Monday, June 8, 2009

BART Purge Shouldn't Stop at Mehserle

By Robert Gammon
Mon, Jun 8, 2009 at 10:07 AM

The preliminary hearing of ex-BART cop Johannes Mehserle provided convincing evidence that at least three other BART cops should also lose their jobs. First, there's Anthony Pirone, who testified last week that Oscar Grant had "kicked" him in the groin moments before Mehserle shot Grant in the back as he lay on the ground. According to the Chron, Pirone admitted that he never told investigators about Grant's alleged kick during at least two interviews in the days after the killing. Pirone said he only remembered the kick later, after viewing videotapes of the incident - which, it should be noted, do not show any such kick. So Pirone now wants us to believe that he couldn't remember being kicked in the crotch by a guy who was then killed by one of Pirone's friends in the most infamous BART cop case ever? Yeah, right.

Then there's Pirone's partner Marysol Domenici, who testified that Grant grabbed her arm just before Pirone forced Grant to the ground. But same problem, the numerous videotapes of the incident show Grant grabbing no one. Incredibly, Domenici and Pirone also blamed Grant for his own death, testifying that if he had only done everything they asked, he would still be alive. But that just proves how unfit these two are for service. Not only did they lie on the stand, but they blame the victim. That makes them not only pathetic, but dangerous. In short, they're saying, if you resist arrest, BART cops are justified in killing you. That's a pretty scary point of view. In fact, prosecutor David Stein was right when he asked Pirone, "Isn't it true that you posed more of a threat to Oscar Grant than he ever posed to you?"

And finally, there's BART police Chief Gary Gee. His department clearly mishandled the investigation, and he's responsible as the person in charge. There is no way that he should have allowed Pirone and Domenici to return to the force. And now that they've apparently both perjured themselves on the stand, while still blaming the victim, there is no way that they should ever be allowed to serve as police officers again. Gee's got to let them go, and then he should apologize and resign himself, especially now that he's apparently ashamed of his own police force.

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