I find it rather difficult to be enraged about Johannes Mehserle getting only two years for the
murder killing of Oscar Grant. To my mind, the strongest arguments for incarceration revolve around protecting a community from a menace. The next strongest argument is punitive--that a price must be paid for the taking of a life, less potential killers come to believe that their acts carry no consequence. I don't really believe that Mehserle is a menace to his community. I'm also mixed on the real point of punitive justice perpetrated against people who are not actually criminals. My sense is that Mehserle, in killing Oscar Grant, made an awful and sickening mistake. But I'm not sure what good comes out of sending him to jail for five or ten years.
- A Philadelphia man arrested--twice--at a bus stop for loitering, has his gun, which he's licensed to carry, confiscated. The man is detained for seven hours, but never charged with a crime."If he's that defiant, should this guy have a gun?" said Sgt. Ray Evers, a police spokesman. "The most uncommon human trait is common sense. He's not using good, adult judgment."
- Greenville vice cops don SWAT gear in order to raid a poker game. After the cops begin bashing at the door with a battering ram, the 72-year old home-owner, thinking he's being robbed, fires out into the door, hitting a deputy. The home-owner, who was also shot and was hospitalized in the ensuing gun-fight, is facing charges including, attempted murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. "Why didn't you tell me it was the cops?" the home-owner asked, as he fell wounded.
- A Wyoming woman finds a wallet, and makes attempts to contact the owner. She calls the police, but declines to hand it over to them unless the officer contacts the wallet's owner in her presence. The woman is arrested and charged. "We're only going to take so much," testified one of the arresting officers. The judge declares a mistrail.
- A 57-year old school-teachers calls the cops to her house to report a prowler. The cops responds by repeatedly tasing her. "I did what I had to do to take control of the situation," said the officer. He promptly quit his job--and found another as a cop in a nearby town.
- Here in New York, a cop parks his cruiser in the bike lane. He then tickets a bicyclist for not riding in the bike lane which he is occupying.
- In Brooklyn, an undercover officer sits on the stoop of man's mother. When the man asks the officer to move, the officer ignores him. The man--thinking the officer is a vagrant or drug-dealer--tries to forcibly move the officer. A scuffle ensues. The man is shot and killed. The officer never heard the man ask him to move because he was wearing earphones to monitor a drug buy-bust.
Testimony showed that Mehserle had announced he was going to use the Taser, the judge said. He also quoted the testimony of one of Grant's friends, who said that after Mehserle fired a single shot into Grant's back, he said, "Oh s-, oh s-, I shot him."