BART Cop Charged With Murder of Unarmed Oakland Man

Former Oakland Transit Officer Johannes Mehserle was charged with the murder of Oscar Grant yesterday. (Background here.)

If you missed the video of the killing, you can watch it here:

A news version is here. More at Alternet and here's an Action Alert at the Nation.

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    More scrutiny needed (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by Saul on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 11:07:46 AM EST
    when hiring these type of cops.  I glad they caught him.  They need to check the rest of the cops in his association.  

    The saddest incident I've seen (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 11:08:56 AM EST
    filmed in a really long time.  It is shocking to watch the video every single time.  Something is really wrong in this country right now, all sorts of police shootings of innocent people.  It seems almost daily.  And the cops down here in Bama........wow, what a bunch of Bubbas.  They love to make everyone feel intimidate when they walk into a room.  Like that's what it's all about.

    So sad (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by bluegal on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 11:22:53 AM EST
    What was so horrific was that Grant was begging the cop not to shoot him because he had a two year old child and the cop shot him anyway.

    Just awful.

    Just my opinion (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Pepe on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 11:33:56 AM EST
    but does anyone else find it morbid to watch the wrongful killing of another man? If that murdered man was a family member would any of us want others to be watching it for - God knows what purpose?

    I can't watch it myself... (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by kdog on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 11:37:24 AM EST
    the written description is bad enough.

    It's a double edged sword of sorts, without the video the cop would likely not be charged with murder, sh*t he'd probably get a medal.  Yet its basically a snuff film and I'd hate to think of people watching it and getting their ultra-violence jollies.


    Not my cup of tea. (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Fabian on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 11:44:20 AM EST
    For sure.  I'm glad the video exists as evidence, but I don't feel any desire to see it myself.

    I had difficulty telling what (none / 0) (#44)
    by hairspray on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 04:58:48 PM EST
    was happening.  I guess if the frames were stopped and analyzed we could see more, but it was dark and disjointed to me. i am amazed at what others here have taken away from this video.

    Yes (5.00 / 0) (#14)
    by CST on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 11:47:15 AM EST
    It reminds me in a way of this class I took on the holocaust.  There was a lot of media out of that time, but it's very painful/difficult to watch.  You feel really guilty when you do, but it's also important that you do so you know the truth about what happened.

    I couldn't bring myself to press play though.


    I can't bring myself to watch it (5.00 / 0) (#15)
    by Jen M on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 12:01:09 PM EST
    but good people (who have the intestinal fortitude) should, to be to get enough 'witnesses' crying out against this needless killing.

    The times we need witnesses (5.00 / 0) (#20)
    by Fabian on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 01:02:22 PM EST
    are when there are no videos, no photos, no recordings.

    not that kind (none / 0) (#47)
    by Jen M on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 06:48:52 PM EST
    of witness. I mean more of the necessity for a wide dissemination of the video to ensure enough publicity so that something gets done and it's not forgotten or dismissed.

    The last thing I would do (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by Fabian on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 08:21:01 PM EST
    is broadcast someone's death on video.

    The real problem with this kind of thing is that people usually don't ask WHY.  They say "Hey!  That's the Bad Guy right there!"
     assuming that punishing one scapegoat will solve the problem.
    It takes not a criminal trial, but a civil trial where some department gets the bejesus sued out of them for people to finally wake up and decide to take real action to change the way the System does things.


    The real situation (none / 0) (#51)
    by andrys on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 06:38:13 AM EST
    is to determine (and most of us do not depend on news reporters by now), to the extent we can, whether this really was done by a person with authority over us and whether it could have been avoided. What were the circumstances.

      I don't go to violent movies because those are done for entertainment purposes and we're assaulted with these and audiences clamor for something "more exciting" than last time, more creative displays of bloodletting.

      This was real life and there was none of what you imply since the victim was nearly out of site when the officer chose to pull out his weapon, except to try to see the position the policeman was in and how much or how little police reports matched what we can see.

