Racist Murder of Oscar Grant: An Update

Sign CloseupThe BART cop, Johannes Mehserle, who shot and killed an unarmed Oscar Grant in Oakland on New Year’s Day, has been arrested and charged with murder.   This is a rather stunning turn of events given the way that police brutality is usually ignored here in the U.S., as Joe noted in his recent post about the incident in Houston, Texas and the pervasiveness of police brutality encountered by emergency room physicians.  As I said in the original post about this story, and as the voluminous comments attacking Oscar Grant revealed, the current system of policing is premised on institutional racism in which some citizens are treated as ontological suspects, that is, they are presumed to be guilty of some crime based solely on who they are, particularly young black and brown men. Although some may dismiss Oscar Grant’s murder as merely a tragic accident, the fact is that his death has everything to do with his race, and the fact that this made him automatically “suspect” in the eyes of police.

The racist murder of Oscar Grant is less to do with the individual bigotry of Mehserle and everything to do with the systemic racism of policing in the U.S.  The racially discriminatory practices of a different California police department, Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), was the subject of an extensive study by Yale University legal scholar, Ian Ayers, in 2008.   Ayers summarized his research this way:

The study, which I wrote with my research assistant, Jonathan Borowsky, asked not simply whether African Americans and Latinos are stopped and searched by the LAPD more often than whites — it’s clear that they are — but the more complex question of whether these racial disparities are justified by legitimate policing practices, such as deciding to police more aggressively in high-crime neighborhoods.

We found persistent and statistically significant racial disparities in policing that raise grave concerns that African Americans and Latinos in Los Angeles are, as we put it in the report, “over-stopped, over-frisked, over-searched and over-arrested.” [emphasis added]   After controlling for violent crime rates and property crime rates in specific neighborhoods, as well as a host of other variables, we found the following:

  • For every 10,000 residents, about 3,400 more black people are stopped than whites, and 360 more Latinos are stopped than whites. Stopped blacks are 127% more likely to be frisked — and stopped Latinos are 43% more likely to be frisked — than stopped whites.
  • Stopped blacks are 76% more likely to be searched, and stopped Latinos are 16% more likely to be searched than stopped whites.
  • Stopped blacks are 29% more likely to be arrested, and stopped Latinos are 32% more likely to be arrested than stopped whites.

Perhaps in addition to “over-stopped, over-frisked, over-searched, and over-arrested,” we could add “over-killed.”   The study, released in fall of 2008, initially drew only silence from the LAPD which refused to respond.   And, when they did finally respond (just in the last several days), the LAPD chose to reject the reports findings, minimize the significance of the report, and deny the implications for reviewing its policing practices, by saying only “we live in an imperfect world” (according to Police Chief William J. Bratton).

This notion of an “imperfect world” suggests that the routine brtuality visited upon black and brown people by cops is some sort of unfortunate law of nature that it is impossible to reverse.    Nothing could be further from the truth.  This is a human-created system of inequality and it is well within the realm of the possible that human beings could dismantle this brutal, racially discriminatory regime of policing.   What we lack is the collective will to make it happen.    And, until we summon that will, many more Oscar Grants will be over-stopped, over-frisked, over-searched, over-arrested, and “over-killed.”

It’s my hope that the street protests in Oakland (Creative Commons License photo credit: NeitherFanboy ) will be part of a broader and more sustained effort to address the racial profiling and police brutality that are endemic in the contemporary U.S.


  1. dav

    Maybe blacks wouldn’t be over-stopped, over-frisked, over-searched, over-arrested if they weren’t over-murdering and over-robbing. But you never hear that in the “whitey is racially profiling us” sob stories

  2. Joe

    Actually, dav, Blacks have been overstopped, overfrisked, and generally overoppressed now for four centuries. By whites, who usually carry in their heads images of the “dangerous black man” even where there are few/no black men. Blacks are abused by police even when are they are professors/managers, and even where there is relatively little black crime, like in rocky mountain states. Why is that?

    Most Black men are not criminals, so why are most treated that way by so many white police officers?

    It is about the racist framing in the heads of too many of these officers.

    And, whites are way overrepresented among drug users in this country, but get much less attention from the police than petty drug users of color. Why do you suppose the police often ignore many crimes of whites — including those white collar criminals that have brought our economy into a near depression? ‘They get golden parachutes, Grant got death for no crime. Why?

  3. Seattle in Texas

    I am very glad the officer got arrested and charged with murder. Will he actually go down for murder? Time will tell. But I suspect the arrest and charge was not so much due to an obvious horrific injustice as fear of riots breaking out and the video being shown throughout the world…. And imagine if there was nobody there to record the incident? Cops would have made up some bogus story, their word would have prevailed over the witnesses, and the cop would have gotten off scott free. How many times has this happened in the past? And is still occurring today?

    Even the less violent every day, but heavily terrifying events that occur on a daily basis in the country? The oppressed communities are silenced and made invisible in many ways….

    Thankfully dav was addressed…so I shall say nothing to him….

    Nonetheless, very glad the officer was arrested and charged with murder. I hope his family pulls through okay. I hope a lot of things…but good news.

  4. AH

    Dav is ignorant.

    Watch the news, read the paper or a history book, heck watch COPS or AMW- it’s predominantly white males who are committing the most serious of crimes.

    There are good and bad people of every color.
    Police officers need to use common sense when assessing a situation, not color.

    Murder is murder, no matter skin color or badge. It’s all on tape, it’s evident Oscar was not in a position to cause harm or threat to any of those officers or citizens.

  5. GDAWG

    How those white males ‘overwhelmingly’ involved in serial killings and high school massacres, to name two. What do you suppose we do with them, so as to protect society?

  6. GDAWG

    How about those white males who are ‘overwhelmingly’ involved in serial killings and high school massacres, to name two. What do you suppose we do with them, so as to protect society?

  7. jd

    I read the paper today. In a small paragraph it talked about how a “six foot black male wearing a black hoodie and blue bandana” robbed the pizza hut man at gun point and fled through my apartment complex! The day before it talked of how two hispanic males abducted a girl from the mall and raped her. Thats just the past two days, every now and then, you will find some white guy who did the same, but its not the norm. Have you ever wondered what would happen if there was WET instead of BET, or how about a “white history month,” how about the NAAWP, or the best one of all, whites could call each other cracker, but it would be racism when blacks called whites crackers. WAKE UP! People need to realize that racism has done a 180 and now it sucks to be a white guy! It seems in this incident, that the cop did screw up and fired accidentally. My question is how many whites got raped, robbed, or murdered on the same day as this guy? My guess: about six times more, since blacks are 6 times more likely to commit these crimes. look it up at teh DOJ website.

  8. Seattle in Texas

    It sucks to be the white guy? Hahahahaaaa!!!! Please, give me a break. White guys…how many women have they murdered and raped of all races? Including their wives? They don’t get caught and/or charges are dropped too often. Go play ring around the rosey in your sheets with all your “so totally, poor me poor me, I’m so oppressed” retarded white power buddies. You don’t need a white history month when we live in an inherently white supremacist nation that celebrates white supremacy every single day and have done so since the beginnings asshole. And the DOJ information only reflects the inherent biases and racism of this country–why don’t you try looking at what you can’t see?

  9. GDAWG

    jd, we have white history for 11 months in the year, what are complaining about? And CBS, PBS, NBC, etc, are all WETS. And Remember European(white) is the ‘default’ (prevalent/ dominant) culture.

  10. Seattle in Texas

    GDAWG, so awesomely eloquently put, as always. But even with black history month how many white folks throughout the nation learn even the slightest bit of black history during that month? And further, the underlying white supremacy still circulates in many ways throughout the month, such as the use of the U.S. currency throughout the month, injustice in the criminal “justice” system, poverty, and so on. The nation still continues to fly its racist flags (WA for example…), keeps the statutes and monuments honoring brutal white supremacists who are celebrated as hero’s in place (school and county names after them too…oh, and an entire state…), and on and on and on….

  11. Officer

    You’re all looking at the incident wrong. The cop didn’t look down at a vulnerable black man and decide to take his life. Though handcuffed, he was still resisting. The officer, on probation and new to the department, reached for his taser to gain compliance. Unfortunately, it was right behind his gun. He drew the wrong device, and will now pay for his rookie mistake, but he was more shocked than any of you at what he’d done.

  12. actually “officer,” he wasn’t handcuffed yet, nor resisting…can you not do some basic fact checking, or just watch the damned tape, or listen to what the witnesses said?? the taser excuse is total crap: even a rookie knows the difference in weight between the two: about a two pound difference..and how do you know he was “shocked by what he’d done”? He never spoke to internal affairs or offered any comment, so how do you divine his views? Answer: you can’t, but you want to find any excuse for the murder of a black man by a white cop…convenient wouldn’t you say?

