Saturday, July 10, 2010

The BART Shooting, Alex Jones and Historical Fiction

After listening to several so called expert explanations of what the videos at the BART Station showed of proved, the worst by Alex Jones, I decided to watch the videos for myself. This is my take on the Oscar Grant Shooting by BART Officer Johnnes Mehserle.

Most videos start near the scene where Off Mehserle and a second officer are detaining 4 subjects who are seated against a cement wall; the subjects are, left to right, Carlos Reyes, Oscar Grant, Jackie Bryson Nigel Bryson. There was one video that showed some of the activity leading up to the incident that showed a handful of young men and women chipping at the officers for detaining the young men, and several other officers maintaining a perimeter protecting Mehserle and the second officer. At some point a third officer, Off Peroni enters the picture from the left and points out Grant and J.Bryson to be arrested. Grant then stands up to argue with the officers, causing Off Peroni and Mehserle to force him back to the ground. While this is happening, J.Bryson then stands up and the third officer tries to take control of him. Mehserle joins the second officer and J.Bryson is pushed into a knelling position and handcuffed by Mehserle. The second officer stays with J.Bryson while Mehserle moves to the rear of Grant to handcuff him also. Here you see a small scuffle and Grant rolls forward turning himself face up. With Peroni on Grant’s head and Mehserle on his body, they attempt turn Grant around so they can handcuff his hands behind his back (a task much more difficult than you’d think). After another short scuffle, they mange to turn Grant more or less on his front, but Grant’s right arm is still under his body and may now be tangled with Carlos Reyes leg that Grant is now lying across. While it appeared to be unclear to many whether Grant was handcuffed at this point, it is obvious he was not (proven later). Mehserle was obviously unable to secure grants right arm and while still kneeling, upholstered a weapon (there are three reasons someone keeps there hand trapped underneath themselves; it's trapped, they are resisting, they have a weapon in their waistband). Apparently believing we held a Taser, Mehserle stood up to give the Taser enough distance for the darts to properly spread. Mehserle fired what turned out to be his 40 cal Glock and mortally wounded Grant in the back. Immediately after the shooting, both Peroni and Mehserle stopped and backed away from Grant and pretty much just stared at each other for a moment in disbelief, Mehserle holding his hands palms up and outward from his side . The reason I know that Grant was not handcuffed, is Mehserle next action after the shooting is to handcuff Grant.

The grotesque description by Alex Jones is a continuation of his hatred and distrust of authority. Even though he knows that the only police Officers that listen to him are “awake”, he continues to talk about them as sub-human ogres, with little intelligence and penchant for torture. Alex Jones says the officers lied and tried to cover up the incident and claim they shot Grant in self-defense when he tried to disarm Mehserle. No, this did not happen. The officers wrote the incident occurred as a result of Grant resisting arrest and it was suspected he might be armed. Jones said the Officers continue to lie and cover up the incident for the first 5-6 days until the videos came out. No, as I said before, there was no cover up and the videos appeared 2 days after the shooting. Jones said there was a whole “passel of cops”, then he says there was four (a passal?) on the platform. Actually I saw five officers; three where dealing with the four detainees and the other two where protecting their backs from a small crowd that had gathered; at one point this crowd had tried to intervene until they were pushed back. Jones said, “they put him (Grant) in handcuffs and he wasn’t resisting and they were jumping on his head and having a bully party and getting off on it...” No, Grant was on his back resisting, Peroni was holding Grant’s head (a common control hold). Jones said, “then the cop pulled a gun, chambered a round, and shot him right in the back.” No, Alex, the police do not run around with unloaded guns. Mehserle pistol was a 40 cal Glock with a round already chambered and the safety lever is part of the trigger. A Taser and Glock are roughly the same size and feel and both have a laser site (a Glock is heavier). The Taser does have a different safety, however it is obvious in at least one of the videos that Mehserle had already deployed his Taser and turned off the safety just minutes before the shooting; a red laser point can be seen on Grants leg before Grant stood up. “…then they even beat him up a little more; a little more celebration”. No, as I said before, the moment Mehserle fired his weapon, Peroni disengaged from Grants head and Mehserle stood there for a few seconds before handcuffing Grant. The reason Grant was handcuffed is, even a fatal wound does not normally incapacitate a subject, it takes about 30 seconds for someone to bleed to death, and during those 30 seconds, suspects have been known to attack and sometimes kill other victims: BART protocol calls for all subjects who are shot buy officers to be handcuffed. Alex Jones said it took 30 minutes to put Grant on a stretcher and he died on the way to the hospital. No, Grant died 8 hours later at the hospital. Finally Jones said Mehserle was facing 2-4 years for Involuntary Manslaughter; with the gun enhancment he faces 4-14 years. Alex Jones went on to describe the BART cops as wolves having a feeding frenzy on a cow stuck in the mud (don’t ask).

As I have said before, Alex Jones has a point of view. He usually starts with basic information and then builds a monument of innuendo and presents it as fact. While I listen to Alex Jones to hear the information he was dug up, what you usually hear in his show is historical fiction.

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  1. So you are condoning that the cops seized cellphones as so to cover up what they did?

  2. The taking of the cellphones is a two sided sword. If the police are to properly investigate the incident, then they need the images on the cell phones. In the trial against Mehserle, the cell phone images were used as evidence against him and evidence rules dictate that there is a clear trail as to their origin. If an image is simply released on You Tube, it's evidential weight is compromised and my be inadmissible. On the other side, their have been cases where this kind of evidence has been suppressed, and the images disappear when in the hands of the police. Obviously it is wrong if the seizure of the phones was for the purposes of a cover-up, however it is standard procedure, in this type of an investigation to take the phones as evidence.


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