Oakland, CA—The New Year’s shooting that took the life of Oscar Grant was tragic for sure. I don’t buy that event as an intentional shooting.
No cop would intentionally shoot a helpless man in the back in front of scores of witnesses under the conditions made clear by the cell-phone captured videos.
Before this is over it may destroy the life of a second man, Johannes Mehserle, 27, the cop who pulled the trigger.
The duty or service weapon for BART police officers is the Sig-Saur .40 caliber semi-automatic. It has a 12 pound+ trigger pull. This is an ideal police sidearm.
What then caused the event? I won’t rule out some form of negligence but there were serious distractions that most certainly contributed to the killing.
Police officers are trained to fight off tunnel vision. That is our natural instinct to focus on what’s happening or the threat in front of us. Police are taught to pay attention to all 360 degrees around their positions.
The answer to the questions about was going through the young officer’s mind during this event has yet to be explained. Under the circumstances we cannot demand answers from this cop. He is protected by the same Bill of Rights that we fought wars to protect.
On that Oakland platform there was an angry mob taunting and making verbal threats to police simply doing their job. That crowd can take part of the blame because they distracted at least one cop and that’s all it took.
Was there something the officer saw or heard that caused him to draw the weapon that’s not visible on the videos?
Cops have to multitask under threatening conditions. They carry lots of equipment, perhaps too much equipment. They automatically extract that equipment from their uniform belts without looking. That in itself can be problematic.
Could have there been a spastic or involuntary movement of his trigger finger?
The experts will be examining this case for decades and perhaps so will our courts.