  13. Dennis

    Hey Officer,

    Why do these “wrong” actions occur rather consistently with cops killing unarmed black men as opposed to unarmed white men???? Why do these mistakes, errors, bad judgment, poor decision processes, et al virtually always happen with unarmed black men (and black women too) while they rarely happen with unarmed white men???

    White America since its very beginning has been socialized and programmed to see black men as sub-human objects worthy of fear, mistreatment, oppression and death!

    You’re the one that’s looking at this “wrong.” If you’ll look at the history of the US, you’ll see that precious little has changed. That is, if you can SEE.

  14. GDAWG

    Officer, one response. The idea of “personal responsibily” and one being “held accountable” for one’s action has been bandied about for some time with regards to some Americans. Does such sentiment extends to officers of the court sworn to uphold the laws of this country?

  15. Officer

    Gdawg, Officers are absolutely held accountable for their actions. The public perception that we get away with whatever we want is outdated. In the past, officers were able to do all sorts of things that would make your blood curdle, but in this day and age we have people “policing the police.” If you could hear the stories of what should be justified uses of force that are found out of policy for silly reasons, you’d understand the difficulty officers have to face making decisions, under the most stressful of circumstances, only to be picked apart by people that weren’t there. I don’t excuse his mistake. But that’s what it was, a tragic mistake.
    Tim Wise, you say I cannot divine his intent or thought process, despite my actual training and experience, yet you can judge from the outside that he decided to kill a man because he was black? Can you even hear your own hypocracy? The one thing you are right about is that the investigation is not complete. You jump to your conclusion based on the fact that a white cop killed a black man. Make no mistake. I’m not trying to justify what happened. It was a bad shooting. He should be held accountable. But it was a tragic mistake. Not malice aforethought. And as for the taser “excuse.” For your information, it’s happened before. A more experienced officer, with the taser strapped to his strong side leg, was wrestling with a suspect. During the course of a handful of minutes, he drew the taser three times, using it in it’s capacity as a stun gun, in an attempt to gain compliance. The suspect continued to struggle, and when the officer reached for his taser a fourth time, he inadvertantly drew his pistol instead. He shot and killed the man before he realized he’d grabbed the wrong weapon. That is why my agency insists that we carry our tasers on our support side. If you doubt this is possible, take a self defense course, then get in a real fight. See if you can perform as well in a real situation as you did in class.

  16. GDAWG

    Officer; Sean Bell.
    Secondly, what would happen to acvilian with a legal permit to carry an firearm. Who happened to be stopped and frisked by a cop and the permitted gun is found. The officer bacls off and ask the gun owner to produce the permit for the firearm the civilian, but instead, he pulls his gun and it “accidently” discharges and kills the cop. What do you think, legally, would happen to the civilian, if he survives the scenanrio, in the first place?

  17. GDAWG

    Sorry, better version.
    Officer; Sean Bell.
    Secondly, hypothetically, what if a civilian with a legal permit to carry an firearm, who happened to be stopped and frisked by a cop and the permitted gun is found. The officer then backs off and ask the gun owner to produce the permit for the firearm, but instead, he, the civilian, pulls his gun and it “accidently” discharges and kills the cop as the cop was distracted!— What do you think, legally, would happen to the civilian, if he survives the scenario, in the first place?

  18. Officer

    GDAWG, the stop you envision wouldn’t take place that way. When we realize a gun is in play, we take the gun away to keep anyone from getting hurt or killed. Then we verify their status/authorization to carry said weapon, and return it. I’ve done it myself, with a security guard. I also have cop friends that have been stopped. One particular cop was completely proned out. His gun was taken until the investigation was complete, and then returned. What I don’t understand is why you don’t see confusing a taser and a pistol, when they have similar shapes, as realistic, but somehow you hypothesize about someone mistaking their gun for a piece of paper. Google “M26 and X26 taser”, and you will see their shapes, and how they might feel the same in your hand as a firearm. Then tell me who you would believe, the guy mistaking his gun for a taser, or for a piece of paper. It would take a bizarre set of circumstances for someone to grab his gun, aim it, and press the trigger, when his intent was to grab his permit (which would be in his wallet) pull it out, and show it to an officer. You’d have a hard time convincing me that someone able to legally carry a loaded firearm would make such a stupid mistake. That would be murder.
    jwbe, I’ll name bullet points for investigations of people I know personally. These don’t make the news because it isn’t sensational when a cop lawfully uses force, but is punished for it.
    One: a suspect was believed to be armed due to his history and the fact that he always said he would shoot it out with the cops. When the fight was on, he dug in his waistband, as he himself thought he had a gun, but he was high and forgot that he’d tossed it. Officers thought they were going to get shot, and suspect thought he was going to shoot them, so an officer used the “rear naked choke” you see so frequently in the UFC. Suspect was uninjured, officer received a five day suspension since it turned out the suspect was actually unarmed.
    Two: Suspect knocks one officer out, and when the other officer attempts to engage him, he jumps in the police car and drives away. At the end of the pursuit, he tries to get the shotgun out of the car, and is shot by officers. Out of policy because the officers didn’t tell him to throw the keys out as he was driving away.
    Three: At the Mexican Embassy, a domestic violence situation flared up, and a man took his pregnant ex hostage, holding a knife to her throat. A sergeant had the shot and took it, saving her life. Out of policy because he was a supervisor and should have delegated the shot to someone else.
    Four, this one did make the news: Two coppers end up in a fight with a suspect. They get him on the ground, and get on top of him. He’s still actively resisting, and, in fact, tried to grab one of their guns. Per policy, that makes it a lethal force situation, and the officers should have been justified in killing him. However, they knew the department would crucify them, so instead they punched him a couple of times to gain compliance, and were finally able to roll him over to his stomach and handcuff him. The cell phone footage hit the news, and everbody went berserk. The officers were benched for months.
    The use of force is always ugly. Now mix in an officer with a whole bunch of rules of engagement. The gangster he’s fighting doesn’t have any rules, but the department wants us to check off a bunch of boxes every time we hit a guy. And yes, we should be able to explain our reasons for using force. But, for some reason, nobody wants to give us the benefit of the doubt. We always get crucified well before the facts are in.

  19. Officer

    Dennis. Sorry, I just noticed your post. The answer is, it happens just as frequently, but isn’t reported. It’s not interesting to the media unless people are going to protest. I, personally, was at a scene where a PCP suspect died as a result of injuries he sustained while being taken into custody. He was tossing officers around like poker chips. They tried the taser, they tried pepper spray, they tried bean bag. In the end, they used their batons to subdue him. They utilized every option they could to take him into custody without injury. Unfortunately it didn’t work out that way. Why haven’t you heard about it? Because the suspect was not black. There was one camera there, a stringer that works freelance trying to sell footage to media outlets. I stayed up all day, watching every news broadcast I could, but they weren’t interested. Their decision not to report news that doesn’t make us look like racists is criminally negligent, bordering on corrupt. I “see” things from the inside. You see what the news chooses to tell you.

  20. Dennis

    Officer. Nice try. It’s not only the TV media that reports crime. You should know that law enforcement agencies, i.e. the DOJ, gathers and disseminates statistical data that anyone who’s interested in doing so can easily access via the Web. It only takes a couple of minutes to Google. A cursory look at the statistics shows that fatal “accidents” or “homicides” are more prone to occur with People of Color than with whites while in police custody. You’re seeing this whole issue through very biased and defensive lenses.

  21. GDAWG

    Officer. Thanks for your responses. But my point was not that a gun be mistaken for a piece a of paper but that a gun is mistaken for a dark color or mis-shapen wallet. In this instance Amadou Diallo comes to mind. Just askj cops can mistaken a wallet for a gun. What if an armed civilian did and “accidently” fatally wounded a cop? With all of the circumstances noted, would the civilan be charged with a crime?
    Another example of law enforcement impunity as it relates to Black communities:(H/T to NY Daliy News) …. a record half a million citizens this year – about 80% of them black or Latino, a new report says were stopped and frisked.

    The Center for Constitutional Rights, citing NYPD data obtained in a suit, said the vast majority of those stopped and questioned in 2005 through June 2008 weren’t charged with any crime.

    In 2007, for instance, the last complete year of data, cops arrested only 5.8% of the 472,096 people they stopped (27,632).
    Stuff like this is mirrored across the US where our people reside. Why can’t ya’ll that’s this is a problem? Then again, perhaps ya’ll know it’s a problem and meant to be that way. Because we, as a community, don’t rate as full fledged citizens as yet. Hell it’s only been a few hundred years.

