Friday, July 02, 2010

Johannes Mehserle Trial - Jury Has Begun Deliberating

The jury began deliberating today on the fate of former BART cop Johannes Meherle for his killing of Oscar Grant a year and a half ago.

This is something I have posted on more than a few times.

In that year and a half my opinion of the case has changed.  As I have lived longer in Oakland, and seen more of the relationship between cops and people of color here and elsewhere.  As I have learned more of the history of this city.

I no longer see Mehserle's look of shock after shooting Oscar Grant in the back as evidence that "he didn't mean to do it," but more probably surprise that he actually had done what he wanted to do.

I have no proof of that, but given his lies ("I thought he had a gun!") since then, and that his other piece of defense ("I meant to tase him!") contradicts that claim (you don't stand up over someone and tase them if you think they are about to roll over and shoot you with a gun); I simply don't find Johannes Mehserle to be credible on any level.

I don't think he is a cold blooded killer who feels no remorse for what he did either.

But I do think that the cop culture in this city (as in many cities and towns everywhere) is rooted in an atmosphere that is highly racist, highly classist; that dehumanizes people of color to the degree that violence perpetrated against them is not seen as "as big of a deal" as against white people.  And I think, in that mindset, in that atmosphere, it is easy for a dominant part of someone to pull out their gun and shoot an unarmed man in the back, while another part of you is shocked at your own hate and it's actions.

And I don't think someone like that should be out in free society.

I don't think they should necessarily be in prison either (see: my prison abolitionist views) but they need to be out of society somehow, and right now, prison is all we've got.

Anyway, that is my opinion.

And I am ready to take to the streets if he is acquitted, with the rest of "the animals in Oakland".

But for now, we wait, so that those who have heard all the evidence, and who are in an even better position to judge than I, can weigh the facts and come to a conclusion.

I just pray that decision will be something akin to justice.

For play by play updates see: OscarGrantTrial on Twitter.