January 7, 2009

California BART police shoot unarmed suspect?

This is a really weird story and my first day seeing it. I'm sure I haven't seen it before, I don't know though...

First off, since I don't live anywhere near Cali, as far as I can see BART stands for Bay Area Rapid Transit. Umm, not sure why or how they have their own police force, but that's interesting.

Strangely enough, I found this story on the Cracked.com forums. Although the forums do have serious discussions going on, Cracked is usually a humor website (formerly a magazine). Even stranger I found this vid in their "mirth canal" section, which I think is just for videos in general.

Anyway, I digress. Let's take a look at this story with the two links I've found there.

BART appeals for calm as footage shows shooting

BART's police chief asked for patience from the public on Sunday after video footage surfaced showing one of his officers fatally shooting an unarmed man who was on the ground on a station platform on New Year's Day, and after an attorney for the dead man's family said he planned to sue the transit agency for $25 million.

Chief Gary Gee said he, too, had seen video images of the shooting of Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old supermarket worker from Hayward. But Gee said he found the footage to be inconclusive, and he said his investigators still needed to interview a key witness - the officer himself.

That officer, a two-year veteran, has not been publicly identified and has been placed on routine administrative leave. BART officials have said only that his handgun discharged at about 2:15 a.m. Thursday at the Fruitvale Station in Oakland and that the bullet struck the unarmed Grant, who had been detained with several others.

And now we'll look at this section, which is baffling to me:

Officials have not said whether the officer intended to shoot Grant. One source familiar with the investigation said BART is looking into a number of issues, including whether the officer had meant to fire his Taser stun gun rather than his gun. Alameda County prosecutors are conducting their own investigation, as is standard in officer-involved shootings.

Granted, they're only looking at that as a possibility, but...dude. I know a stun gun and a hand gun look and react just a like and everything (hint: No, no they don't) but seriously. I've got a Youtube video below this and there's some vid in the link, check out the footage. A stun gun for what? It doesn't look like the guy was moving around any except when he starts doing that rocking motion, but otherwise it looks like the victim was cooperating. Obviously I wasn't there and that's just my perception on it though. I just don't think a stun gun was necessary to get a dude who's already face-down on the floor to hold still. And there's like more than one cop around him anyway, he wasn't going to get up with all that force, that'd have been stupid and unlikely.

Also...most actual stun guns I've seen are yellow, and your standard police issue gun is black. Was the cop under duress and honestly didn't notice that he had the completely wrong weapon? And why was it pointed at the man's head?

I really do think this just was an accident, a stupid and senseless and tragic one, but an accident nonetheless. No one in their right of mind (or even not in their right of mind) is going to purposefully whip out a gun and shoot someone in the head in a crowded bus station with a horde of your fellow officers just standing there.

Edit: I was just going to delete that paragraph, but I'll let it stand. You know what? I'm actually starting to doubt that this was an accident. I think "mistake" is the more fitting word.

An accident would imply that this officer didn't mean to shoot this young man. I'm really starting to wonder--first off, he had to unholster the gun. Then he would have to remove the safety unless he really was just walking around with it free to fire anytime. Then he would have to squeeze the trigger, unless you're...I dunno, the fucking Rifleman, gun triggers don't typically go off with just a tap.

In combination with guns typically looking nothing like stun guns (this isn't always the case but still) and considering all the officers around this man, WHEN was anyone going to say, "Wait a minute, that's not your Taser!" Or better yet, at what point did HE stop and realize, "Wait, this isn't a Taser!" I actually still want to know what he was doing pointing at the man's head anyway. Wouldn't you typically zap someone in the side or else an area NON-DAMN-LETHAL?

Plus the fact that he has resigned to avoid questioning it seems, this shit is just looking curiouser and curiouser.

So, you may be wondering if this story has blown up any more, and it's looking that way. Death threats are never the way to go, folks, no matter how angry you might be.

To end all that, accidental as this is, this police officer shot a young man and I hope to see some justice done on behalf of the family. And now, video of the incident from Youtube. I have to say it is a little disturbing so I wouldn't blame you for not wanting to see it.

Edit: Interesting. The cop has resigned according to this.

Well I could say two things about that. The first being that he's pretty much freaking out over the incident and doesn't want to give some sort of statement. The second...he's freaking out and doesn't want to give a statement, AND is being mildly suspect. Curiouser. What's really going on guys...

1 comment:

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