I feel compelled to write something about this tragedy. Fruitvale Bart Station is my stop. I shop at Farmer Joe’s where Grant worked behind the meat counter. Every day this week, as I got off the train, I couldn’t help but try and imagine what happened last week and where it happened. Is it down there, or am I walking by the very spot he was shot? I’ve been imaging all of this because we were in LA when this happened, and up until now, I have only seen stills of the shooting.
Today, I watched three different cell phone videos of the shooting, and man, Oakland is lucky they have seen only a few days of violence, misplaced as it may be.
To me all cops are bent. I sometimes feel bad when I think this, but that’s what it is. I can understand the need to do good and uphold the law, but to do so with a swagger, a uniform, and guns at the ready, as you patrol your beat, I’m sorry, but a cop is not wired the same way I am. And then Bart cops. Not real cops, are they? A glorified security guard with a real gun, perhaps? How many people get their GED, graduate high school, and say, I want to be a Bart cop? Exactly. Yes, many generalizations here, but after all, this is my blog.
Tell me after looking at the videos you can’t help but think that something went terribly wrong here. Look at the body language of the Bart cop, Johannes Mehserle. His animal instinct was to grab a gun, taser or whatever, to let Grant know he had no choice. But Mehserle fucked up. Big time. After the shot, his buddy jumped back, yelled something at him, and Mehserle held up his hands, as if to say I don’t know what just happened. And don’t you just love how the cop buddy turned Grant over like a piece of meat, checking to see that really was a bullet. Not a lot of compassion here.
You’ve got witnesses. Witnesses that were feet away from the shooting, up against the wall, awaiting their fate. Witnesses by the many in the form of Bart police. Witnesses on the train who were taunting, yelling, encouraging, and then scared once they figured out someone was shot. And now you’ve got thousands, if not millions of witnesses, watching these videos on YouTube, and feeling the same way I do now.
Oscar Grant didn’t get his day in court. His verdict came in quickly, noisely, publicly, on New Year’s day in Oakland on a Bart platform. Mehserle can hide all he wants, resign, hide behind his unions and lawyers and due diligance. But give him his day in court. And quickly. Justice needs to happen. We need to start seeing some justice.