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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Editor's Note

Re: “Be Cool

While I was not on the platform at the same time as the shooting, I was on the BART on the same line that night and people were rowdy and someone vomited next to me. Should any of them have been killed? No way. People need to stop making excuses for blatant a police murder.

Oscar Grant has been called a “thug” and slandered every which way while we have been told that murderer Mehserle was called “most huggable” (at a high school where he was later expelled for slapping a Latina student – but this second fact was left out of the trial and most of the media). Everyone also says “why don’t people protest gang-shootings too” but this is different – as far as I know gangs are not armed, trained, and paid $70k by the city to “protect and serve” the community. This case is about more than Oscar Grant, who had his face crushed by officer Peroni’s knee on the back of his head, this is about police brutality and racial profiling. (On a side note, the BART driver testified that the police never asked who was doing the fighting on the train that night, so to claim that Oscar Grant was doing anything wrong when he was detained is arguing guilt without any proof -- but he’s young and black and was photographed in a hat, so I guess that’s all the proof some people need to decide he was “up to no good”).

The reason I am not satisfied with an “oops, you jumped in front of my bullet” involuntary manslaughter charge is that this case, for me, is more than just one rotten apple in the police force. Police violence and racial profiling are rampant and unless the police know that if they do this they will be locked up for the same time as anyone else, then this behavior is being encouraged as the police, courts, and city government turn a blind eye. So the message of this case after the verdict… well you can beat and even kill someone as a cop and unless there are scores of people watching and a half-dozen videos showing you murdering someone, you will probably be fine.

Now I will wait to see what comes out of sentencing – if Grant’s murderer get’s the additional 10 years for using a gun, that will be something and I think the focus should then go onto getting that thug Peroni behind bars as well.

Posted by Jimmie Higgins on 07/09/2010 at 8:15 AM

Re: “Be Cool

As a 25 year resident of Oakland, I have to say that the East Bay Express is increasingly irrelevant. It used to be a must read for me, but the cover of this issue is a real example of why it is out of touch with most Oakland residents now. "Mehserle lost his cool. Let's not repeat his mistake." If it wanted to be reasoned and relevent, the headline should have read: "Oscar Grant and Mehserle lost their cool. Let's not repeat their mistake."
Mehserle obviously really f'ed up, and Grant didn't deserve being killed. But let's remember that Oscar Grant was actively stirring up sh*t, being violent and resisting arrest for most of the evening. He was an adult and there are consequences for acting like a maniac and putting himself, officers, and bystanders in danger. I'm sick of seeing his face on posters.
It's ironic to see others in the comfort of their own homes pick apart officers who were trying to contain violence on our PUBLIC TRANSIT SYSTEM while surrounded by a violent mob and outnumbered 100 to 1. Want to go try that? For 60 K a year in revolving shifts? Didn't think so.
Real longtime Oakland residents are sick of it all, from the high taxes to the unpaved streets to the sh*tty schools to the crony politics to the welfare state to the budget problems but ESPECIALLY THE CRIME. Oscar Grant was CAUSING the violence. Find another martyr - want to put posters up? Start with Christopher Rodriguez, the 10 year old boy who was paralyzed while practicing his piano lesson by a stray bullet shot by a looser like Oscar Grant.

Posted by beldegar on 07/09/2010 at 12:04 AM

Re: “Be Cool

Jimmie Higgins isn't my real name and I've never even heard of that other blog - try again.

Posted by Jimmie Higgins on 07/08/2010 at 2:42 PM

Re: “Be Cool

From Jimmy Higgins Eastbay Express post:
"As a resident of Fruitvale and BART commuter (who was on the train New Years 2009), ..."

From the "Fire on the Mountain Blog:
posted by Jimmy Higgins
[Fire on the Mountain is pleased to offer this report by a long-time Oakland resident about the community's ongoing response to the police murder of Oscar Grant.]

"On the early morning of January 1, I happened to be in the Emergency Room of Oakland General...Then the paramedics brought in Oscar Grant."

Hmmm. Seems you were all over town, Mr. Higgins.

Posted by Lawngun on 07/08/2010 at 2:23 PM

Re: “Be Cool

As a resident of Fruitvale and BART commuter (who was on the train New Years 2009), the cover of this issue was a slap in the face. Where were the covers demanding that the BART police be peaceful?

I'm against violence as much as anyone else, but the overwhelming criticism of and concern over protesters, rather than the police force from so-called liberal sources makes me sick. If people do not want to see violence, then they need to do something about police brutality first.

Why is it that in a county whose first response to 9/11 is to bomb unrelated people and countries for a decade, and the response to crime is to grant more weapons and resources to the police... that the people are the ones who are always told to remain "peaceful". But when Mixon shot 4 OPD cops, no one condemned the police for going after the suspect with guns blazing in an apartment complex. THAT'S violence, that's terrorism - breaking glass and burning a car is nothing in comparison to what the police have done over they years.

