Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Former BART Cop Who Shot Oscar Grant Arrested

It's been a week since the mini-riot in Oakland over the shooting death of Oscar Grant, 22, at the Fruitvale station of the Bay Area Rapid Transit system. If I've lost you, then you may read the history of that shooting at this link.

I'm posting this morning to say that Johannes Mehserle, 27, the BART cop who shot Grant in the back while he lay face-down on the ground and who later resigned has been arrested, per CNN.
Former Bay Area Rapid Transit officer Johannes Mehserle was arrested on a fugitive warrant connected to the fatal shooting, KGO reported.

Mehserle is accused of the shooting of Oscar Grant III at an Oakland, California, station on New Year's Day. The incident was captured on video by several witnesses and spurred violent protests in the northern California city.

Mehserle, 27, was taken into custody in Douglas County, Nevada at about 7 p.m. (10 p.m. ET), Sgt. Dan Coverly of Douglas County Sheriff's Office told KGO.

Mehserle resigned from his job as a BART police officer days after the shooting. The transit agency's police force and Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff are investigating the incident. (CNN source)
I've been offline a few days. Did I miss something? Was Mehserle on the run at some point?

As of Saturday, it seems, it was thought he wouldn't flee. Perhaps he didn't know Nevada is outside of California.

I also read that another protest to the shooting has been scheduled, and while police prepare, organizers anticipate it will be peaceful.

6 comments: said...

Hi there!

I am not sure why it took police two weeks to arrest the murderer when the murder was caught on tape and the suspected murderer was not on the run. He wasn't even called in for questioning by police after the shooting and surely the police were on the scene after the murder to take Oscar Grant to the morgue.

It is a shame that protestors decided to damage the property of those who were innocent simply because they were enraged over the murder of Oscar Grant...

Let me get this straight...they are protesting the unjust treatment of Oscar Grant by UNJUSTLY treating all of the business owners and innocent bystanders by destroying their property? That is ridiculous. It only makes those who are watching throughout the nation decide that perhaps the police need to keep those negroes under control over in Oakland. Hmmmmph.

Let us not lose sight of the fact that Oscar Grant was a known criminal who had a record and who had been incarcerated several times. This does not mean he deserved to be killed in cold blood but neither should he be turned into a martyr as though he died like Malcolm X.

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

Herring said...

Okay I agree with you saying that the damage done during the riots was unjust!! But why is it necessary to bring up this mans past criminal history? What does that have to do with him being MURDERED? He was shot in his back in cold blood! There is no justification for that! I wonder what point your trying to make by bringing up the victims past? Did you forget that Malcolm X had a criminal history, served time in prison, sold and used drugs? That was part of his personal testimony. I mean that is who you named as a Martyr. Don't get me wrong I love brother Malcolm it's just I don't get your point here MURDER IS MURDER!

Blue State Cowgirl said...

It's a slippery slope to point out Oscar Grant's criminal record. When do we decide it's okay to shoot an unarmed citizen in the back when they are lying face down on the pavement posing no risk? If it's O.J. Simpson? If it's Bernie Madoff? If we decide it's "acceptable" to execute some people we think might be less "deserving" of due process, what do we think if a bullet ricochets and kills a 7 year old girl scout. Aside from the basic facts of this case, I have a huge problem with the fact that an officer was so quick to fire off a weapon in a crowded, enclosed public place. I'm even more appalled to hear that BART cops receive "72 hours training in firearms." British cops don't carry guns and their underground stations are well policed and safe to walk in. Maybe before we argue about the Oscar Grant case in specific, we should reassess in general how freely we allow the use of firearms and who we give that dangerous privilege to.

Verite, my understanding from local news reports is that Mehserle's whereabouts were well known to the police. Mehserle may even have told them where he was going. It was said he feared for his life and went to stay with a friend in Nevada.

Vérité Parlant said...

I don't think Lisa believes Grant's record should have any bearing on the shooting itself or that Grant's record gives Mehserle a pass to murder. I think she's speaking of the danger of possibly glorifying Grant as we protest the injustice of his death. But, she's good at answering for herself. Perhaps she'll come back and say more.

Grant's parents said he was turning his life around, and I addressed the criminal record in my first post about the Oakland violence, "Hell Breaks Loose." And at BlogHer in my post on white vigilantes shooting black men during Katrina but not being investigated, I talked about the tendency to justify police officers and whites killing black people based on beliefs that black people are criminals, "Is Black Life Worth More than a Wine Cooler?"

I tend to believe that a society shows its true face by how it treats the least among them. So, we should protest the murder of a man no matter what his background. Goodness, even during the Wild West, shooting a man in the back was considered a heinous act, even if that man were a known criminal.

However, shooting black men in the back was probably not considered heinous because black men weren't considered human.

Grant's murder is not something we should let slide. Even if we argue Mehserle thought he'd pulled out his Taser and Grant's death may be an accident, I still think we need to examine what was going on in Mehserle's head and address that other officer's may have similar issues when it comes to fear of black men, if that's part of Mehserle's issue. Would he have handled himself differently if Grant had been white? Perhaps Mehserle should never have been allowed to carry a weapon. Jumpy people shouldn't have guns. We may never know.

Thanks, Cowgirl. I suspected his being in Nevada was something like that, "I'm running for my life" drama. I also figured the authorities knew his whereabouts, but with another protest slated for the next day or so, they couldn't chance it getting out that they let Mehserle chill in Nevada instead of in custody.

Thank you all for taking the time to comment on the BART Shooting. said...

Hi there!

I saw your note at my blog and I am happy to add more to the conversation.

Grant's mother said he was turning his life around...well he (and his friends) were fighting on the darn train on New Year's Eve and THAT is why police were called in.

Had he NOT been fighting like a thug on a darn train inside of sitting in his seat like a passenger should, would he be alive today?



I have a lengthy discussion at my blog, "Confronting Legalized Murder By The Boys In Blue" and I believe that it presents all of the issues surrounding this issue quite thoroughly. I don't want to start guest blogging in your comment section however. *smiles*

Oscar Grant was fighting on the train. That was why he came in contact with BART police at the time of his murder.

Malcolm X was making a speech at the time of his murder and working for the advancement of his people when he was gunned down.

It DOES matter how and why a person encountered the police when the altercation occurred. It doesn't excuse murder but it is not an UNNECESSARY detail to the story. Not at all.

"The least among them" does not include menances to society...not in my opinion.

I don't mourn the murder of thugs and those who are menaces to society and to the black community. This certainly doesn't mean that I feel they should be shot and killed unjustly however.

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

Vérité Parlant said...

Yeah, but I think we're mixing apples and oranges here, Lisa, in a way that's dangerous to people's civil rights.

If you encounter the police because you're being thuggish, the only consequence for being a thuggish and getting into a fight with your thug friends (excluding that one of them kills you) should be you're arrested and taken to lock-up, booked, and later face potential sentencing. The penalty for being a thug should not be instant death by cop, especially if you're face down on the ground with another cop kneeling on your back.

Your argument reminds me of the kind you hear from some men when they learn a husband strangled his wife after learning she had an affair, "Well, you know a "ho" deserve what she git," some say. I beg to differ.