Police Brutality in America - by Stephen Lendman
Across America, daily incidents occur, one of many the cold-blooded January 1, 2009 murder of Oscar Grant - unarmed, offering no resistance, thrust face-down on the ground, shot in the back, and killed, videotaped on at least four cameras for irrefutable proof. USA Today said five bystanders taped it.
His killer: Oakland, CA transit officer, Johannes Mehserle, tried for the killing, the jury told to consider four possible verdicts - innocent, second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, or involuntary manslaughter, jurors deciding the latter.
The Legal Dictionary defines it as "The act of unlawfully killing another human being unintentionally," the absence of intent distinguishing it from voluntary manslaughter. Many states don't define it or do it vaguely. Wallin & Klarich Violent Crime Attorneys say in California it carries a two - four year sentence. However, since a gun was used, Judge Robert Perry can add three to 10 additional years.
Because minority victims seldom get justice, especially against police, Mehserle may serve minimal time, then be paroled quietly when the current furor subsides.
After the verdict, it erupted on Oakland streets, hundreds turning out to protest, Bay Area indymedia.org saying:
"The actions of the Police in Oakland tonight (including dozens of arrests) show their disrespect for justice in General. Their heavy handed violence towards protestors just reinforces their total disconnect with the people of Oakland." It's as true everywhere across America, police acting like Gestapo, usually unaccountably.
Grant's family will appeal the verdict and is suing the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) for $25 million, his mother Wanda Johnson saying "My son was murdered (and) the law has not held the officer accountable." It rarely does for Black, Latino, or other minorities, no matter the injustice, civil rights lawyer John Burris, representing Grant's family in the civil suit, saying:
"The system is rarely fair when a police officer shoots an African-American male." Police brutality against them and other minorites is systemic, including beatings, torture, and cold-blooded murder, usually with impunity, justice nearly always denied.
While far from certain, the Obama administration may charge Mehserle with civil rights or hate crime violations, DOJ spokesman Alejandro Miyar saying:
"The Justice Department has been closely monitoring the state's investigation and prosecution. The Civil Rights Division, the US Attorney's Office, and the FBI have an open investigation into the fatal shooting and, at the conclusion of the state prosecution, will conduct an independent review of the facts and circumstances to determine whether the evidence warrants federal prosecution."
Systemic Police Brutality
An earlier Jones Report.com text and video account headlined, "Epidemic of Police Brutality Sweeps America," showing footage of police repeatedly tasering a student with 50,000 volts of electricity for questioning the 2004 election results at a campus meeting.
Other videotaped incidents showed:
-- a man victimized by police violence;
-- a former sheriff's deputy acquitted of voluntary manslaughter for shooting an unarmed man;