Oscar Grant III was executed New Year's morning. There is no way around it, no matter what the BART Police say.
Watch video of Grant being shot in the back by an unidentified BART policeman at Oakland's Fruitvale station.
Grant was face down and nearly subdued when the officer inexplicably discharged his weapon into his back. Without evidence of a weapon on Grant's person, the act was murder--execution style.
The local television newsrooms have been far more vigilant than the local newspapers in reporting the callousness of this act and the lame excuses and lies spokesman for BART have peddled since Thursday morning's killing.
The San Francisco Chronicle's article this morning shows a pro-law enforcement lede that reads:
BART's police chief asked for patience from the public on Sunday after video footage surfaced showing one of his officers fatally shooting an unarmed man who was on the ground on a station platform on New Year's Day, and after an attorney for the dead man's family said he planned to sue the transit agency for $25 million.The lede in the Oakland Tribune and its East Bay sister papers is decidedly different:
A BART police officer struggling to handcuff a 22-year-old man stood up over the facedown Hayward resident and fired a single shot into his back while a handful of officers watched, a video taken by a train passenger apparently shows.To some the difference may be subtle, but opening the article by allowing the perpetrator to urge some sort of caution provides the point of view of law enforcement when it is not deserved. Besides, reports of widespread unrest--although deserved--has not occurred in the Bay Area.
Even more egregious is that the Chronicle reporter allowed the BART police chief to rebut the images on the video by calling them "inconclusive."
This isn't surprising coming from the Chronicle. During the December 2007 tiger mauling at the San Francisco Zoo, reporters attempted to portray the victims as troublemakers seemingly getting what they deserved by taunting the animal.
The Chronicle's Demian Bulwa continues to peddle the company line offering possible excuses such as a high state of alert permeated the force that night and the officer may have intended to fire his taser gun instead.
The shooting of Oscar Grant III is a story that needs to be told nationally. It is every bit as appalling as the assault on Abner Louima in New York, the beating of Rodney King and the infamous 41 shots fired by the NYPD at Mamadou Diallo for merely reaching for his wallet.
Once again the leading economists and purveyors of Wall Street bull are telling us the nation's financial crisis is about to get better. Think again. Read my post at The Commonwealth Club of California's blog.