  22. Kristen L

    While the bickering continues over the details of the Oscar Grant tragedy, waiting for our attention are the larger patterns, as Jessie cites in her post, of African Americans and Latinos being “over-stopped, over-frisked, over-searched, and over-arrested” (and from other data we know this is not just a problem in Los Angeles). What are we bloggers and commentators doing about that?
    Understandably, one incident involving real people is more tangible and simpler to ponder than a host of statistics – in fact, from teaching sociology courses I am always struck by students’ nonchalance when we talk about systemic inequalities, but lo and behold, tell them a story about just one person, and they’re hooked, they want fairness and justice, they want to know why our society is this way. But let’s all try to keep our focus on the larger picture while we discuss this particular incident.
    Officer states above that now we have people “policing the police” – damn right we are. It’s our responsibility (thank you, Black Panther Party for Self Defense for leading the way). And it’s defensiveness, not honor, that makes police forces resent our questions, and yes outrage, that follow a major misjudgment or misconduct. We civilians understand as well as we can that the job is a tough one, but ya’ll got a problem with racism, just like the rest of us here in the US of A, and in your line of work, black and brown folks die from it. This basic fact should be part of police training going into the job, integral in retraining, and something police officers care to monitor and investigate themselves because they want to always do a better job as public servants.

  23. H

    God, I CAN’T believe there are still people out there who make the old “why can’t white people have a history month? why can’t we have our own separate schools? why can’t we have our own clubs?” argument. (If you can call it an ‘argument,’ rather than a low-IQ white supremacist diatribe.)

    Well, let’s see…..Because until the very recent past, black people were property, so their lives weren’t recorded in history books… they were not allowed to go to school…..It was a crime for them to read, for God’s sake. Anyone who begrudges black people one history month should be deeply ashamed of himself.

  24. a.

    I loved when Jon Stewart once talked about the end of february marking the end of black history month and the beginning of ‘white history rest-of-year’. So true. The part of Canada that I live in has such a rich black history even just looking at the underground railroad and the resulting communities, there are so many interesting things to learn about what it was like… Did I hear anything about that in school? I don’t think there was a single black person in any history text we ever had, and this was in the 90’s.

  25. Officer

    Dennis, if you want to talk statistics, look at the city of Los Angeles. At this point in time, whites are no longer the majority. Hispanics make up fifty percent of the demographic, with african americans coming in at just around eight percent, not even mentioning asians, middle easterns and others. There isn’t anything wrong with that, but when you say people of color are more likely to be hurt or killed, demographically speaking, that makes the most statistical sense since there are more of them than white people. Looking deeper, you also have to acknowledge that, intentionally or unintentionally, african americans and hispanics tend to gravitate toward lower income areas. Where you have lower income, you have more crime. Where you have more crime, you have more police activity. More police activity, more suspects that fight, and more people that are hurt or killed, including officers. You suggest I’m being biased and defensive, but your not looking at the big picture. LA, as well as any large city, is bigger than black, or white. There are plenty of good people that live in low income areas that need us there to do our job. It doesn’t matter any more what color they are, than it does what color the suspects are. And don’t just look at DOJ statistics. Look at census numbers.
    GDAWG. It’s still a pretty far fetched scenario. I’ll see if I can address it from a couple of different directions. For one thing, murder 1 requires “malice aforethought,” as in some decision to willfully and maliciously take a life. Without those elements, you have no murder. A case might be made for manslaughter based on the circumstances, but it’s not murder. That’s why so much emphasis is placed on whether or not a cop identifies himself prior to a police contact. If a man in dark clothing jumps on me, grabs my arm, and trys to put it behing my back, I will fight him. But if I see a badge, I’m going to cooperate. That’s what someone reasonable would do. That’s also why you see plain clothes officers put on police jackets prior to going into a house to make an arrest. Now, this black man that you envision pulling a gun and shooting an officer. There is no way you can sell me that he did not intend to shoot, as you laid out in your example. But if the cop broke into the man’s house, didn’t id himself, and had no badge or uniform, it might be considered justifiable homicide. It would have to play out in court most likely. Depends on the DA. It’s still an extremely far fetched scenario. And we also have to look at the shooter. Ok so he’s black. Big deal. Is he a gangster? A dealer? A shot caller? Let the investigation play out. Go sit in on the hearing if you want. But don’t convict the cop because he’s white. That’s as racist as you accuse him of being. And yes, a small dark object, in poor lighting, could be mistaken for a gun under specific circumstances. Take a friend of yours out to a poorly lit alley or parking lot one night. Give him a small black toy gun and a wallet. Have him pull them out quickly and point them at you, then see if you can make the right decision every time. Make it a little more interesting by having him say “bang” when he pulls the gun. If he says it before you do, you’re dead. As for your statistical questions, I believe I answered them above. Bottom line, it’s not black or hispanic people that get the most policing. It’s people in low income areas which tend to have higher crime rates. For better or worse, black and hispanic people frequently live in such areas. You go on to mention the people stopped to people arrested ratio. Ok, so the majority of the stops didn’t involve any crime, but crime only comes in two flavors. Misdemeanor and felony. Tickets are written for infractions, and wouldn’t be considered a crime. I’m sure everybody on this forum, myself included, has been stopped for an infraction, most of whom probably got cited. That wouldn’t show up on the statistics as a stop involving a crime. And as far as my responding to your qestions and concerns, no problem. I’ll keep checking back until maybe sunday.
    Kristen L. You are no doubt referring to the ACLU study of the LAPD. Statistics again. I’ve addressed those above, but you bring up some other interesting points. As a sociology proferssor, you ought to know better than to paint so many people with such a broad brush. I can only infer from your statement that you believe no police officers have any honor. Since police agencies are made up of so many different races, it’s not exactly a racist statement. So what is it? Elitist? Maybe it is a little racist, since most people on this forum equate police with white people. And no, we don’t resent questions. We’ll answer questions. I’m only on this board to answer questions for people that may not have cops in their family or circles of friends. What we resent is when people that don’t truly understand what we go through try to put us in a little racist box because they think they know what we were thinking when we were doing our job. And I don’t even resent your “outrage at major misjudgement or misconduct.” Rampart outraged me too. It took only a handful of officers to ruin the reputation of an entire division, and sabotage community relations for the entire department. I’ve lost track of how many people didn’t want my help if they thought I worked Rampart. And as for a major misjudgement, we have our BART officer. For Tim Wise’s benefit, I went ahead and watched the video again. From two different angles. He’s clearly fidgeting as he tries to unholster. For some reason, he’s having difficulty getting his gun out. The problem with that is that we know our ability to unholster quickly may be what saves our life. If our suspect already has a gun in hand, we are already behind the curve and need to draw down as quickly as possible. The academy ingrains that training into us, so upon graduation, many of us are at our fastest, most accurate, and most efficient point of our careers. It should have been easy for him to get that gun out. If that was his intent. Then there’s his reaction after the deed is done. He looks up at his partner, down at what he’d done, back up, and back down a couple of times. That doesn’t strike me as someone thinking “I just killed me a black man and I’m going to get away with it.” That looks like shock to me. It was a major misjudgement that he should, and will be held accountable for. But it wasn’t murder. You also say we have a problem with racism like the rest of the US. I disagree. Ours is worse. Not that there’s more racists in uniform than out. I would be willing to wager (not scientific at all, just my experiences) that there is a lower percentage of racist cops than racist civilians. What makes our racism problem worse, is that that’s the automatic assumption whenever a black person is killed. They tried that with the actor in Hollywood that was killed, until they realized the officer that shot him was also black. And as far as sensitivity training. I’ve spent more time training at the Museum of Tolerance than I have training with the taser or the beanbag. It’s most definately an integral part of basic police training.

  26. Seattle in Texas

    Officer, you’re being apologetic for a racist institution and for a racist cop. I saw an execution on that recording and I trust an unhampered recording from a bystander than I do the media, or police reports and investigations. You claim that it would be easy for a trained officer to mistake a stun gun for a hand gun is too much—especially coming from somebody who claims to be a trained cop. I don’t know if you are really a cop given some of the things you say… I know some cops and one happens to be an upper head in King County…a County that has its own history with police brutality. But then again, likewise I am aware of really the lack of training and standards this nation in general has of those we allow to become officers. My question is, aren’t police supposed to have their safety on when not using their fire arms? Didn’t the cop that assassinated Mr. Grant have to take his safety off of his fire arm before he pulled the trigger? In addition, he held the gun in firing position and fired from a distance.

