Thursday, August 26, 2010

Is Another Officer an Accomplice in the Death of Oscar Grant

Johannes Mehserle the BART police officer who pulled the trigger in the death of Oscar Grant has been arrested with a probable charge of murder. That is a positive and welcome development, however there is at least one other officer yet unidentified directly involved in the incident whose conduct deserves greater scrutiny and perhaps arrest and prosecution as an accomplice.

I’m sure by now we’ve all seen the video of the incident. So far we’ve only focused on the actions of Mehserle as he’s the one who shot Oscar, but let’s put our attention on the officer who for want of a better name I’m calling Baldy. I was at first disturbed by his actions because most versions of the videos begin with his knee firmly planted in Oscar’s neck.

Let’s go to another video. This version of the video shows the incident earlier. At 6 seconds into the tape Officer Baldy rises from an already prone and handcuffed person and walks to a standing Oscar Grant. Then at 10 seconds he hauls off and lands a textbook right cross directly to Oscars head. Pay particular attention to the comments in the crowd. The ones that stuck out to me particularly were “OH SHIT”, and “DAMMNNN” I’ve heard those said like that before, right after as we used to say in the day someone got stolen on. Oscar weebles and woobles, but he doesn’t quite go down. That is assault right there unless this is a world where cops CAN treat the youth as punching bags. From 10 seconds to 30 Oscar has his hands firmly in the air or by his side as he sits against the wall then our videographer tapes the floor and passengers until second 50. From there until second 1:14 Oscar seems to be pleading with the officer, he goes to his knees puts his hands up again an appears supplicant considering one minute before the officer he was speaking to clocked him in the jaw. 1:23 and things are heating up again. Baldy gestures to Mehserle who appears to step into Oscar and apply the cuffs as Oscar throws his hands behind his back. Notice Mehserle doesn’t have to force Oscar’s arms behind him he can’t wait to be handcuffed. Facedown to the concrete goes Oscar, and at 1:27 Baldy drops his knee on Oscar’s neck.

Let’s stop for a second, and imagine what that must feel like. Baldy isn’t a little guy, and he has his knee and his weight on this poor young mans neck while he is face down. The pain must be enormous, and I couldn’t imagine any sane person able to do anything but squirm let alone follow directions. Applying this hold I see as another incident of assault against a compliant suspect.

From 1:27 to 1:47 he does just that. He squirms like a person under 400 pounds of upset police officer as Baldy appears to give orders, and then it happens.

At all points in this video Baldy appeared to be the alpha dog. He did assault Oscar Grant at second 10 and a mere 1:30 seconds later his initial aggression led to his death. There should be a reckoning and considering the actions of Officer Baldy, and the fact they let Oscar lie on that platform while the officers on scene attempted to confiscate evidence in the form of the recordings taken by the passengers as opposed to treating Oscar for his wounds means in my opinion means the number of liable officers in this tragedy wont end at two.

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