      You don't see the person being killed, but you do see the officer and his movements and positioning.  His reaction to it does indicate inadvertent shooting born of outrageous panic and probably extreme bias on his part, to be able to even think of doing what he did, inadvertent or not.  He belongs on no police force and should be held responsible for the man's wholly unnecessary death.

      People die in wars abroad or at home.  We are told not to see the end results of our actions in a war we obediently go to fight on behalf of the authority figures, so that we don't come to terms with it on a reality basis rather than via text 'reports' told to us always accompanied by many justifications.   When viewing something like this for yourself, you can see just how little justification there may be (in my case, I saw none).

      I'm not one who depends on what someone else tells me if I can read or see for myself rather than rely on someone to tell me.  



    irrelevant. (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by cpinva on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 02:08:24 PM EST
    someone could reasonably mistake their Glock with a Taser, if that is the case then I think all Tasers used by LE be of the "yellow" variety such that they can't be mistaken one for the other.

    he had no business reaching for his taser either, so that excuse doesn't fly. since he wasn't actually looking at what he was drawing, it could have been day-glo orange, and he wouldn't have noticed.

    for the sake of discussion, let's just say he had pulled his taser, instead of his pistol. the odds are, at that distance, he'd have electrocuted him, instead of killing him with a bullet.

    either way, he'd still be dead.

    If you can't tell... (5.00 / 2) (#41)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 04:13:02 PM EST
    ...the difference (even in the "heat of the moment) between a taser and your service pistol, you have absolutley no business handling/carrying either.  

    DA setting up a riot (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by diogenes on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 12:24:56 AM EST
    By overcharging this case, the DA is setting up a riot.  Manslaughter or criminally negligent homicide is the likely winner here; by charging with murder, if a jury or judge only convicts of the lower charge, then there will be new riots in the streets.

    Grant was 22 (none / 0) (#1)
    by ruffian on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 11:02:42 AM EST
    I hate to nitpick, and Grant's age matters not one iota. But just for accuracy, he was 22, not a teen.

    Needless to say, I'm glad they arrested the cop. Seems like he should be charged and tried. I can't imagine what defense he can have for this.

    thanks, I fixed that (none / 0) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 11:09:57 AM EST
    and changed "teen" to "man." He was also a father.

    while you're at it (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by wystler on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 11:38:33 AM EST
    consider changing "Bart" to "BART" ... that way, it looks a whole lot less like a lefty Oklahoman being accused (no matter how much anybody worries about his misogyny)

    Violence is permeating (none / 0) (#5)
    by SOS on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 11:18:34 AM EST
    all of humanity. Like a disease that feeds on itself and it's running amuck. Corruption. . .

    The Great Plague.

    My Uncle used to say (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 11:24:19 AM EST
    that as we become more and more overpopulated that it would get worse and worse.  People in South Korea have much less space to call their own and they don't have anything like the violence within their culture that we do in America.  I wonder why Americans fail to see how culturally violent we are? Perhaps experiencing other cultures more would benefit us all.  I'm not saying that South Koreans are superior to us, but they have a few things I covet and would like to figure out how to have for myself.

    Asian cultures (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Fabian on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 11:42:04 AM EST
    have a different kind of social tension and different social problems.  The social rules and taboos can very strict and breaking them can incur serious penalties.  All of this is social, little of it legal.

    True, and much of what I did not understand (none / 0) (#31)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 02:50:45 PM EST
    And of course I'll never understand being able to sell your daughter into prostitution to square your debts.

    Read The Good Earth by Pearl Buck (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by desertswine on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 03:13:06 PM EST
    I know, I've seen video :) (none / 0) (#63)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Jan 17, 2009 at 07:57:20 AM EST
    They get wild.  I have to wonder though if more of our legislators cared enough about the people that they found themselves taking swings at those on the Senate floor who didn't.........would we have this much violence in our streets?  They have a strange justice system also, like first come first serve.

