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Johannes Mehserle sentenced

2010-07-09 16:43:12.341892+00 by Dan Lyke 1 comments

Johannes Mehserle, the BART cop who shot unarmed and subdued Oscar Grant in the back on January 1st 2009, has been convicted of involuntary manslaughter and faces five to fifteen years in prison.

When the incident first happened I suggested that Mehserle and Grant were both "...the victim of systemic problems."

Lyn passed along Digby on the Mehserle verdict points out that one of the other BART police involved testified that he'd started the encounter with intimidation and threats, and goes on to conclude that:

He was just trying to teach the little bastard a lesson by swearing at him and then shooting him full of electricity while he was already on the ground. People have to learn to obey transit police officers unquestioningly and when they curse you out and threaten you out of the blue you have an obligation as a citizen to take whatever they mete out --- including death if they accidentally pick up their torture device instead of their killing device. Shit happens.

This, unfortunately, sounds about right. This was not the action of a lone rogue cop, this was a systemic failure including the decisions to equip the BART police with Tasers and then treat their use as anything less significant than the deadly force that they're supposed to replace, to design the Taser with a user interface similar to a handgun, and to allow the sort of behavior that Mehserle's fellow police officer, Anthony Pirone, testified that Pirone engaged in leading up to the shooting. Johannes Mehserle was merely one tired cop in that chain of mistakes and bad decisions that led to Oscar Grant's death.

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#Comment Re: made: 2010-11-08 20:08:47.442809+00 by: Dan Lyke

So my title there is wrong, it wasn't sentenced, just convicted. He's been sentence now.

Ta-Nehisi Coates writing in The Atlantic: The Cops We Deserve pretty much says everything I was going to.