A few days ago, PolicyMic.com published my article on police brutality and systemic racism. Here it is below.
On New Year’s Eve 2009, Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old black male, was shot in Oakland, Calif., by white Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) officer Johannes Mehserle. Several people witnessed the shooting and it was caught on tape. The police claimed that Grant was resisting arrest and posed a danger to law enforcement. As the video shows, however, Grant was unarmed, lying on the ground, and restrained by another police officer when he was shot — posing very little danger to anyone.
The shooting sparked major public outcry within Oakland and the wider San Francisco Bay Area. Some of the protests turned violent and prompted a trial on Mehserle’s killing of Grant. The trial was eventually moved from Oakland to Los Angeles because of extensive public scrutiny. Mehserle faced three charges: second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, and involuntary manslaughter. Mehserle’s primary defense was that he meant to pull out his taser, but accidentally pulled out his gun. The prosecution had to prove that Mehserle intentionally killed Grant, which is typically difficult to prove, especially when the defendant is a police officer. Read the rest of this entry »