    As much as I generally think (none / 0) (#11)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 11:39:53 AM EST
    cops get way too much criticism here on TL, this particular cop is an A #1 POS.

    The deputy that responded (none / 0) (#17)
    by Amiss on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 12:23:09 PM EST
    back in August to the meter reader's call about something suspicious located where little Caylee Anthony's body was discovered has been relieved of active duty and reassigned to the "property room".

    agreed (none / 0) (#18)
    by Nasarius on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 12:49:39 PM EST
    In such a blatant case like this, it's really shocking the guy wasn't arrested immediately, or at least after they got back to the station.

    There's giving someone the benefit of the doubt, and then there's outright dangerous negligence. This wasn't simple abuse of power, this wasn't excessive force. It was just plain murder, and they all saw it.

    Here what may be... (none / 0) (#19)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 12:53:44 PM EST
    a very similar or identical situation, that has a very different resolution.

    Racial discrimination at work?

    While I have a very hard time believing (none / 0) (#21)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 01:15:22 PM EST
    someone could reasonably mistake their Glock with a Taser, if that is the case then I think all Tasers used by LE be of the "yellow" variety such that they can't be mistaken one for the other.

    Stuff happens... (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 01:27:54 PM EST
    I'm not sure it was a mistake, but not sure it was not either.  Looking at the video the cop that shot seems to be looking around with a look of suprise and "what the Hell just happened?!?!?"

    "Holy $hit. They told us in cop school we might have kill someone someday, and I think I just did it."

    The obvious isn't always obvious (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by roy on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 02:14:15 PM EST
    It may be impossible to confuse a Taser with a Glock when you're relaxed in a calm environment.  I'm not sure it's impossible -- maybe not even difficult -- to confuse them when excited, dealing with a (in some accounts) difficult suspect, amid a bunch of screaming people.  Adrenaline makes people stupid.  It's human nature.  Cops are trained to stay calm, but if he failed to stay calm and got confused, he may not have thought he was about to kill somebody, in which case it wasn't murder.

    I once confused a red traffic light with a green light and very nearly hurt somebody.  I've spent more hours driving than a cop spends shooting guns or Tasers in a whole career.  I was calm, attentive, and specifically thinking about the traffic light.  My brain just took a wrong turn.

    Not that I'm necessarily defending the cop -- for one thing, I don't see how Tasering the handcuffed man would be acceptable -- but if that's his story I don't think it's absurd.


    Great Argument (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by squeaky on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 02:27:55 PM EST
    For making Tasers illegal for police to use.

    I dunno (none / 0) (#28)
    by Steve M on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 02:33:02 PM EST
    Sounds more like an argument to make guns illegal for police to use (not that I'm going to seriously make that argument).  I mean, if you can accidentally pull out your gun when you mean to grab your Taser, you can also pull it out accidentally when you reach for a ham sandwich.

    No (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by squeaky on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 03:00:09 PM EST
    The police argument for tasers was that it would reduce the number of gunshot deaths. Since tasers have been in wide use it is routine to taser/torture suspects with abandon merely to gain instant compliance.

    If a police officer cannot distinguish between his or her gun or taser in the heat of the moment then the whole argument for using tasers in the first place fall on its ear.

    In this case, tasers were in short supply and the officer in question did not have one handy. Since tasering is at this point  reflexive behavior for police for the slightest resistance or questioning their authority, the muscle memory of all police officers will click into place. No taser available shoot em with a gun.


    Yes (none / 0) (#29)
    by CST on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 02:36:21 PM EST
    But I don't think anyone has every tried to "shoot/shock" someone with a ham sandwich.  It's not just pulling it out, but using it that matters.

    Maybe, but... (none / 0) (#30)
    by roy on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 02:40:55 PM EST
    A ban could hurt more than it helps.  I read about police misusing Tasers, but I also read about them using Tasers where they would otherwise have to use more dangerous means to protect themselves or to do their jobs effectively.