    On a different note for those who argue that Mr. Grant was resisting from some folks. He had both hands in the air before he was taken to the ground. He was fully restrained. Anybody who is has a knee dug into their neck, both arms restrained, etc., on concrete, is going to move a little to alleviate discomfort—body naturally seeks to avoid pain and discomfort. Replicate the scenario and find out for yourself—then ask yourself if you are a danger to 3 to 4 officers….

  27. Dennis

    Officer. I have nothing further to say to you except this; and I’m speaking idealistically here. If I were a judge in a court that you appeared in, I would sentence you to become a “black” man for one year. That’s NOT possible you say? It was for two white men, John Griffin and Joshua Solomon, though they didn’t need to be “black” for a year. It seems as if this might be the only way your (and others just like you) eyes could be opened. Your vision is utterly hopeless, otherwise.

  28. Kristen L

    Officer, I want to restate my views of the police. I’m not on this site to demonize anybody, and I’m glad you’re here contributing to the conversation. When I say, “Ya’ll got a problem with racism just like the rest of us,” that’s a “we” statement – me, you, our society.
    This becomes really clear when you look at the research, and I’m not referring to simple statistics on things like population and arrest rates. There are some really fascinating social audit studies done in the areas of housing and employment, for example. (Here’s one that shows white men with a criminal record of an 18-month prison term have a slightly better chance at being employed than black men who have a clean record: http://www.northwestern.edu/ipr/publications/papers/2003/pagerajs.pdf)
    There is a veritable mountain of research – again, well-crafted studies, not just statistics somebody googled – showing preference for whites over people of color, most notably black Americans.
    When social scientists see such an overwhelming pattern, we label it racism, not because we’re calling all employers or all police officers or all white people evil. We label it racism because it is so clearly a pattern of unearned privileges for white people and disadvantages for people of color. And we wouldn’t be doing our job if we failed to share our research findings with regular people.
    I respect that the job of police officer is demanding and often unrewarding. But what would boost my respect is if police forces internally took on the job of dealing with racism. At the college where I work, this recently happened with the Public Safety department. Essentially, the Chief had an epiphany after receiving a litany of complaints from students of color and campus visitors of surveillance and harassment. At first she felt like her officers were being unfairly attacked with accusations, but after really listening to people’s experiences, she came to see that they had some real work to do in their department so that everyone will feel safe and protected. I couldn’t be more supportive of what they say they’re now trying to do.

  29. GDAWG

    “It’s still a pretty far fetched scenario.”
    Ah, Officer, had not NYC’s Amadou Diallo episode occurred, with his wallet being mis-staken for a gun, not taken place, then I would say my scenario was farfetched. It happened and, as such, to me it’s not so far- fetched. Secondly, perhaps the murder charge was to general, but depending on the jurisdiction there are various degrees of manslaughter, then such a charge might suffice. OTOH, if what Seattlen in Texas says is true that the officer had to unlock his gun from safety, aim, and fire it into Grants back- it’s murder!

  30. Officer

    Seattle in Texas. Be careful, your ignorance is hanging out. For one thing, yes, I am very much a cop. Everything that you hypothesize about I’ve been trained in and dealt with personally. Not only am I a cop, I’m a member of the most notorious agency in the country. I’m sure you know the one. Now how can you possibly say that the entire institution of law enforcement is racist? Does that go for the cops you say you know? I don’t know what you do for a living, but are all accountants racist? All plumbers? Teachers? Police departments are made up of individuals complete with their own faults, foibles, and eccentricities. Might that include a racist here and there? Absolutely. Just liks some cable guys, carpenters, and teachers are racist. I wouldn’t ever say that every cop is perfect so don’t you dare paint every cop as evil. As for this specific incident, you did not “see” anything but some cell phone camera footage of an incident you don’t understand. The truth is, you don’t know what you saw. I’m not apologizing for any racists, nor am I excusing a tragic mistake. But you are more racist than anybody you claim to stand against if you just look at some grainy footage and decide that you know what that cop was thinking just because he was white. As for the cops you claim you know, go sit down and have a discussion with them about the taser, racism, and law enforcement. Don’t decide that you know what they’d say. The M26 taser is about the size of a bulky .45 pistol. The x26 is smaller, but still similarly shaped. It’s an easy mistake to make under stressful circumstances. And a tragic one. And you want to know my pedigree? Seven months in the academy, eight years in the field, self defense instructor, taser instructor, driving instructor, and rifle cadre. I’ve been swung on, shot at, pepper sprayed,and tasered. I’m also a lifelong martial artist, and have won every single fight without even hitting anybody. I’ve had one friend killed in the line of duty, and another standing next to me when he was shot down. Thankfully, that second officer survived. I think I’m qualified to speak here. So in answer to your safety question, it varies from agency to agency. Some leave their safety on when the weapon is holstered. But they train to automatically sweep their thumbs up to disengage it every time they unholster. You don’t take the safety off when you make the decision to shoot. It’s way too late then. Bullets are coming toward you, but your safety’s on? That’s not healthy for officers. As soon as it comes out of that holster, the safety is off. My agency consideres the safety on as a malfunction. We don’t even call it a safety, it’s a decocker. We only use it to take the weapon from single action to double action, as in decocking the hammer. When it’s in the holster, the decocker/safety is off. Then there are some agencies that carry weapons that don’t even have safeties. The glock is becoming more and more popular, and there is nothing to disengage or decock. One device that does have a safety that you might be interested in? The taser. It’s shaped exactly like the safety of a pistol. His thumb would have instinctively swept the safety up, even if he didn’t have it engaged in the holster, and it would have felt exactly the same as he was expecting the taser to feel. Horrible mistake, yes. A mistake I don’t try to excuse, condone, or ignore. Murder? No. Now if you want to argue about something, it’s the level at which the taser is used. Some agencies, like mine, only deploy the taser when the suspect is “aggressive/combative”, as in, the fight is on, or immediately about to start. Most agencies, apparently BART, keep it at the uncooperative level. As in your suspect isn’t trying to hurt you, but he isn’t allowing himself to be taken into custody. Despite your belief, that is something that happens, frequently, with four or more officers on top of a suspect. I even had one suspect, a gangster that had pointed a gun at a family then led us in a pursuit and a foot pursuit, actively tell us he wouldn’t cooperate. As one officer was telling him, “stop resisting,” he answered, “F— you! I’m resisting!” That was with three of us on him. Officers have the right to use force to overcome resitance, effect arrest, or prevent escape. Given these guidelines, if that was their taser policy (which I’m only hypothesizing, but from a position of knowledge) that was the appropriate time to deploy.
    Dennis. You want me to be black for a year? Been there. Done that. 33 times. I’ve got a black dad, a black mom, a black sister, and an entier clan of black folk back in Brooklyn. New York, not Missouri. Honestly, I have to thank you Dennis. For saying what I’ve been waiting for somebody to say. I believe many people on this forum assumed I was white, just because I’m a cop. I guess those that made that assumption, including you, also had me pegged as a racist. I guess now I’m a self loather huh? But it’s not just me. My agency is approximatley 12% black, and policing a population that is about 8% black. You can’t accuse us of not understanding, not being able to see, because our race blinds us. We are you. If anything, we are overrepresented in my agency. I’m not the hopeless one Dennis. You’re the one that imagines insurmountable obstacles in your path. You defeat yourself. Nobody else has to.
    Kristen L. Thank you. You can probably see that I don’t excuse racism when and where it exists, and I don’t pretend it doesn’t exist in law enforcement. My problem is people that don’t understand what we do acting like they do understand, then painting us with a broad brush. Have you heard? Apparently I’m a white guy.
    GDAWG. I don’t know if I made myself clear enough in my earlier posts. The far fetched scenario was the first one you laid out. A man reaches for his permit, grabs his gun by mistake, and rather then releasing it and locating his piece of paper, he, stupidly, pulls it out and accidentally shoots a cop. That is extremely far fetched. But I did acknowledge that a wallet, or a cellphone, or any other small black or silver object, could be mistaken for a weapon, and lethal force would be utilized. I was serious about that excercise I mentioned above. Give it a shot.

  31. Seattle in Texas

    Whoah, I struck a nerve with a guy who has a serious inferiority complex and claims to be a fucking cop and black on top of it…bring me some more laughs, please….

  32. GDAWG

    Officer, finally your explanation for the humongous stop and frisk by nypd ring hollow. No where in the report does it mention that summons were issued. The fact is some people based on their ethnicity are over policed to put it politically correct. Nothing more nothing less. And that is a problem. I personally think it’s a case for the international world court or Geneva. I feel if the new POTUS was to come to NYC as a civilian he would S & F because of the shade of his skin alone Period. And that is a problem!

