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01-16-09, 07:56 PM #1
Ex-officer pleads not guilty in BART shooting
OAKLAND, California (CNN) -- A former police officer for the Bay Area transit system pleaded not guilty Thursday in the New Year's Day shooting of a passenger at an Oakland rail station.
Johannes Mehserle, 27, appeared in a packed Alameda County courtroom, with his supporters separated by a courtroom aisle from relatives of shooting victim Oscar Grant III and other spectators. Mehserle is charged with shooting Grant, 22, in an incident that spurred violent protests in Oakland after being captured on video.
Mehserle resigned his job as a Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer days after the shooting, and he was arrested in Nevada earlier this week. Thursday's proceedings took less than five minutes, with Mehserle appearing behind heavy windows in an enclosure out of view of all but a handful of spectators.
Superior Court Judge Robert McGuinness ordered the ex-officer held until his next hearing, scheduled for January 26.
BART police had been called to Oakland's Fruitvale station January 1 after passengers complained about fights on a train.
Officers pulled several men, including Grant, off the train when it arrived at Fruitvale, and video taken by witnesses showed Mehserle shooting Grant in the back as another officer kneeled on the man.
Investigators have not said whether Grant was involved in the fight.
The shooting spawned public outrage and a string of protests that led to more than 100 riot-related arrests.
Thursday's proceedings drew an overflow crowd to the courthouse, with some would-be spectators grumbling that they could not get into the hearing.
Note: Ironic that this is such an outrage to turn the public out in huge numbers, but the ridiculous violent crime and murder rate on a daily basis isn't. I bet if they put as much energy in to this, as they do to there community on a daily basis, this hell hole would be much better off.
01-16-09, 08:39 PM #2
Old Joe Stalin had a point with "One death is a tragedy, a million a statistic". The media barrage we suffer daily makes it all the more relevant today. People, perversely, find comfort in those stats, with little regard to how bad they may be. They are numbers and numbers are easily ignored.
Those people in Oakland who were no more likely to see a shark than (whatever dead girl Nancy Grace piggyback riding now) have more distractions to pick from than ever. When this case is resolved they'll make their choice of escapes, point and say how glad they are that wasn't them as they find a new tragedy with a face from afar to worry about.
But just like they can point at distant wrongs, we must avoid the same trap. Oakland may be a great place to get killed, but who among us lives in a perfect community? As officers there are things to be learned here. That's another topic entirely. As members of a community the thing we should learn, imo, is tend your own yard instead of watching your neighbor's. Term's quite right, the people of Oakland aren't working to fix their city. Neither am I with every minute I dedicate to this story instead of finding what needs fixing and working to correct it in my own.
01-16-09, 10:14 PM #3When I used to be somebody (I'm center top)
"A burning desire for social justice is never a substitute for knowing what you're talking about". -Thomas Sowell-
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