    I liked Abdul Abulbul Amir's suggestion of making police use Tasers with thumb safeties, or otherwise making the operation of the Taser significantly different from the operation of a real gun.  That way a cop has to not only grab the wrong weapon but operate it in the seemingly-wrong way in order to accidentally shoot somebody with the gun.  There are always tradeoffs though; we might see more cops intentionally using their guns when they would otherwise use a Taser because they are -- rationally or not -- concerned about the extra time and fiddliness needed to the use the Taser.


    correction (none / 0) (#42)
    by roy on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 04:22:13 PM EST
    Nix "handcuffed"

    One more thing (none / 0) (#24)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 02:05:15 PM EST
    Glocks have no thumb safety making an accident like this (if it was an accident) more likely.  IIRC, the Taser is like the Glock in that there is no thumb safety, but that may be mistaken.  If thats the case, they are both the same in that you just draw, point, and pull the trigger.  When the adrenallin kicks in, those motions happen with thought suppressed.

    IMO, the police should require a thumb safety on police pistols.    Now, I'm old and slow, but I can draw, clear the safety, and get off an aimed shot hitting a target at 30 feet in under 2 seconds.  The extra step of clearing the safety would make the action different from the Taser and may have saved a life here. Glocks are cheap to buy, but have other costs as this incident may prove to show.  


    I believe that is mistaken. (none / 0) (#35)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 03:04:51 PM EST
    both the older M26 and newer X26 Tasers have "ambidextrous safeties" ie., thumb safeties on both sizdes of the weapon.
    6. Ambidextrous safety levers with Safe "S" and Fire "F"
    The specific question here is whether the cop in the BART shooting carried a gun that had a thumb safety or not, since a Taser definately does. I suppose the physical design of thmb safeties must vary also.

    Then there is the question of size and weight.

    They're both around the same size, but a Taser weighs around 19 oz and loaded Glock can weigh more than 2X as much.

    From a gun blog:

    Glock 19 (stock) w/16 rounds of 124gn - 30.8 oz.
    Kimber Custom II w/8 rounds of 230gn - 44.7 oz.

    And for comparison,
    Glock 21 (stock) w/14 rounds of 230gn - 40.1 oz.

    But tell me again... (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by sj on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 03:36:20 PM EST
    ...why a taser would be "needed" for someone who was already restrained and offering no resistance?

    This sounds to me like an attempt to redirect the conversation.


    Well, (none / 0) (#45)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 05:30:33 PM EST
    it does not appear he's restrained - the reports say he was not handcuffed - and since they were struggling with on the floor him it does appear he was resisting.

    I believe that's precisely the type of situation the Taser is supposed to be used for.


    No reports say that he was resisting (none / 0) (#46)
    by sj on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 05:58:17 PM EST
    In fact, all the reports that I've read emphasize how he was urging everyone around him to keep calm as well.  From what I've heard, had the taser been used, the current would have been passed on to the officers holding him down.  I don't know if that's true, but it makes sense.

    I don't believe either a gun or a taser is necessary to handcuff someone who has already been apprehended.


    I don't know about any reports (none / 0) (#53)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 11:37:41 AM EST
    all I know is what I saw in the video, and what I saw in the vid was two cops scuffling on the floor with the guy. What he had been saying before that scuffle has no bearing on the scuffle itself.

    If the scuffle, for example, was the cops trying to cuff him (whether the cuffs were warranted or not) and him not letting them cuff him, that's probably the exact type of resistance that the cops are taught to use their tasers on.

    Understand that I'm making no judgement on whether they should or should not be taught to tase someone who won't let them cuff him.


    His resistance was said to be shouting (none / 0) (#52)
    by andrys on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 06:46:47 AM EST
    that they not shoot him.

      A man on the floor, belly down, that 4 officers can't
    manage indicates a very poorly trained and incompetent group.

      One report said one officer was sitting on him.  A taser would have gotten that officer also.  It flows.

      The weight and pressure on him may have led to body movements by the sat-upon.  I've seen 4 videos of this.  Not one of them indicated movements of a type that would require a taser or a gun except by the reasoning of an imbecile.