  33. GDAWG

    Officer: FYI!
    H/T to the Center for Constitutional Rights: ” The report analyses nearly 1,600,000 NYPD stops of New Yorkers over a period of 3.5 years. From 2005 to 2008, approximately 80 percent of total stops made were of Blacks and Latinos, who comprise 25 percent and 28 percent of New York City’s total population, respectively. During this same time period, only approximately 10 percent of stops were of Whites, who comprise 44 percent of the city’s population.

    Results show that Blacks and Latinos are significantly more likely to be stopped by the police than Whites; that Blacks and Latinos are more likely to be frisked after a NYPD-initiated stop than Whites; and that Blacks and Latinos are more likely to have physical force used against them during a NYPD-initiated stop than Whites. Yet the rates of summons and arrests from all stops is not only extremely low, but nearly the same across racial categories.”

  34. Officer

    Dennis. A white racial frame-set? What does that even mean? I “think white?” I guess, to “think black,” I have to feel constantly oppressed. Maybe I have to be poor? Should I have a record too? After all, police should be stopping me for no reason and putting me behind bars. If that’s not happening, then maybe I’m not black enough. I don’t know what you’re looking for in a “black” frame of referrence, but I was born to unmarried parents who wed a few years later. Both of them had their fathers walk out on them. During my childhood, what welfare didn’t cover, my parents stole to feed me and my sister. Then, through a series of good decisions, they got us out of the inner cities and into suburbia. Low crime areas, where, despite being black, I managed to conduct my daily life without being unjustifiably stopped by the police. They got me once, for driving around and throwing eggs at people, but they let me go. I never once got beaten or shot. Not even handcuffed. Might have gone differently had I not cooperated. As I explained before, it’s not the racial demographic that dictates high or low levels of police activity. It’s the level of crime. Where you have low income, you have high crime. High crime, lots of cops. For one reason or another, many of us, black people, gravitate toward these low income areas. Living where I do, not a rich area but low crime levels, I’ve been stopped maybe twice in the last ten years. For traffic violations. Didn’t get searched, frisked, or arrested. And one more thing. You never stated that I was white, but don’t pretend that you didn’t think I was. You can try to lie to us, though I get lied to by professionals, but you can’t lie to yourself. You refer me to two “other” white guys as an example of how I could be black for a year, but you want me to believe you didn’t think I was white. Don’t be silly. It’s easy for you to find racism wherever you look. You are a racist.
    Seattle in Texas. I have the inferiorty complex, when you’ve run out of anything meaninful to say? I’ve got nothing to be insecure about. I’ve laid out facts, not opinion. I’ve cited experience and training, not conjecture. I’ve made a compelling case for what’s real, rather than arguing with emotions. You, on the other hand, start with what you want to believe, then argue backwards from there. Do you know what the difference between ignorance and stupidity is? Ignorance is a lack of knowledge. I’ve done what I could to bestow a level of knowledge upon you by addressing your questions and concerns. Stupidity is a stubborn refusal to learn. Guess where you fall. Without seeing me face to face, I can’t prove to you that I’m black, though it’s racist of you to assume I’m not just because I don’t agree with you. But there’s an easy way for you to find out that I’m a cop. You said it yourself. You, “know some cops.” If that’s true have any or all of them read what I’ve said. They’ll tell you. But you can’t do that can you? You don’t have any cops close enough to you to ask questions. That’s why you wallow in your lack of understanding. You don’t know any better. You are no longer worth my time.
    GDAWG. From the fact that the report doesn’t mention that tickets were written, you extrapolate, that none were? Follow that logic. An entire agency not writing a single ticket during any length of time does not make sense. That’s one complaint everybody has about cops. We’re always writing tickets all the time. The study doesn’t mention them because it wasn’t interested in them. It was more interested in implying that cops are racist. It’s easier to do that when you imply that no legal reason existed for the stop, and no legal action was taken following it. Now, even though you can see my distrust of statistics, let’s talk about the numbers you brought up. Blacks and hispanics comprising 25 and 28 percent of New York respectively, may initially seem bad if they make up 80 percent of the police stops, but you have to look further. You’re totalling the stops, but not the demographic. Blacks and hispanics, together, make up 53 percent of the population, with whites coming in at 44. Again, whites aren’t the commanding majority any more. There are still a preponderance of stops on people of color, but it’s not quite so overwhelming. Especially when you take into account the points I made above about high crime areas. We aren’t going to stop as many people, regardless of race, where there are fewer crime complaints.
    Everybody. I’ve come to realize that this forum has become something other than what most of you come here for. This isn’t so much a discussion as it is a commiseration. Nothing particulary wrong with that. I commiserate with people that share my own views too. Be that as it may, this is becoming too time consuming. I’ve said my piece about the last round, so you all have one more shot at me. If you have any more questions or comments, that you actually intend for me to see, go for it. I’ll post again on monday night, and after that you can have your forum back.

  35. jwbe

    Officer, as far as I understand you say that racial profiling doesn’t exist.
    How many white people have been shot by police out of the blue or tasered 9 times like Mr. Pikes who then died?

  36. GDAWG

    Officer, please see my earlier post with the data from the report from the CCR, or go to the web site. Because, in fact, the report does include not only arrests but summons written as well. As such, the stops/frisks were still overwhelmingly “unwarranted.” Since you are in NYC, what happened to the two white cops who were accused of driving thru Harlem with a Blacks doll’s head on the antenna of their patrol car?

    Finally, are the safeties on the tasers and glocks mirrored or similar? If so, your explanation that the murder of Grant was accidental may hold water. Otherwise……

  37. Dennis

    How ironic, “Officer” that you would come spend time on the very web-site that would offer your brain glimpses (epiphanies) of truth, but nonetheless you insist in remaining in your deluded, if not deliberately foolish, blindness. Since you seem not to know what a white racial frame set is – perhaps you may know what an Oreo cookie is?? But if you don’t, check out a definitionary, and while you’re you at it, look up the word “strawman” as that seems to be one of your most favored methods of dealing with truth. Goodbye little Rush Limbaugh, Jr.. (LOL) aka “Officer.” I’ll look forward to seeing you in the media. You probably already know that the racists (white supremacists) simply love people like you. I wish you well. Really. 🙂

  38. Seattle in Texas

    Person who claims to be an officer—I need not justify anything I say, nor carry on a dialogue with somebody of whose authority I would not legitimate—regardless of skin color. I know enough to know that either you are not a cop, or, you’re a crooked cop who as one of my black friends said after reading your posts (who grew up in a ‘ghetto’ and around ‘gangsters’), “if he is, he wears a fuckin sheet. I don’t think he’s one, but he probably knows one real well though. And he ain’t black because” and he went on to give a couple of reasons why which I won’t share. While he too was largely able to avoid a criminal record, he was never able to escape DWB’s, police harassment, mistreatment, terrorism, etc., only to be let go. And no, I’m not going to share what I know with you because I’m not going to give you information that would assist you in running around on internet sites posing as an “officer” to the general public. Even more, a “black officer.” FYI, a very good, black police officer and his family happens to be a close friends of my family, and a higher official in King County is a family member. And, certainly know other officers of different ranks. Though the bottom line is, who I know, what I know, my identity, my own knowledge, experiences, and credentials are none of your business. There are some very, very good police officers out there…and there are far too many, such as you, who should not be in that profession if you really are. The criminal justice system is need of massive reform—and the officers of whom I happen to know, agree. The poor and disproportionately black males are too often “criminalized” in this nation. Too often they are unjustly stigmatized with the label of a “criminal” which disenfranchises them, keeps them from going to college, keeps them from entering into otherwise potential professions of their choice, etc. No different than Eugenic practices earlier in the century—it’s an extension of that. Our prisons fit the very definition of what the dictionary defines as a “concentration camp”: a guarded compound for the detention or imprisonment of aliens, members of ethnic minorities, political opponents, etc., esp. any of the camps established by the Nazis prior to and during World War II for the confinement and persecution of prisoners. (notice they used “Nazis from WWII as an example so we automatically think of the most extreme widely know example in history…it protects and separates “Us” (Americans) from “Them” (Nazis) so we can remind ourselves that we as a nation are superior, etc. and it puts an extreme version that involves extermination in our minds so we can excuse our own acts of inhumanity that don’t quite involve extermination…just one step under…we are taught concentrations camps involve extermination and that is false…). Those who aren’t confined to prisons are disproportionately confined to ghettos—either way, out of mind and out of site for the privileged in this nation. Including, their oppression, pain, and suffering, and blocked opportunities due to be ongoing victims of systemic racism in a white supremacist society. And every single moment any of us enjoy a moment of privilege, it is necessarily at the cost of the oppressed.

