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of course, many have it far worse than I do. from colorofchang.org:

Thirteen days after the murder of Oscar Grant on New Year's Eve, the police officer who killed him has finally been arrested and charged with murder.[1] Even the District Attorney admitted it was only because of massive public pressure that he moved so aggressively, pressure that included more than 20,000 of you speaking up.[2]

That's why it's so important for each of us to commit to staying involved. Johannes Mehserle's arrest is important, but it's only the first step. In cases like this, history has repeatedly shown that as soon as the public eye turns away the prospect of justice fades.

We need you, and so does Oscar Grant's family. Making sure the prosecution does its job and pushing for much-needed reforms will continue to require your voice.

Are you in? Click here--it takes just a moment.

In 14 years as Alameda County District Attorney, Tom Orloff had never before charged a police officer for an on-duty shooting. And when asked, several legal experts were unable to come up with any examples of officer-involved shootings becoming murder cases in California.[3]

But over 20,000 of you, along with citizens and organizers in the Bay Area, made it impossible for Orloff to ignore Oscar Grant's murder. He said that "because of the intense public interest I think more resources were put into wrapping this up than would be put in in other situations."[4] Orloff made it clear that due to your efforts, he poured investigative resources into this case that his record tells us he never would have otherwise. [editorial emphasis added]

We've exposed a chink in the armor of a system that protects trigger-happy cops instead of regular folks. Now there's a real opportunity to create systemic changes that would introduce transparency and accountability to police forces across California, and especially to the BART Police Department. We need to keep the pressure on Tom Orloff to make sure he keeps devoting time and energy to Mehserle's prosecution.

Help honor the memory of Oscar Grant and others who have fallen victim to police violence. Please sign up to stay involved in pushing for justice in this case and for real accountability for police.

Thanks and Peace,

-- James, Gabriel, Clarissa, William, Dani, and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
January 16th, 2008

References

1. "Behind murder charge against ex-BART officer," San Francisco Chronicle, 1-15-2009

2. "Highlights Of DA Tom Orloff's Wednesday News Conference On Murder Charge," KTVU, 1-14-2009

3. See reference 1.

4. See reference 2.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
isindra
Jan. 17th, 2009 09:39 am (UTC)
I agree that it was the right move, politically, for the DA.
He needed to do something to protect the people of Oakland from more riots. The saddest part is that those riots ended up hurting poor people more than anyone else. One of the cars they burned belonged to a single mom who was barely making ends meet. She only had liability insurance and needed her car to get to work. Now she's fkd not by the man, but my the rioters.
The whole thing is very sad, all around.
eriktrips
Jan. 17th, 2009 11:45 am (UTC)
some of the rioters were "professional protesters" from SF and other places around the Bay Area. I don't know who started what, but it's been suggested in some news reports that the people of Oakland weren't the ones smashing windows and burning cars, for the most part.

still, it is a shame that so much pressure had to be brought to bear for any charges to be made at all. the video tapes make it fairly clear that the officer who shot him was in no danger whatsoever. they also seem to show that he totally fucked up and knew it, but putting a gun in the hands of someone that prone to fuck up is something that shouldn't happen in any police force. and I doubt this is a particularly isolated incident; just a very well-recorded one in a major metropolitan area with a population that has pretty much had it with police excesses.
isindra
Jan. 17th, 2009 07:30 pm (UTC)
If only it were just the police whose excesses have wearied the Oakland community.

Although I live in SF, I have strong ties to a number of communities in Oakland. I understand the anger on all sides but what is truly sad to me is that people who are not voluntarily involved in brutality of any kind are hurt, their lives severely damaged by (or even lost to) a mindless aggression to which too many thugs and police officers alike subscribe.

I understand why people are so angry. I don't understand when people are mindlessly anything. Professional protesters or not, it was wrong and I would like to see the community rise to support the people who were wronged in that way too.

I also have strong ties (family and professional) to law enforcement and being connected to both sides of this kind of thing gives me the opportunity to be more cautious in my assessment.

If it is true that he truly made a mistake (and that is under debate at this moment in the case) then he is not suited to serve. If he did not make a mistake, then he doesn't deserve to remain free. The fact that he quit before IA could question him makes it look like he has a lot to hide.

I have heard (not triple checked) that this officer has a history of excessive force or at least violation. Although it is wrong to convict someone based on other offenses, it does make the whole thing look different from how it appeared to me at first.

If it turns out that this cop really did mean to kill or shoot this young man, then all good cops will support his receiving the highest of penalties for what he did.

In any case, it will be interesting to see this played out in the open instead of behind the closed doors that are usually employed in this kind of situation.

Edited for linguistic error, not content

Edited at 2009-01-17 07:33 pm (UTC)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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