- "Defense lawyers for BART police officers involved
in the Jan. 1 shooting death of an unarmed patron deny their clients had
any intent to kill, according to court papers filed Friday.
- Furthermore, lawyers for the officers and BART said Oscar
Grant, by striking Officer Tony Pirone, shared some responsibility for
the chain of events that led to his death New Year's Day on a Fruitvale
BART platform in Oakland.
- Grant's family last month filed a $50 million federal
civil rights lawsuit against BART, its chief of police and the officers
involved in the case, including Officer Johannes Mehserle, who fired his
weapon while he and other officers restrained Grant, instantly killing
the 22-year-old Hayward man.
- The filing in U.S. District Court in Oakland said officers
were following procedure trying to restrain Grant and his friends, who
police said had been in a fight on a train.
- Grant was facedown on the station platform when Mehserle
shot him, an incident several passengers recorded on cell phone cameras.
- Grant's family's lawyer, John Burris, said officers threatened
to tase Grant in the face, that Pirone struck Grant and that an unidentified
officer used a racial slur against Grant who was African American.
- BART lawyers say Pirone was defending himself against
Grant, who tried to kick Pirone in the groin. They deny officers used any
- BART lawyer Dale Allen on Friday reiterated that Mehserle
intended to pull his Taser. He called Grant's death the result of "a
- The above is one of the latest chapters in the government's
war upon the citizens of Oakland. Mchserle, was a BART officer at the time
of the shooting, and was operating under federal guidelines that more closely
resemble those used by Blackwater in Iraq, than by anything related to
the Constitutional protections supposedly guaranteed to all US citizens;
when they are confronted by US law enforcement officers.
- The incident happened on a BART platform, but that platform
happened to be located in the City of Oakland: A city that has had its
citizens under-siege by uniformed officers for several decades, during
which time a large number of people have been severely injured or killed
by police in that city-with virtually no consequences for the involved
officers-primarily because of the state of siege mentality between "law
enforcement" and the citizens of Oakland.
- This situation came about because both the prison system
and the parole guidelines in California are hopelessly broken. All of this
stems from a vicious state and federal system that seeks to punish offenders,
rather than to rehabilitate anyone. This leaves prisoners only one choice
while in prison, and that is to improve on their criminal skills; rather
than to re-educate themselves for a different life outside of prison, once
their time has been served.
- Because the prison system has largely been privatized;
it is in the financial interest of the prison system, to bring as many
people into the prisons as possible (they are paid by the head), and there
is no incentive whatever to alter the attitudes or aptitudes of those under
their command, while those men & women are in jail. This has led to
overcrowding and has bred a culture of criminal hatred for the pubic at
large, in the prisoners that must endure these inhumane and barbaric conditions.
- In Oakland, because of the number of parolees that come
back to Oakland upon their release; the streets of that City have more
than their fair share of both parolees and ex-cons to deal with. The only
way this can be changed is if the system of prisons and punishment itself
is reviewed and altered; so that the public's safety is uppermost, rather
than the savagery of medieval prison life that still obtains, in the way
that most US prisons view their prisoners, as well as what they will not
allow by way of official efforts toward rehabilitation.
- In the case above and in the one that most recently followed
it: the murder of four of Oakland's police officers-there is a common-denominator.
Whenever a population has suffered from excessive force, by uniformed officers
for many decades, sooner or later there will be a public backlash against
authority in general; as well as against individual officers in particular.
Oakland, because of its past, wherein almost no officers were ever disciplined,
presents the problem that it has now become.
- Police officers have apparently forgotten that they are
there to protect the population, both from crime as well as from overzealous
officers of the government, at all levels. This cannot be stressed strongly
enough, especially when there have been such racial overtones as exist
in the case of Oakland and BART. (2)
- The people who live in Oakland, of whatever color, are
deserving of a real and fair police department, overseen by unbiased administrators
determined to ensure that all citizens get an even break when they have
a confrontation with Oakland Police or with BART's private mercenaries.
The political leadership of Oakland is at fault throughout these continuing
episodes, for failing to make clear both the legal duties and responsibilities
of Police Officers, as well as to hold their Officers just as accountable
for their transgressions, as they do those suspected of crimes in the City
- If this situation isn't drastically changed, and soon,
then the City of Oakland will offer little or no chance to its citizens
to get the theoretically fair treatment under law which every citizen is
- If Officer Mchserle, is not given a fair trial, or if
he is allowed to claim that despite his training, he thought he was holding
his Taser rather than a pistol: Then that community can look forward to
another Rodney King-like reaction, which would be both unnecessary and
- 1) BART officers' lawyers say no intent to kill http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-
- 2) Martial Law in California