    In addition, officers like yourself as you claim, should not be patrolling areas you fear and you don’t understand my friend. Especially when you see the public as dangerous and out to get you, you see the poor (particularly poor black communities) as inherently criminal, and generalize black males as “gangsters”, etc. (the word you used in your scenarios). And I can tell you, even cops in Detroit would disagree with you. A situation a few years back in a tough part that most white people won’t venture into. In an apartment complex, a neighbor was too high and with a gun, he busted open the front door of his neighbor whom happens to be white. They were friends. The guy was aiming the gun at his white friend and was tripping out, just too high. The white guy grabs his shot gun and tells him to put the gun down (he’s trained with fire arms, etc. all that you claim to have, but more than you), the guy didn’t listen and he fired a warning shot in the ceiling, the guy dropped the gun. Even while under the influence. About 15 minutes later several police officers showed up, a neighbor had called. When the cops entered, they told both of the men who were unarmed at that point with their guns drawn to, “PUT YOUR FUCKING HANDS IN THE AIR! NOW!” They were verbally assertive and aggressive. Understandably, they had absolutely no idea what they were walking into. While they used foul language, were verbally aggressive, they restrained both individuals properly (lots of force reported, but not excess force for the gravity of the situation), etc., nobody was killed or harmed. Very, very good trained officers. The man who busted through the door was detained for a period because he was just too high and got out a couple of days later. The other was not detained. No charges were pressed on anybody and when the guy returned home, he apologized and said he didn’t know what happened. It wasn’t a problem and it never happened again. I share this point because the main post above is about Mr. Grant who was murdered in cold blood by the police in a relatively safe public area. Even in the harshest of areas, officers usually don’t shoot their suspects…especially unarmed. If you’re really an “experienced” officer who works in “gangster” neighborhoods as you say, you would understand quickly your apologies for the officers are ridiculous. As an officer, you would be speaking much different; regardless of what you’re skin color happens to be. If the murder of Mr. Grant was not recorded, the cops would have made up some story and all of them would have gotten away with it and that officer who is a very real danger to the public would still be on the streets. You keep trying to excuse and justify the officer’s murder. I have been trying to put up examples of where officers were in very real potential danger involving fire arms by the suspects to contrast the injustice of the officers who restrained and killed Mr. Grant. You keep giving scenarios that aren’t even comparable to Mr. Grant’s situation to justify the injustice committed by the police who killed Mr. Grant. You’re from Stormfront or someone posing as a black officer and not doing a very good job of it. However, if you’re a real cop, you’ve finely demonstrated why our law enforcement is terribly corrupt and in need of massive reform. And we need go back to the War on Poverty and do way with the War on Terrorism. This whole nation is need of massive reform. And while you have suggested I get some cops on here to read your posts, I would suggest you get your Chief to read your posts. Get him to defend your claims and justifications for being allowed to violate constitutional rights, mistake a stun gun for a hand gun, maintaining safety on the gun and gun safety training in general, etc.

    While we are playing this, “I’m a cop” game…I might as well ask you what your favorite donut is….

    And since you claim to be black, but you don’t know what it means to be black *cough* (especially growing up in poverty as you claim *cough cough*), here’s something for you on being black that contrasts the stereotypes you presented above, Jeremiah Wright says: “The African centered point of view does not assume superiority nor does it assume separatism. It assumes Africans speaking for themselves as subjects in history, not as objects in history. It comes from the principles of kawaida, the second principle being kujichagalia self determination, us naming ourselves and not saying we are superior to anybody, we have no hierarchical arrangement. When you say an African centered way of thinking, African philosophy, African centered theology, you’re talking about one center. We’re talking about something that’s different, and different does not mean deficient, nor, nor does it mean superior or inferior…”.

    So there you go Mr. Officer guy. (By the way, you can get help for your complexes you know…you might feel better…).

    (and cheers to Dennis and GDAWG–all points are directly right on in my humble opinion)

  39. Why am I in the South?

    look officer whatever!!!!! why is it that out of millions of police officers in this counry you are the only dumb ass thats on this forum? Which only leaves me to say what kind of cop are u? Besides what cop thats “black” get on here defending a white cop that shot a young “black” man for no fucking reason at all if your “black” then im white, matters to damn who Grant was or his background still didnt give that cop a reason to take a life. It dosent take one second to look down to see whats in your hand your mama should be ashamed of your uncle tom ass or do you know what that mean? Come to the south to some of these “ghettos” and see if u get harassed we get fucked with constanly just cause they can, shit is so fucking unfair its probably more laws to protecting cops than ordinary people like me “oh” nevermind im “black” but dont worry america ill make it if i dont ever run into “officer” whats his face “ha ha”

