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)

An Eerie Tour of Chernobyl's Wasteland

"Do not touch the water. There is nothing more irradiated than the water itself."


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

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in National

From This Author

Just In