The big police news of the week is probably the police-involved shooting of 22-year-old Oscar Grant (a black man) at a Bart Station in Oakland. Riots have followed. I hate riots and those who justify them. Like there's any justification to bust up a hair salon called "African Braids".
And here's to Oscar Grant's mother, Wanda Johnson. She is quoted as saying: “I am begging the citizens not to use violent tactics, not to be angry.... You’re hurting people that have nothing to do with the situation. Please stop it, just please stop.” That's a very noble thing to say after your son is killed.
At the time of the shooting, I was just across the bay in San Francisco. I actually heard a few gun shots in Noe Valley. But not these shots.
There are tons of You Tube clips about this shooting. Just search for "Bart Shooting." This is probably the best report:
From what I've heard, this guy was unarmed. But it could very well be justified to shoot an unarmed man. I've also heard he was handcuffed. He wasn't (best I can tell).
Like it or not, police will assume you might be armed until you prove otherwise. Especially on New Year’s Eve when you hear the constant crackle of gun fire.
If you're pointing a gun at somebody and telling him to freeze and he's fighting and then his hands are under him and then he doesn't freeze and out from under his body come his hands holding something you think is a gun.... As the cop with the gun you either do nothing and get shot or shoot.
If police think you might be armed and you won't follow orders... well, it's on you. Sorry. It may not be right, but that’s just the way it is.
For the record, once I was brawling with and unable to control an unarmed handcuffed man (lesson: never arrest anybody when you're alone). Still I didn't shoot him.
I've heard that perhaps the cop thought he was Tasing the guy. I don't know. I've never held a Taser, but I don't think you can mistake a Taser for a gun.
But really, this shooting looks terrible. From the officer's reaction immediately after firing, it looks like he's surprised and didn't mean to fire. That makes it both a horrible mistake and a crime.
And whether or not the cop fucked up, and odds are he did, I hope all those schmucks yelling at the police from the train take a second to think about how they too contributed to this man's death.