  40. Officer

    jwbe. For one thing, I never said racial profiling doesn’t exist. I would never say anything so naive and idealistic. Most of you are missing the point of my engaging in this discussion. I have never once said there are no racists in uniform. I’ve never said every use of force or shooting is justified. I’ve never even said the BART cop should have shot Grant, as many of you seem to think I mean. The whole point of everything I’ve said is that you can’t assume that a white man is racist, a cop is racist, or a white cop is racist. You don’t know what anybody else is thinking, and you can’t judge from a minute’s worth of video footage. Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes before you think you understand them. Has anybody here been on a ridealong? Give it a shot. You may see what it’s like to deal with people that need, and want your help but want it on their own terms. Yes, it would absolutely be wrong for any cop to believe that all black people are criminals. That’s incredibly ignorant and racist. But what you guys are doing is the exact same thing. You live outside the life that police officers lead, yet for some reason believe you understand everything we are going through. You believe you know our motivations, and even our thoughts when we put on the uniform and go out in the field. You don’t want cops to paint black people with a broad brush, so why is it acceptable to paint cops with that same brush? True, a cop chooses his job, and a black person is born into it, but, given the choice, would you change that about yourself? You can’t be proud of your race if you live your life wishing you were another, so I’m going to assume that you wouldn’t change it. And do you honestly believe that no cop has a legitamate desire to help people? That every single cop in the country just wants to put it to the black people? I said in an earlier post that maybe that’s not exactly racist, since cops come in every color. But, as most people on this forum equate cops with white people, I’d say it is racism. And as for your actual question, no white people have been shot “out of the blue.” But neither have any black people in the modern age. During Jim Crow times, sure. But, today, the officer behind the uniform, badge, and gun just wants to make sure he goes home after his shift. He’s put in the most dangerous of circumstances, with little to no knowledge of the person before him. And something leads him to believe his life is threatened. Sometimes officers make tragic mistakes, and yes, they can become life and death in our line of work, but the human being in uniform is just as human as everybody else. And as I’d mentioned before, you just don’t hear about it when the suspects killed aren’t black. It’s not incendiary enough for the corrupt media. That’s not your fault.
    GDAWG. A frisk/search is not unwarranted just because someone doesn’t go to jail. You’re asking the officer to know, for a fact, that a suspect has a gun before even initiating a stop. It doesn’t work that way, it can’t. We aren’t omniscient, so if we had to know the gun was there, that would be alot of guns (from suspects of all races) that aren’t being taken off the streets. When we have another violation, or are dealing with someone on probation or parole, then we have our reasons for the stop. And the number of black people that don’t go to jail following these stops is actually a good thing. If cops are as corrupt as everybody here seems to think, I would expect a higher percentage of black people to get arrested, but found not guilty in court. In answer to your questions, I was born in New York, but I don’t live there now. I’m in another state. I remember the story, and I’ll give you an educated guess, but don’t consider it canon since I don’t know the actual disposition. The cops themselves said they didn’t put it there, and claim not to know how it got there. With no video evidence, it would be difficult for their department to punish them too severely. After all, it has to be acknowleged that there is a possibility that somebody else put it there. Could have been somebody in the community looking to get them fired. Could have been another cop, playing an insensitive joke on the first two. Could also have been a racist cop, that wanted that to happen, but didn’t want to risk it on his own car. Most likely, this incident caused their department to pay attention to them, to see if they have any other situations that might contribute to a pattern of practice. They probably won’t be fired, but they’ll be watched to see if this, or something like this, happens again. If it does, both incidents will be used in whatever disciplinary action is taken. And glocks don’t have safeties. Some agencies use glocks, but other common police weapons are beretta, and smith and wesson semi-automitics. Their safeties are exactly the same as a taser.
    Dennis, you didn’t intend to, but you actually brought up some interesting points. I know you mean to be derisive, but the irony has nothing to do with what I learned from being here. It’s what you refuse to learn. The irony is that everything you said applies directly to yourself. The irony is that I’ve received every bit as much racism from black people throughout my life as I have from whites. Sure, I’ve heard nigger, boy, and monkey, but, more frequently, I’ve heard oreo. It seems that, while I’m never going to be white, I’m just not black enough for some people. You think white people, particularly cops, put you in a box and make assumptions about you. But you do that for yourself. You have decided what every black person should think, feel, and believe. That’s more stereotyping than I’ve ever gotten from a white person. More racist too. You are guilty of everything you accuse everyone else of being. The sad thing is, your blindness isn’t a result of anything that anyone else has to do or say. You are blind because you want to be. You are defeated because you don’t want to win. You are ignorant because you don’t want to learn. “Truth” has no relevance to you. You have your petty hatreds, and are afraid to give them up. I pity you. You’re pathetic.
    Seattle in Texas. Let me get this straight. I challenge you to ask one of your cop friends if my postings sounded legit, and you went to one of your black friends? Interesting. How is your black friend more of an authority than your cop friends? You continue to say your cop friends actually exist, but you don’t want them in on this forum. I call bullshit. Either they don’t exist, or you’re afraid they will tell you the truth. That I’m not only a cop, but I know what I’m talking about. It’s also interesting that you saw fit to describe your friend as black. Does that give his opinion more legitamacy than yours? Are you not black yourself? That’s irrelevant, which is why I didn’t mention my race until somebody came out and pronounced his verdict, but just listen to yourself. Does the race of all of your friends come before their name? “This is my white friend Biff, my hispanic friend, Pedro, and my asian friend Lee.” If you define even your friends by their race, that’s more evidence of what I’ve been saying. You are a racist. So your black friend also thinks I’m not black for reasons you refuse to relate. More racism. The two of you have decided what a black person should think, feel, and say. There’s no room for anything else. It is no less racist for you than it is for a white person to say, “all black people are this way.” I think you are a professional victim because you’d have to accept responsibility for your own life if you tried it any other way. It’s easier for you to blame everyone else for whatever obstacles you face. Then, you don’t have to surmount them. It’s not your fault if it’s “the man” keeping you down. So your black friend was “largely able to avoid a criminal record.” So not wholly able? I guess his handful of arrests were not his fault, were they? Probably a racist cop. And blacks are “criminalized… keeping them from going to college.” No cop forces them to break the law. People who are arrested make the decision to crimanlize themselves. If a stop keeps a man, black or otherwise, out of college or out of work, its because he committed a crime and went to jail for it. If you are stopped, and not guilty of anything, and the cop lets you go your way, nothing shows up on your record. A cop driving by, and thinking mean thoughts about you, isn’t going to rob you of your future. American prisons aren’t designed to hold “aliens, members of ethnic minorities, and political opponents.” Are the above listed peoples present? Yes, but not because of those reasons. Prisons are designed to hold people who broke the law. Let’s hold the people that commited the crime responsible for their decisions to break the law, rather than the police for arresting them for it. And the hits keep coming. How are black people confined to ghettoes? Really, aren’t you overplaying the whole WWII thing a bit here? The jews actually were confined, as in they were not free to live anywhere else. The minute the police tell you you aren’t permitted to move to suburbia, then you are confined to a ghetto. Only then can you blame the establishment for putting you there. Maybe you haven’t gotten a high paying job that can get you out of there, but that’s not the fault of the police, the court system, or the goverment. I am one of the privledged you speak of. I live well. I hurt no one to get here, and broke no laws, but your racism won’t allow you to believe that. I had to have stolen something from a black man to get where I am. But if black men are so oppressed (since you won’t believe I’m black myself) what could they have that I would need or want? According to you, real black people have nothing. That’s the point isn’t it. If a black person rises up, and becomes a success story, he’s no longer really black.
    No, I don’t generalize blacks as gangsters. Apparently you did that. Reread my posts. When I mentioned gangsters, I was talking about gangsters. If you hadn’t noticed, gangsters come in a variety of races. And no, I don’t fear them. As I mentioned above, I’m a pretty decent fighter. There aren’t too many people that worry me. Couldn’t do this job if there were. You tell an interesting cop story, but I have to ask you this. Why didn’t the cops go in there and just kill the black guy? After all, he was threatening a white guy. Your story does nothing but illustrate my point. Cops respond to what’s in front of them. They were forceful because they knew guns were involved per the comments given by whomever called them. They didn’t kill anybody because there were no guns at the time. And I have more news for you. High at all is “too high.” This black man commited a minimum of two crimes, but no charges were filed. That’s inconsistent with your assertions that the system is stacked with racists looking to screw over any black man they can. Now, again with the word “apologies.” I’ve not once apologized for the cop that shot Grant. He messed up. I’ve simply explained that he did not decide to murder a black man. Murder requires intent, and that wasn’t there. And I would speak “much different” if I were an officer? All cops speak the same way? You really are ignorant. But you like it that way, so there’s no hope for you. And why should I get my chief on this post? I wouldn’t have a problem with him reading it. But you wouldn’t believe he was the chief either. Contrary to what reverend Wright says, for you, being black is very much about being deficient. But it’s not the world that gives you your obstacles. You are your own worst enemy.
    Why am I in the South? Despite your incoherant rambling, I will take them time to address a couple of things. I’m on this forum because I set a google alert for law enforcement discussions. I read some posts, and couldn’t let them pass unchallenged. And that cop did shoot him for no reason, but he didn’t decide to shoot him. I’ve explained why above. If you are lucid, read it. Not that you’ll ever understand it. I don’t know if you play basketball, but before you shoot, do you look down to make sure you don’t have a soccer ball in you hand? Do you check to make sure you’re using a bat and not a tennis racket at home plate? Do you verify you’re holding your playstation controller instead of your xbox before you enter in a combo? No. Once it was in your hand, your mind was made up. And you were most likely right. In this case, the mistake cost a man his life. But that’s not intent to murder.
    Everybody. Let me explicitly state this: I do not excuse or condone the shooting of Oscar Grant. I’ve stated it several times, but, for some reason, nobody is hearing it. It was a bad shooting. All I’ve done is explain how such a horrible mistake can be made. Everybody here wants to humanize Grant, but demonize the cop. It just takes common sense to understand that human beings make mistakes. And when you put a human being in a position to make life and death decisions, sometimes that human makes life and death mistakes. There is a huge difference between that and murder. I mentioned earlier that it would be wrong for any cop to say, “all blacks are criminals,” and I stand by it. But you can substitute the second and fourth words for any other group and description, and come up with a statement that’s equally wrong. “All gardeners are hispanic. All asians can’t drive. All cops are racist. And all blacks killed by white cops are innocent.” Everybody here is judging this officer based on one minute of video footage. I’ve given some suggestions on how you can understand a little more of what we go through. That will take some effort on your part, and, frankly, we all know that you won’t consider it worth the time. Here’s one you can do sitting there as you read this. Think of one minute in your life. The minute you did the worst thing you ever did. The minute you’d like to keep to yourself. That you hope nobody will ever find out about. Now imagine that minute recorded on video and posted on youtube for strangers across the country to judge. From that minute, can everybody from liberal San Fransico to conservative ruraltown USA get the full and accurate picture of who you are and what you’re about? You can’t judge anybody like that. The BTK killer was a prominent member of his church. Take a minute long video of his life and you might think he was a saint.
    Ok everybody. It’s been fun. But as I said, this is my last post. You can have your forum back, and go back to commiserating. I enjoyed talking with most of you. GDAWG, Kristen L, interesting discussion. jwbe, I appreciate your questions. Dennis, Seattle in Texas, Why am I in the South?, you guys are petty, vindictive, racists that keep yourselves in boxes of your own making. I don’t wish ill on you, but I do hope that you end up getting helped out by a cop in the near future. I don’t care what color he is though. For me, it’s irrelevant. Makes it easier to see him for who he is.

  41. Dennis

    Officer wrote: “You think white people, particularly cops, put you in a box and make assumptions about you. But you do that for yourself. You have decided what every black person should think, feel, and believe. That’s more stereotyping than I’ve ever gotten from a white person. More racist too.”
    Officer, it is IMPOSSIBLE for any black person or non-white person to be a racist. News Flash: Only white people can qualify as racists. Although you’ve answered the critical question by stating that you are black person, the preponderance of your written testimony suggests otherwise…and highly qualifies you as a racist suspect.
    Finally, I’ll leave you with a sage quote from James Baldwin, for you to munch on. “White children, in the main, and whether they are rich or poor, grow up with a grasp of reality so feeble that they can very accurately be described as deluded–about themselves and the world they live in. White people have managed to get through their entire lifetimes in this euphoric state, but black people have not been so lucky: a black man who sees the world the way John Wayne, for example, sees it would not be an eccentric patriot, but a raving maniac.”