      Before they went to him to make him lie down he had been telling others not to resist and his hands were up.  It's a very disconcerting situation.

      And it's exacerbated by their DRAGGING his body along the floor after they realize their partnering officer had shot him while he was down and somewhat pinned.  The man was conscious enough to 'complain' that they had shot him and he had a young daughter.


    I think you should watch the vid. (none / 0) (#54)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 11:49:32 AM EST
    There were two cops dealing with this one guy.

    One cop was kinda kneeling on the victim's back and the other was positioned by the victim's head/shoulder.

    Kneeling cop stood up and backed away slightly from the victim and pulled his gun. The other cop rose up a little and moved back slightly away from his position by the victim's head.

    It's hard to tell from the vid, but it sure doesn't look like either cop was touching the victim when the cop shot him.


    it looks to me like the cop positioned at the victim's head was actually kneeling on the victim's head while the other cop was trying to get the victim's hands/arms under control and then the head-kneeler cop rose up off the victim's head just before the other cop shot him.

    Point taken (none / 0) (#36)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 03:08:57 PM EST
    Also there's this: (none / 0) (#39)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 03:43:22 PM EST
    Many Bay Area police departments that use Tasers - including BART - force officers to take precautions, such as wearing them on the opposite side of their strong hand and facing backward. This requires officers to reach across their body to retrieve them.

    And this: (none / 0) (#40)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 03:58:06 PM EST
    Standard-issue pistols for BART police are Sig-Sauer .40-caliber semi-automatic pistols, Gee said, and the department uses the X26 model Taser.

    A loaded Sig-Sauer weighs nearly three times as much as the X26 Taser and is taller by about 2 inches.

    Also, it does not appear that Sig-Sauers have any type of external/manual safety.
    Keep in mind that this is a SA / DA (single action / double action) firearm and as such there is no external safety.

    no external safety (none / 0) (#48)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 07:09:05 PM EST


    I personally (none / 0) (#67)
    by Patrick on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 08:02:28 PM EST
    cary the Sig 229.  Don't think I would mistake it, but then again, anything's possible.  Even Radly Balko thinks they guy could have made the mistake.   I'm pretty sure he's polar opposite of me on LE matters.  

    I am not defending this officer (none / 0) (#43)
    by hairspray on Thu Jan 15, 2009 at 04:50:41 PM EST
    but the history of the two men are quite different.  The only commonality they shared was having a girl friend and a new baby at home that night.  The BART officer has been described as an unremarkable young man who had gone to college and studied criminality and then had gone on to school for his job.  I have not seen reports that he was a "bad" cop or heard of any behavior problems.  That may come out in the investigation, but so far the whole thing seems like a horrific accident, not a vicious killing. My son was out on New Years Eve and almost got off at the Fruitvale station.  If he had, he would have been caught up in a major fight on the cars.  So far I haven't heard much about all of that, simply a  report done up in a good vs evil paradigm.  While the minority community hates the police, many of the protestors who tore downtown apart don't even live here.

    in how someone looks around after they shoot someone else.

    Sarc (none / 0) (#57)
    by Patrick on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 12:31:48 PM EST
    If you believe this officer committed murder, you have to believe that he formed the intent to draw his weapon and shoot this person with 10 cops as witnesses, who knows how many participants and bystanders, who were obviously taping the incident with multiple phones. I'm thinking there was a tragic mistake.  

    Same type of thing happened in Medera a few years back.  Difference was it was hispanic female cop and hispanic male victim.  The cop was never charged.  

    I think that this case will get a change of venue and that he'll plead or get convicted of a much lesser offense.  When that happens I guess I'll be going to Oakland.  Least the overtime will be good.  

    That said, this guy committed a mistake that police are not allowed to commit and are trained and paid well to avoid.  There's no doubt that his inexperience on the job and with the taser will play a roll in how this thing all shakes out.  


    I now think the cop intentionally pulled his gun but un-intentionally pulled the trigger.

