oscar Grant in the Back." The Hinterland Gazette, 12 May 2 9 http://blackpoliticalthought.blogspot.com/ 2 9/ 1/new-video-shows- bart-officer-shooting.html, 1-2. As his lawyer Michael Rainsargues, "Mehserle doesn't deserve special treatment because he was a cop,but he shouldn't be give harsher treatment because he was a cop" (Rosynsky1). While Shan's outrage and demand for justice is comparable to amajority of Oakland's black residents, her facts omit a good deal ofinformation that might ease her own worries over justice being done andracial tensions if these were a focus in the media. After pleading "not guilty," Mehserle remains free on $3 million bond. While the above description appears to bare the surface facts of thecase, many argue Mehserle fled to Nevada in the face of numerous deaththreats and that he is guilty of cold-blooded murder. The realfacts of this incident demonstrate how easy it is for tension to be createdby the media when media accounts fail to include all information or focusonly on those that are sensational. In "New Video ShowsBART Office Johannes Mehserle Shooting Oscar Grant in the Back," Janet Shan(1) maintains Mehserle committed "cold-blooded murder" and "deserves to goto prison." Relying solely on video footage of the event showing Mehserlestruggling to handcuff Grant and then shooting him in the back as he liestomach down on the ground, Shan (1) argues that Mehserle purposefullykilled Grant in what she calls "the most unconscionable shooting" she hasever seen. Once Mehserle fired his gun, the bullet traveled throughGrant's back, hitting the concrete and ricocheting back into his lung,killing him instantly. Four, Mehserle was questioned about the shooting byinvestigators. With racial tensions, especially between African Americans and whitepolice, being extremely high in Oakland; it is easy to understand Shan'spassion and desire to see some form of justice for what appears to be theneedless death of another young black male at the hands of overlyaggressive police. Mehserle maintains he meant to fire his "Taser," perhaps an actof negligence at best but not willful murder, if true. However, this does not make Mehserle guiltyof murder nor mean that he willfully and intentionally meant to kill OscarGrant while trying to restrain him. This may makehim guilty of negligent homicide or wrongful death. Mehserle immediately quit the force and moved to Nevada,refusing to be questioned by internal affairs. 12 May 2 9 http://www.insidebayarea.com/oakland-bart-shooting/ci_12265357, 1-2.Shan, Janet. Shan has already convicted Mehserle, as ineffective a means ofbringing about justice as were the riots by African Americans that eruptedin the wake of the shooting. To this end, Grant'sfamily has already brought a $5 million wrongful death suit against thetransit authority (Ex-Bart 1). Mehserle, responding to a disturbance call on New Year's Day, 2 9,at the Fruitvale BART Station, fired his Glock semi-automatic into Grant'sback, a store clerk who was lying on his stomach. Racial tensions cannot play a role indetermining justice any more than racism or prejudice should. Twopolice officers have given sworn statements that Orloff, under intensepressure to resolve the case, "told them to question Mehserle in Nevada"where he was arrested (Ex-Bart 1). Like Oscar Grant, Johannes Mehserlealso deserves to be treated fairly by the criminal justice system and nottried in the court of public opinion via U-tube video sensationalism.Works Cited"Ex-BART Cop Mehserle's Lawyer Wants DA Ousted." CBS5, Oakland, 2 9. It is clear that the Mehserle-Grant shooting has brought racialtensions and tensions between African Americans and police to fever pitchin Oakland. First, Mehserle hasbeen charged with murder in the shooting. Second, despite his not guiltyplea, his bail of $3 million shows he is not receiving special treatment.Third, Mehserle is no longer a threat to the community now that he nolonger has a badge. "Mehserle Loses Plea to Have Bail Reduced." Oakland Tribune, 3 April 2 9. Public furor should not indict, try andhang him before he has had his day in court. Instead of such information coming tolight or being fairly covered in the media, it is the sensational footageof the shooting and video of the arrest and arraignment of Mehserle thathave garnered the lion's share of coverage, further inciting tensionsbetween African Americans and police. He was charged with murderand Alameda County Superior Court Judge Larry Goodman recently rejectedMehserle's lawyer's plea for a reduction of bail from $3 million to$1 , , calling Mehserle a flight risk and a danger to society (Rosynsky1). However, Shan's editorial does not consider the factsof the case and does not offer Mehserle any more justice than she demandsfor Grant. 86 95 The Shooting of Oscar Grant The death of a young black male, a young white male police officercharged with murder, and two near-riots have been the outcome of formerOakland BART police officer's Johannes Mehserle's fatal shooting of OscarGrant. Shan also complains that Mehserle has never beenquestioned by investigators, and the identity of the other police officerson the scene has never been revealed.

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