Questions on Oscar Grant

More

I hate to say this, but I really would not be surprised if they don't get Johan Mehserle on a murder charge. It just strikes me that this...

Defense attorney Michael Rains has maintained that Mehserle meant to pull out his Taser stun gun instead of his .40-caliber handgun when he shot Grant. In his opening statements, Rains said Mehserle told Pirone before the shooting, "Tony, Tony, Tony, I can't get his hands. I'm going to tase him."

Prosecutors believe Mehserle did intend to shoot Grant and that he used his weapon because officers were losing control of the situation.

...is a really high bar. It's not even clear to me that Mehserle intended to shoot him. I always thought that was beside the point. "I meant to tase him" has never struck me as an satisfactory explanation, and totally unsatisfactory excuse.

Proving intent strikes me as really difficult. For those of us who've watched police brutality cases, we've seen cops get off repeatedly because "intent" couldn't be proven. Indeed, it's a matter of credibility and, somewhat understandably, citizens tend to believe cops.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to a Seaside Town in Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Where the Wild Things Go

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Adults Need Playtime Too

When was the last time you played your favorite childhood game?

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in National

From This Author

Just In