I have been following this issue since it happened and did a piece on racial bias and police training. I am glad to see that there will be adequate coverage of the trial so that the Oakland community can be better informed and more able to respond as it progresses. Here is my article: www.eastbayexpress.com/ebx/ArticleArchives?section=&category=&year=&feature=&keywords=&author=1317660
I'm glad you are covering this important story, but I don't see the back story leading up to the trail and need to get caught up. I haven't seen any video embeds of the incident, which from about four different angles clearly shows what happened nor an overview. In any event, this abuse of authority is not an isolated incident: http://www.PhotographyisNotaCrime.org
Workin' on it! Will get it up in day or so; thanks!
Yo, Thandi! Great job so far! I've watched a few of these police atrocity cases in person, and I've noticed a pattern in the jury selection process: Prospective jurors with a bias against the police generally admit to it, and wind up being excused for cause. Prospective jurors with a bias in favor of the police generally deny it (some, because they're unaware; others, because they're lying). Prosecutors of police atrocity cases generally don't really want to win, so they connive in the process. The result, with a high degree of consistency, is a jury heavily biased in favor of the defendant. I'm not too worried about that happening in this case, partly because this particular prosecutor seems to be doing an honest job and partially because the judge is too sharp and too proud of his craftsmanship to allow it. The questionnaires will also help. Still, it's something to watch for. The community ought to be alerted if it happens.
Dear Thandisizwe, I am an Oakland resident and reporter for the Laney Tower (a community college paper in Oakland). I'm not sure how KPFK is in LA, but here at KFPA they have the theory that because the mainstream media (ABC, NBC, FOX, CNN...etc) are biased that they must "represent the people." From what I understand as a lifelong resident of the Bay Area and attendee of a public high school I assume they mean disadvantaged minorities, and other similar populations. I can see the value (as much as I can not being a part of these groups) in this logic but implore you not to use it in your coverage of this trial. Oakland is struggling through a "cops are genocidal killers, Lovelle Mixon was a hero," and "police are heroes" debate. Please do your best to be fair, and balanced (not like Fox) and give the villain on honest hearing. I know people look for heroes in their struggles, and villains to blame but I don't believe this serves progress in the end. If you are to be truly independent, get the public the story about what is really happening. Independent does not mean an advocate for the voiceless. That is not independence, it is advocacy journalism, and it can be done by those who do not claim independence. Thank you, Sincerely, Ryan Ariel Simon
Dear Ryan: Thank you for your comments. Unfortunately, I am not quite sure what you are referring to. I have reported on the events that have unfolded inside of the courtroom here in Los Angeles as close to verbatim as possible. Those reports should be marked clearly as "reports" or as "news." Elsewhere, I have written my opinion, my analysis and my commentary of the facts as represented by testimony in the courtroom and the various legal briefs that have been filed. In addition to utilizing the facts in my writing, I have also relied on my lived experience of being a Black woman in a white supremacist society; a society whose media does not consider the costs of white supremacy on people of color as being "newsworthy"; a society whose media all too often chooses "spokespersons" for people of color rather than letting those same people of color speak for themselves. I am both independent and an advocate. My reporting on the facts of this case will remain exactly that: the facts of the case, as represented by the testimony in court and the various briefs and motions that have been filed and will be filed. And when I can, I will also give my two cents' worth on what I believe the implications of those facts are. Thanks again for writing - and reading and watching! Thandi
Thank you for your response, good luck and I look forward to reading your accounts and perspectives. - Ryan
With regard to Mehserle's statement right after the shooting, as reported by Pirone, that Mehserle had thought Grant was reaching for a gun, my take on it is that Mehserle had learned, in his informal training by Pirone and other experienced cops, that that's the safest thing for a cop to say after shooting an unarmed man; hence it signifies nothing about Mehserle's state of mind at the time of the shooting. The utterance is inconsistent with Mehserle's reported announcement of his intention to Tase Grant, and it's incosnistent with his looking away from Grant and at his holster to draw the gun. It'll be interesting to see what, if anything, the lawyers make of it.
Thanks Avram! I had left that utterance out, but I corrected and updated the story and its in there now!