    That could (none / 0) (#59)
    by Patrick on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 06:11:34 PM EST
    in fact be what occurred, the only person who knows is the officer, and he's exercising his rights to remain silent.  Which is good and bad.  

    For once I'd like to see Jeralyn act like a defense attorney in defense of the police.  I came here specifically looking for how this case was being presented.  I wasn't surprised and I won't hold my breath.  

    I'd like to hear how she'd handle the case, what theories she'd put forth if she were charged with defending this guy.   Tactically, I think exercising his rights was a good decision.  Realistically, it's what led to his being charged with murder, instead of a lesser offense, but then again it isn't the charges that get you put in jail for the long hall.  

    Once again, no matter how you slice it, he committed an error police are not allowed to commit.  If he intentionally pulled his firearm, he shouldn't have had his finger on the trigger.  That's drilled into cops from the first time they hit the range.  One big reason for that is sympathetic muscle contractions.  If there's no finger on the trigger, there's no chance of that becoming a factor.  

    If he mistakenly thought he had drawn his taser, then he let his decision making get clouded by the situation, mistaking a firearm for a taser is rare, but not unheard of.  Again something that is drilled into people time and time again.   Does BART PD get that level of training?  I don't know, but they should.

    Either way he made a poor decision and there were tragic consequences.  Yeah, I kinda agree that a jury should get to hear it, but I'm thinking it belongs more in the wrongful death civil arena than criminal.  



    I'm really not accepting (none / 0) (#60)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 06:51:10 PM EST
    the "I thought is was a taser" excuse. See my posts #39 & 40.

    I Dunno (none / 0) (#61)
    by squeaky on Fri Jan 16, 2009 at 08:16:40 PM EST
    He reacted in typical police style by attempting to torture the suspect at will.  That is common these days. The inhumane treatment of animals and treating people as livestock, is endemic.

    I think he was used to the comfort of inflicting immediate compliance with his taser, and because there was a shortage of tasers he did not have one. So he just shot the guy, reflexively.

    Tasers should be outlawed.


    Two problems with (none / 0) (#64)
    by Patrick on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 01:08:10 PM EST
    your comment.   First he did have a taser, it's documented on the films.  Second, they were newly issued so I doubt he had all that much opportunity to get comfortable "Inflicting immediate compliance" with it.   Well I guess there are more than two problems with your comment, but those are the two most factually innacurate ones.  

    OK (none / 0) (#65)
    by squeaky on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 01:18:12 PM EST
    I could not bear to look at the video but went on early reports that there was a shortage of tasers. Considering that you are correct makes an even better case for outlawing Tasers.

    Normally, officers who finish a shift give their Taser to an officer starting a shift. But with so many extra officers working on Wednesday and Thursday in expectation of holiday revelry, there were not enough Tasers to go around.

    It is unusual for police officers to mistake their handgun for a Taser, but not unprecedented. Tasers are similar to many guns, with a trigger that must be pulled, a safety device that must be switched off, and laser sighting.

    Many Bay Area police departments that use Tasers - including BART - force officers to take precautions, such as wearing them on the opposite side of their strong hand and facing backward. This requires officers to reach across their body to retrieve them.



    Using that (none / 0) (#66)
    by Patrick on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 07:58:29 PM EST
    logic everything would be illegal since humans make mistakes and misuse equipment and property all the time.  The automobile would probably be a felony to possess given all the mayhem they cause.  Of course I think your comments on the taser are a knee-jerk reaction to a tragic situation.  

    Hardly (none / 0) (#68)
    by squeaky on Mon Jan 19, 2009 at 08:09:43 PM EST
    After almost 500 deaths and what, tens of thousands of necessary zaps, aka torture, we know that the taser is no longer a weapon used only when deadly force is the only other option.

    It is used routinely as a weapon of compliance. No one should be tortured because of a lazy cop, no one should be tortured period. In fact these weapons have slid down the slippery slope and are used in elementary schools against unruly 3rd graders.