Thursday, January 08, 2009

Officers Of The Piece: RIP Oscar Grant - Get Well Robbie Tolan

Most know me as a pretty calm dude, and I'm not the vociferous type - but I will express my opinions. I have a particular disdain for injustice on all levels and across all racial lines. Fact is that minorities have long been the target of judicial inequities and @ the very least profiling. Much of these events have long straddled the line between negligent misconduct to actual profiling. Sh*t, it's happened to me.
This start of 2009 has seen two inconceivable cases of police brutality - both involving shootings.

Robbie Tolan, son of a retired Major League Baseball player was heading home @ 2am with his cousin after a nye party and stopping for fast food in his home town of Bellaire. After pulling into his driveway, he's confronted by an officer with a flash light and pistol drawn. The officers, concerned that the SUV they were driving was stolen, were told otherwise by Mrs Nolan who had since come out to clear the matter. Mrs. Nolan was soon after thrown against the garage door, @ which point the 22 yr old Robbie who had been on the ground @ the time raised up to ask what the officer was doing. 3 shots were fired. One hit the unarmed Robbie. He now lies in ICU in a hospital bed with a bullet lodged in his liver - which doctors say is likely inoperable.

When accused of profiling, Bellaire's assistant police chief told reporters, "As far as any allegations of racial profiling, I'd probably say that that's not really going to float." Really?? You followed an SUV driven by a black man to a predominantly white neighborhood? Do you know how much information you can pull from a simple license plate? Registered owner and the address @ the least would have offered all answers. This officer cowboy likely did not even bother doing such. He's on administrative leave while the Bellaire PD remains very tight lipped.
Anything short of a substantial demotion and/or lawsuit with significant damages, i will regard as a defeat. This 10 yr veteran of the police force used astonishing lack of judgement considering his rank. I'm no officer, but I will bet my home that this officer did not follow any kind of protocol or procedure. But the profiling will not float.... right.
Read More.

Certainly adding to Bellaire's mounting problem was a parallel and much more tragic shooting only hours apart playing itself out in California's Bay Area.

After a scuffle on a BART train (subway), 22 yr old Oscar Grant and some others were taken off the train @ the Fruitvale STN by BART security officers. All involved were positioned sitting against the wall.
The exchange that took place afterwards remains a mystery, but the unarmed Oscar Grant was then placed face down, his hands placed behind his back and cuffed.
Then, one of the officers standing over him inexplicably shoots him. Although disturbing, I offer the youtubed events in 2 parts:

Footage 1

Footage 2 (with sound)

Oscar Grant was then rushed to hospital where he later died of his injuries.
Initial reports from the BART spokepersons were that Oscar Grant was not faced down or restrained @ the time of the shooting. FALSE. Officers involved obviously lied to investigators/Internal Affairs from the start. Would you also believe that there are no vid cameras available with recorded footage for BART officials to review ANY altercations?? To their dismay and in the name of justice, the incident was YouTubed by witnesses and the truth has never been so clear.
Witness accounts indicate that Oscar Grant pleaded officers not to shoot or taser him as he had a young daughter.
The officer who fired the shot was placed on admin leave but then, likely under the clear and incontrovertible set of facts, has now resigned.
For some odd reason, much of the chatter still swirls around whether or not 1. the firearm discharged by mistake, and 2. whether he thought that he was puling out his taser or not.
Either way, again, I still present to you lack of protocol and incontestably undue force. You can clearly see Oscar Grant's hands up several times and offering no resistance. In fact, a friend and witness indicated that they had disembarked the BART to get away from the kerfuffle.
Yesterday, shortly after Mr. Grant's interment, a rally in Oakland turned violent as demonstrators grew angry and agitated over what is probably one of the worst cases of police misconduct in recent times, likely heightened by the plain proof that the videos have offered all to see.
Read more.
Let's hope of exemplary and principled punishment - in both cases.



1 comment:

beth said...

ok for real this shits effed up! why why why is there still so much racism in the world...why are ppl so afraid? grrr.