Sometimes at 2 a.m. more is lost than an opportunity to buy beer. Early in the morning on New Year‘s day in Oakland, of all places, a man named Oscar Grant was shot and killed at the Fruitvale BART station by BART police. Beside the fact that I was at that station 15 minutes before this shooting, there are a couple things you should know about the situation:
Dude was unarmed. I mean, come on! If you‘ve seen the videos online, you‘ll notice not only was he unarmed, he was face down with his arms behind his back. It‘s sad to still hear about incidents of this nature. You know, the kind with the unarmed man, face down with his arms behind his back being shot by an officer. Accident or no accident, from what I could see there was no need for a gun to be shot at or threatening anyone.
Some people think that resisting police calls for that kind of retaliation. Excessive force doesn‘t seem to apply to an officer who overreacted to a drunken man on New Year‘s. Grant was literally unable to harm anyone while he was handcuffed and being held down by another officer when he was shot in the back.
You can tell the officer was shocked by what happened the second he did it. His mouth kind of dropped open like, shit did I really just do that? He knows it was wrongful. But that calls into question his judgment and how prepared he might have been in using a lethal weapon.
Dude had a family. He was survived by his four-year-old daughter, girlfriend, mother and older sister. About 800 people attended his funeral. He was active in his community church and loved to fish. (According to websites).
Dude was 22 years old. As college students, this should hit really close to home. How many of us have drunkenly rambled a wee bit too much at someone? A friend, a rent-a-cop crashing your 20th birthday at 10 p.m., a boyfriend/girlfriend character; if you‘ve had a drink too many, you‘ve said or done something you‘ve regretted. All I can help but think of is one of us going home, out of it, talking too much shit and getting popped by a cop for it.
In Davis we won‘t have this problem though. We might get a good old slap on the wrist and the “boys will be boys“ spiel, but nothing similar to what Grant was facing even before he got shot; he was being wrestled and dragged around even with his hands up. Unless of course – well, this leads me to the next bolded topic sentence …
Dude was black. Now, I don‘t want to jump to any irrational conclusions about the intention of the officer who shot him. But in any uncalled for altercations between a white cop and a black victim, eyebrows are going to be raised. Unfortunately it really worsens racial tensions.
Emmett Till, Rodney King, countless numbers of black men around the country and now Oscar Grant, are all victims of excessive force.
Grant‘s shooting can‘t be compared to the horrific beatings of then 14-year-old Till and 26-year-old King in terms of brutality. But I wonder whether there‘d be any case against the officer if there were not video evidence of his crime? Even though there are already numerous videos of Grant being shot in the back, police officials say they need “time to investigate.“ This is true, I don‘t mean to suggest a hasty reaction, but the acquittals of the officers involved in the aforementioned cases makes me nervous.
I‘m curious to see the outcome of this case. Already theories are being thrown around in the media that the officer thought he was pulling out a taser against Grant. I don‘t buy it. There‘s a difference between the two, especially if you‘ve been trained to use both. Guns are heavy. You know when you‘re holding a gun. You know because you get a rush and you feel powerful. Those feelings combined with the assumed lack of judgment on behalf of the officer might have been the perfect storm that led to Grant‘s death.
An unarmed, 22-year-old black man was shot in the back while lying face down. I hope Oscar Grant and his family get the justice they deserve.
SARA KOHGADAI gets too emotionally invested in things that she can‘t fix. Let her know she‘s not the only one upset about this at email@example.com.