Disarm the police, provide jobs and decent housing for people, and stop recruiting soldiers from low-income neighborhoods... and then we can talk about the population having a peaceful response to things. Personally I am only against breaking windows because I don't think it accomplishes much in regards to building a movement against police brutality and for civil rights, but I am not going to condemn or worry about people expressing anger when a case of such obvious injustice is allowed to go on by the police, media, courts, and city government.

Frankly the city (by sitting on their own video evidence, ignoring videos from people on the train, and letting this murdering cop hang out across state lines for a week without charging him) left people with little other choice but to express their anger like that. If there is more violence, blame rests on the city and the courts and police... just as we would look at violence in Iranian protests and blame the regime, not the voiceless struggling to be heard.

Jimmie Higgins.

Posted by Jimmie Higgins on 07/08/2010 at 2:07 PM

Re: “Be Cool

Stephen, I would be among the first to speak out against inexcusable police violence, but believe we have something different here. I do not believe Mehserle intentionally killed Grant. I believe Grant was struggling and would not allow Mehserle to cuff him. Grant was treated differently than his friends, because they were compliant and remained seated -- Grant did not.

I believe Mehserle was justified in attempting to Tase Grant. The officers did not know if any of these young people were armed, they had a rather unruly New Years crowd on the platform, some of which were approaching the officers and shouting at them. They were outnumbered and needed to get things quickly under control. I believe the use of a Taser was justified and preferable to beating Grant into compliance with a baton.

Things went badly, but I believe that it was NOT Mehserle's intention to kill Grant. Others may have different opinions on this, but whether one believes the killing was an accident or intentional, rioting, violence and destruction of property IS NOT JUSTIFIED. So, Stephen, I disagree. I do not believe there is any inexcusable police violence here to excuse.

Posted by Lawngun on 07/08/2010 at 10:36 AM

Re: “Be Cool

Can't you people on the two extremes of this discussion see how similar you actually are? It's no different to excuse inexcusable police violence than it is to excuse inexcusable community violence. They're both fucked up.

East Oaklander, we at the Express tend to ignore most breaking news because it's an area where we can't really get ahead of the dailies. But it's hardly true to say we haven't written about the story in 18 months. I count at least 100 stories of some type, although most are admittedly blog posts:…

Art, what can I say? My Photoshop chops aren't that advanced.

Posted by Stephen Buel on 07/08/2010 at 10:04 AM

Re: “Be Cool

I love this poster. Thanks for making it. People have a right to be angry, but no right to attack small businesses in Oakland with no connection to this crime. What kind of revolution is it that shuts down small businesses that are just scraping by and trying to better the commerce and status of downtown Oakland?

Posted by Superfinos VTO on 07/08/2010 at 10:03 AM

Re: “Be Cool

east_oaklander (or more likely, walnut_creeker), you are part of the problem and not part of the solution. Violence will get you nowhere. Stop spouting your trite revolutionary statements and grow up.

Posted by Lawngun on 07/08/2010 at 9:24 AM

Re: “Be Cool

Where have you been for the past 18 months? The only other coverage in the East Bay Express archives from you about Oscar Grant is from the riots from last January.

That's the problem with you and your non-profit friends. When young people and black and brown people threaten even by rumor to become uncontrollable, the full forces of the repressive apparatus emerge. On the one hand, there's now thousands of cops mobilized and ready to brutalize us. On the other hand, there are patronizing liberals like you and the Urban Pepsi Movement who are suddenly so concerned about maintaining the status quo.

Well guess what? The status quo in Oakland IS violence for us. And people like you who are blind to it only emerge when we fight back.

captcha: PACIFY

Posted by east_oaklander on 07/07/2010 at 11:17 PM

Re: “Be Cool

What's with the Obama poster subliminal added to Oscar Grant's picture? Why make it subliminal..?

Posted by Art on 07/07/2010 at 10:50 PM

Re: “Be Cool

OAKLAND, California, - "Don't get used by these protesters" says a man who was paid to drop his 'old-black-dude-who-went-to-prison' wisdom on a group of Oakland youth. "Don't get pimped. You kids are too stupid to analyze the system, you don't need to get angry. It's just the agitators who want to use you to legitimize themselves," he continues, in the city-funded nonprofit's main room, while a police negotiator sits quietly in the corner.

OAKLAND, California, -
"Don't get used by these protesters" says a man who was paid to drop his 'old-black-dude-who-went-to-prison' wisdom on a group of Oakland youth. "Don't get pimped. You kids are too stupid to analyze the system, you don't need to get angry. It's just the agitators who want to use you to legitimize themselves," he continues, in the city-funded nonprofit's main room, while a police negotiator sits quietly in the corner.
"I'm hitting you kids with some real wisdom here. I'm an older black man so don't question me about this."
He pauses, looks at the officer, then at the nonprofit's director.
"Any questions?"

This is a part of a campaign between local Oakland community nonprofits, Mayor Ron Dellums, and the Oakland Police Department to keep the peace after Mehserle's verdict is announced.

Their strategy?

