Thursday, June 10, 2010

Another Historic Murder Trial Gets Under Way

oscar grantImage via Wikipedia

Another historic murder trial gets under way this week in Los Angeles., however, this case was moved there from Oakland, California due to over-heated Bay Area publicity. Like the O.J. and Rodney King saga's, it involves a controversial police action, and racial elements that could lead to violence, depending on the outcome.
On New Years Eve 2009, 28-year old  BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle, who is white, shot and killed 22-year old Oscar Grant, who was black during a group scuffle at the Fruitvale Station in Oakland, California, and this time the tragedy was captured on video by an array of witnesses using cell phone cameras!
Guilt or innocence could actually depend on what this video or pictures reveals!  Did Mehserle intentionally shoot Grant in the back, or was he really just trying to shock the suspect with his Taser gun...and simply pulled the wrong trigger? Simply?  I don't think any part of this trial will be simple!
OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 14:  Protestors lay on t...For instance, a final piece of evidence was turned over just this morning.  It was a photograph taken by Grant just moments before he was shot....and it shows Mehserle aiming his Taser at Grant. What happens after this the focus of the whole case!  If it is allowed as evidence, will this photo reveal that Mehserle knew full well where his stun gun was, in relation to where his revolver was?
Prosecutors say that Mehserle, who is the first Bay Area police officer ever charged with murder for an off-duty action, acted with malice when he shot the un-armed Grant in the back while trying to arrest him. The defense counters that Mehserle accidentally pulled the trigger on his revolver, while intending to just stun Grant with his Taser gun instead.
Neither side agrees on another critical question.... whether or not Grant resisted officer Mehserle prior to the shooting.  Prosecutors will try to prove that Grant had intense fear of being shocked, and thus saw the Taser being pointed at him, and yielded.
Mehserle's attorney Michael Rains, alledges that video shows Grant struggling to avoid being cuffed by his client, causing him to resort to the stun gun, and also that past incidents reveal Grant's tendency to resist  Police officers..
My own impressions may be swayed by the fact I know and have previously worked with the victim's mother in Hayward, California, Grant's hometown.  His mother supervised a UPS warehouse which I delivered packages to and from over the years.
Which ever way this trial ends, I fear the un-imaginable pain she has endured will surely be re-kindled the longer it drags on, knowing that no matter what the verdict....nothing brings back her son Oscar! My heart and my prayers have been with her for the past 17-months.
Still, I was satisfied to hear about the efforts of Dion Evans, an East Bay church leader and radio host who gathered many other community activists to enlighten authorities on the need for this trial.  "The people decided, we're not going to allow something like this to occur again", said Evans.
A different sentiment comes from police officers around the state who are concerned that a fellow cop could go to prison for making a mistake under difficult conditions.  One can't help but wonder how difficult...or not, the conditions may be for Mehserle, now on trial in front of a jury with no black members!
Nevertheless, Judge Robert Perry will allow this jury to hear racially slurred statements by former BART officer Anthony Pirone, who also detained Grant along side Mehserle prior to the shooting.  Pirone shouted at Grant: "Bitch-ass n--, right! Bitch-ass n--, right!"  Prosecuters believe Mehserle overheard this exchange, and it may have contributed to his actions.
The judge will also allow Grant's girlfriend to testify that she spoke briefly to him before the shooting, and that he sounded scarred while claiming he was being beaten for no reason.  The judge is also allowing both sides to introduce their own synchronizations of video footage from multiple angles...despite claims that some footage was botched.
Finally, while the evidence is unique in this case, the verdict may render violent public responses, so, the Oakland Police Department, who have already quelled one previous riot, are making plans to deal with any violent acts should Mehserle be acquitted.
Perhaps the police in Los Angeles should make similar plans!  Remember what happened after the Rodney King trial....not that long ago?

Thanks, and stay safe.
Sincerely, PeteCam4

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Monday, June 7, 2010


City Hall. Rotunda and Council Chambers. 200 E...Image via Wikipedia

I felt that with these bad economic times that Arizona Senate Bill 1070, This act declares that it is a crime to reside in Arizona as an illegal immigrant, and that law enforcement has the right to demand proof of legal residence of those suspected of having illegal immigrant status. It was signed on April 23, 2010 would benefit all of us.

 I have three opinions on this matter. First of all jobs are very hard to come by these days. If  businesses keep hiring  illegal aliens and paying them less than minimum wage all the legal United States citizens out of work will continue to suffer. Second why should illegal aliens get government services, when United States citizens have a hard time getting these services themselves. Third when a illegal alien commits a crime in the Untied States some of them get away with it, because they hop on a plane, train or bus go back from where they came.

San Jose Council in my opinion should not! boycott Arizona. It would be a stupid move.  If San Jose Council is considering doing this just because, they think it’s wrong, in my opinion that’s not good enough. I think it’s wrong that San Jose Council is considering giving up millions of dollars and let alone putting jobs in jeopardy, just because they don’t think illegal aliens would report crimes because their afraid of deportation.

 I know it sounds like I am for racial profiling well I am not! I have had family members profiled because of the color of there skin or for what they were wearing. That was definitely wrong, but Arizona has the right idea, at least their trying to curtail the illegal alien problem in this country.


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