  42. Seattle in Texas

    officer…ocfiefr who are you to sgugset irohnecnry when yuo’re the scik one hree…yuo’ve dntemtoraesd how you try to mnailuptae ratiley to srecw wtih poepel’s hades and how you wulod do the smae for yuor arpaneapt psofisoren wtih tshoe wohm you are sepopusd to be svirneg and ptorcentig…you chugat me, I konw ndooby in any law erenofnemocrt psfosoneirs at all and tehy hvena’t been idtuedroncd to tihs stie and don’t raed (credit to Stanford cognitive study)…perhaps the fact that people who are in fact law enforcement officers that do come on here aren’t backing you up, including your fellow officers on your force, and including your chief might say something???…Oh yeah, I did check and yes, yes, you are indeed a cop—I bet most people who have read your posts verified that too. I am indeed a racist, a professional victim, and ummm, oh! The Holocaust never occurred. And what else. It’s so true, there is really no corruption in our criminal justice system and the institution and all officials are infallible…hmmm, well and it is a perfectly rational claim to suggest a taser could possibly be mistaken for a hand gun (even when no potential threat whatsoever is present and they are handled differently…even with all the professional weapon training one could complete) and everything else you say…yeah…whatever .i.. ..i. You clearly ignored the updated post on Mr. Grant…

  43. GDAWG

    S i T: Settle down son. Setttle down. It’s all good. What we have is a perfect as per the officer’s justification of the murder od Mr. grant is an example of a peculier verison of the Stockholm syndrome. That is, where the person(s) become more brutal or harsher than those who reflect/protect the power of the system of governance, so as to be accepted into the fraternity of the “dark side”. Many can recall, as children or while growing up, Black cops, , who were worst or more viscious than any white cop we ever met. As a ex-military person simliar attitutes were reflected in some of the NCOs, but less so than civilian life. examples. In these instances they would be rewarded by vbeing patted on the head, and told,” yeah, you not like the rest of them.” Some folks really get off on that. So be clear what we are bearing witness to.

  44. jwbe

    ok, perhaps it’s just me but I don’t think it’s correct when whites, most of all those who want to be anti-racist, are trying to educate or to label Black people, like the term oreo. Are whites in the position to judge this? I don’t think so. Regardless if I agree or not with what ‘Officer’ says.

  45. jwbe


    If an individual cop is racist or not is not my point. America has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Not because American citizens are more criminal but because America incarcerates people in an insane high number, and most of all Black men. There are many reports by eg human rights watch etc. To be able to incarcerate a certain group, Black men, in such numbers, you must have a ‘working racist network’ and not just individual people. From police and arrests to judges etc.
    When you think about exonerations and look who is mostly affected by wrongful convictions in these cases, the past isn’t in the past.
    And I think that only in a racist country can somebody whose guilt cannot be proven be sent to death, like in the case of Troy Davis, with an America ignoring all pressure from outside, including the EU. If he will be executed your country will comit murder and violates international laws of human rights regardless how any American want to excuse this.
    Cops could execute Sean Bell with 50 shots and were aquitted and this is the network I am talking about. I don’t consider every cop as racist and I also understand that this is a job which can be quite dangerous, but I nonetheless believe – if there weren’t this network and cops like in the case of Sean Bell would actually have to go to prison for the rest of their life, police wouln’t be so likely to use deadly force and brutality. There are also tests, how quick cops are to shot a white person and a Black person and they are more likely to shot a Black person than a white person.

  46. Dennis

    Hello jwbe. I referred to Officer as an oreo, and aptly so (if he is in fact a black person). If he IS, he obviously has a “white” racial frame, meaning a most typical “white” way of viewing the world and non-white people, then he is indeed an oreo…black on the outside, etcetera.. And just FYI, I am black. I’m not a white anti-racist. As such I would hope I’m entitled to share my thoughts and my points of view every bit as much as Officer had to share his. Jwbe, did you think that I was a white person? If yes, what caused you to think so?

  47. jwbe

    Dennis why do you feel adressed when you aren’t white?
    I didn’t check who used the term oreo, I just realized how this thread is going, and Texas is white at least he said so when I remember it correctly.

  48. Ant

    Wow you guys are really just out to believe that EVERY cop is racist. While there are some cops who are racist [just as there are people in other professions who are racist] – it does not help to say ALL cops are.
    Hey DENNIS – it is very possible for a non-white person to be racist. Just because your skin is a different colour does not mean that you are incapable of being racist.

  49. Dennis

    Hi Ant,
    According to the original definition of “institutional” racism (i.e.racist system) it is not possible for a non-white person or group to be racist. Racism (white supremacy) has by its original definition a “power” component … the POWER to impose control, oppression and mistreatment in all institutions and all categories of people activity. That original definition has been watered down today to mean bigot, prejudice, reactionary, ethnocentric and that sort of thing by the white supremacists to confuse and obscure the truth, especially truth that reveals their true identity and agenda.

    Perhaps we should coin a new term or word that can be used in lieu of “racism.” It would have to be a word that depicts the group or people in power who labels, defines and marginalizes “others” according to their skin tones. Do you have any ideas for a NEW term we can use for that?

  50. Dennis

    Ant, to various degrees, all cops in a racist white supremacist system would have to be “racist enablers” (whatever color he/she might be) in theory and actuality, if you really think about it. They are the sworn officers, “enforcers” and “protectors” .. and serve their masters.. foot soldiers of the empire – card carrying members of the white supremacy club with a license to virtually kill and maim at will. The former officer who killed Oscar Grant got arrested… that he was TAKEN into custody (political/mob pressure??) is definitely the exception, not the rule.

  51. Big Sam

    I was raised in Oakland lived in the hills , went to Skyline high school , my family was upper middle class , yet when i went eastmont mall to shop one day i was mistaken for a co conspirator in a drug arrest , i was told to get down and had a gun pointed in my face, i was not hancuffed but 2 men (black) behind me were . They were standing by a tow truck and a car needing a tow , one even wearing a tow truck co. uniform .. This incident was sad and i think this could have happened to me had i flinched or not complied in a timely manner because i was scared , but the one thing that no one has said was that when that officer pulled his weapon thinking it was a taser or not would it not have crossed his highly trained mind to stop for 1 nano second and realize that he held that yong mans life in his hands, i dont doubt in those precious seconds that he felt pressured , welcome to being black , its may and i now live in Las Vegas NV, where yesterday metro just buried a black officer that was killed in the line of duty while responding to a domestic disturbance (his cruiser was hit and destroyed ) . I find it hard (but i do) to feel for this man , i feel for his family , just like i do for the officers killed in Oakland a couple of months ago , but you have to understand the anger and frustartion that you feel when you get stopped for a dim license plate light, (apparently the officer saw my plate) ,or even just the feeling that when you are at a light, accross the street or even on the same street as a police officer you have to worry , because of wjat tone your skin is , or what you might be wearing.. I have never been in a gang , never been in a serious fight or suspended from school yet i feel the same way that that young man felt when he pulled out that gun and massacred those officers at the mall . ( i don’t agree or condone it ) but i understand…. My heart even reading this story almost 4 months later bleeds for that young man that died at the BART station that day , i may have stood in that same spot on days goin to Laney college or going to San Fran. with my homies , that man meant that officer (s) no more harm then the crowd that quickly offloaded the train to confront the officers that were on top of that man.. And i forgot who said it but they made an excellent point , when i was stopped and arrested for a 4yr old traffic ticket(that even the judge asked why i wasnt cited out for it in court) i was stuffed into a cruiser by a 5’6 little white female officer that obviously had something to prove, while trying to maneuver me into the car (while i’m 6’2 + and 300+ , she held her hand on her holster ready to protect herself , because obviously i was a threat sweating crampong and handcuffed half in /out of a police car.. maybe its a just dumb luck that officer never had any of my many (theres many more) stories and i would never claim that all cops are racist and that all racist cops are white, all i know is that all that i have encountered negatively were… Oh by the way the guy at the beginning of the story that got arrested on the drug charges , he was white ….


  1. racismreview.com » Blog Archive » More on the Grant Case: More Police Racism or Brutality?

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