Tell the youth of Oakland that they actually are too stupid to be angry over the killing of Oscar Grant III on the Fruitvale Bart platform last January.
"The real blame falls on the political groups," says a local nonprofit director. "They want to use these naive, stupid little children for their 'revolution', but they're not from Oakland." When asked about the fact that most of the OPD are not from Oakland, he brushed it off.
"I don't care if the police are murdering kids," he says. "The outside agitators are the real threat here. Oscar Grant's family wants peace, so that makes the police OK in my book."

Police officials have assured the public that a quiet, orderly demonstration will be tolerated, but any property damage will be met with swift, Mehserle-style execution.
"We like freedom of speech," says an OPD spokesman. "But we have a job, and that job is to keep Oakland's stupid youth from revolting. Since we can't openly treat them like the animals we know they are, we have to shift the blame to someone. So why not the groups that advocate revolution? So we thought, 'There's white people in those groups. We can just call them outsiders, and the brutal reality of our police state will fade to the back of peoples' minds.' Brilliant!"

It seems, on the day of the verdict, that tensions will be high. But will Oakland's youth prove to be as stupid as City officials say? Only time will tell.

Posted by kiwifruit on 07/07/2010 at 6:47 PM

Re: “Be Cool

Stephen, that was Bryson's testimony to the court last month (the whole "F*ck this!" bullsh*t), but that is not what he said during the discovery and what was written into Mehserle's Motion for Bail. Bryson actually said that he heard Mehserle say "I'm gonna taze him" and then he heard a pop.…

Bryson lied on the stand, as did David Horowitch. There are a bunch of morons out there who just want to see something bad happen to Mehserle, and they want to make it happen even if they have to lie on the stand.

Posted by OakieResident on 07/07/2010 at 3:53 PM

Re: “Be Cool

What's different, when reminded that mouthing off was only going to make matters worse, I shut up....... and paid the ticket

as a Berkeley resident I have endured some pretty awful treatment by cops, I took it to internal affairs after the incident.

Posted by free2think on 07/07/2010 at 3:22 PM

Re: “Be Cool

"what's different?"

Both Mr. Grant and Ms. free2think were mouthing off to the Police. So far, the same. What's different? The BART Police were attempting to place Mr. Grant under arrest and he was struggling and refusing to comply. Ms. free2think was getting a traffic citation. Use of the Taser is pretty standard in the escalation of force continuum to obtain compliance in arrests. Use of Taser is not too common in issuance of a traffic citation.

Posted by Lawngun on 07/07/2010 at 2:36 PM

Re: “Be Cool

@free2think- yet, as an adult you still expressed frustration at a cop. Despite that the 4 year old was wise enough to fear police, you still expressed frustration. In the video you show, I see Oscar Grant expressing frustration. Did you warrant "escalation to use of force, including tasers?" when YOU expressed frustration? No, of course not....but Oscar clearly did, according to you....what's different?

Posted by shakingmyheadindisbelief on 07/07/2010 at 9:04 AM

Re: “Be Cool

Stephen, I still disagree that Mehserle was angry. I don't believe Mehserle shot Oscar Grant out of anger. An angry cop just might reach for his semi-automatic and end things there. I believe he was frustrated by Grant's lack of compliance and, as he told his partner, he planned to Tase him. Different motives. Different mindset. And, in our case, different opinions.

I do agree that the error was fatal and very much agree with your statement "The only true justice for Oscar Grant will be better relations between this community and its police."

Posted by Lawngun on 07/07/2010 at 7:58 AM

Re: “Be Cool

My little poster does not imply that Mehserle is guilty of murder. My poster states flatly that he is guilty of losing his cool. Regardless of what you think happened that night, it can't be argued that Mehserle lost his cool and screwed up.

Posted by Stephen Buel on 07/06/2010 at 9:16 PM

Re: “Be Cool

"I don't agree with your assertion,Stephen, this video shows Grant's friends complying with police and shows an agitated Grant whose actions non complying and resisting police are the reasons for escalation to use of force, including tasers."

Ah, free2think, you see it, I see it and lots of others do, too. After his cell phone chat, Grant jumps up and has a few choice words for the officers. But, don't you know that it's all Officer Pirone's fault for yelling at the kids as he pulled them off the BART train for fighting? You can't really expect individuals to take any responsibility for their personal actions, when you have handy law enforcement officers to blame, now can you? Ack! Gag me!

Posted by Lawngun on 07/06/2010 at 2:04 PM

Re: “Be Cool

@IAmOscarGrant, I reject your contention that this case would not have gone to trial had morons not run wild through the streets buring cars and destroying property. Do you think that the DA's Office can put together a murder charge in a week? If the prosecution is going to go to court and charge ANYBODY with murder, it's not something they just throw together, toss on the wall and hope it sticks.

The very thought that you think it is proper for a mob to dictate to our legal system is scary. I would think that mob justice and lynchings are something we would all like to see disappear forever. You also seem to believe that Mehserle should be tried based on the past actions of others. That is not how our legal system works, nor should it. Mehserle is not charged with 400 years of discrimination, abuse and unfair treatment.

Posted by Lawngun on 07/06/2010 at 1:52 PM

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