BART PD – Again

It’s been two years since Johannes Mehserle shot Oscar Grant on a BART platform here in the Bay Area.  If you don’t live in these here parts, you may very well have heard about the incident anyway as it gained quite a bit of media attention.  If you need a refresher, here’s my post from a year ago about the trial and here’s my post about the incident two weeks after it happened.

*Side note: I totally called the outcome of the trial, by the by.  I didn’t agree with it in the least, but I knew it was where they were going to land.  Justice isn’t blind, kids.  She just didn’t want more lawless “protestors” protesting their way vis-a-vis riots and looting, so appeasement came in the form of involuntary manslaughter.

On July 3, 2011, Charles Hill allegedly pulled a knife on two BART police officers and got shot for it.  All indications seem to be the shooting was good and the officers were justified.  I’m going to get out on front on this one for those you who are not cops or have watched too much TV.  Ready?

BART K9 unit 1028photo © 2009 Paul Sullivan | more info (via: Wylio)
They did exactly what we are trained to do.  End of story.  We don’t “shoot to wound” or “shoot to disarm”.  They weren’t going to shoot the knife out of Hill’s hand.  This isn’t Hollywood.  Wake up.  We have been trained that someone holding a knife can close a distance of about 20′ before most people can clear their holster.  A person holding a knife is an immediate and deadly threat and using deadly force is absolutely justified.  If you think any of that is untrue you are sadly misinformed and incredibly ignorant about matters such as these.

Here’s an interesting observation: Why was this “protest” a full week after the incident?  Could it be because the suspect was white and the two officers were white and Asian?  Seems to me the Oscar Grant incident became a racial incident because of the community of protestors and the media that repeatedly stoked the flame of racism by pointing out the difference in skin color of Grant and Mehserle.  I won’t rehash the whole incident here.

You want racism? (Who would answer “yes” to that?)  Okay, how about the protestors calling BART spokesman Linton Johnson “Uncle Tom” and a “self-conflicted blackie”?  (Don’t get pissed at me…it’s in SFGate.com’s article).  Where’s the public outcry for Mr. Johnson?  That protest, I would support.  Mr. Johnson is merely doing his job and he is getting verbally assaulted.  So, if you aren’t a parolee and you wear a tie, you can no longer be a victim of racism?  Nice double standard.  That poor bastard has been on the TV more in the last couple of years than I’m sure he wants.  Mr. Johnson represents BART professionally and in a dignified manner.  His job can’t be easy what with all the negative press BART has been getting.

These protestors did nothing to effect BART PD.  Nothing.  You know who they did impact?  Commuters.  They stopped thousands of people from getting home on time to spend time with their families.  You want to raise “awareness” for whatever soapbox you want to stand on?  Write an editorial.  Hell, start a friggin’ blog.  But, get the f@#$ out of my way so’s I can get home to my girls.

What exactly do these protestors want?  BART PD to disband or disarm.  Ignorance doesn’t begin to cover it.  BART PD Deputy Chief Dan Hartwig gave a press conference last week about this incident (you can see it here).  Tasers have been much maligned and ballyhooed over the past couple of years in light of the Mehserle incident.  Towards the end of the press conference, representatives of the media began to questions Deputy Chief Hartwig about the taser and when it should be deployed.  Hartwig does a great job of explaining BART’s protocol of using the taser and when it should be deployed.  He is very clear about “imminent danger” and a “life-threatening” situation that calls for deadly force.  The taser is a less lethal option.  When a cop’s life is on the line or he/she is acting to prevent someone else from a possibly deadly situation, that cop is authorized to use deadly force.

It’s gotta be hard to be a BART cop these days.  The silent masses support them, I am sure.  But, when you’re constantly faced with negativity and hatred, it takes its toll.  Spray painted on a column near the BART gates was the phrase, “Pigs kill.  Kill pigs.”  How’d you like to be met with that notion strolling into your office gig every day?  “Accountants kill.  Kill accountants.”

Oh…and I love how the article ends.  “Johnson said a citizens review board created by BART after the 2009 fatal shooting of an unarmed passenger, Oscar Grant, by then-BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle was already looking at the recent shooting.”  I’ve stated before how I feel about review boards.

This is obviously a hot-button issue and I’m sure you’ve got your opinions.  What do you think?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Snark is encouraged. Being a prat is not.

11 thoughts on “BART PD – Again

  1. I think it’s yet another example of Rule One: People Are Nitwits.

    Add that to mob mentality and we all lose.

  2. what are people really protesting for? for the right to not get shot while being drunk and belligerent with a weapon? do they sympathize with charles hill? are they saying they would behave like him one day? is that what they’re worried about?

  3. Police officers don’t make the laws. the legislators do.

    Police officers don’t get to cherry pick which laws they want to enforce and ones they don’t.

    When it comes to a situation like this, I strongly believe that the officer did what he was trained to do.

    I don’t know this guy personally, but I have the same amount of faith in all police officers.

    I didn’t before, but growing up, certain experiences, and finding blogs like these helped to change my perspective.

    In my mind, it is the politicians and legislators that people should be directing their frustration and outrage at and they should be driving the point home at the ballot box and with their choices on whom they support as these are the people that make the laws that the officers enforce and just what percentage of these laws are voted in by the population anyway?

    (SB 1070 and Arizona Leg’s decision to cut a lot of folks off of ahcccs (state health insurance) and stop enrollment in spite of a voter approved law saying that they can’t tamper with it , that’s criminal looking to me.)

    Then again, I’m still young and have a lot to learn.

  4. It’s very sad that the police, everywhere, get such a bad rap when the officers are just doing what they’re trained to do in order to preserve law and order for the rest of us. I’ve broken my share of laws traffic laws, I have a lead foot I admit it, and a few noise ordinances over the years, even been tempted to commit assault and battery a few times (totally justified of course, but still illegal). But I’ve always been very polite to the officers when dealing with them and understanding that they’re just doing their job, even had two of them cut me a break on speeding tickets (thank you!). So it really bugs me when people act so callously towards any police department or their officers when they didn’t do anything wrong. I mean come on, there are two professions you really do not want to piss off, your local police department and your local fire department. As there will be few times you actually need to call them, but when you do you’re already are having a really bad day and don’t want them to know you as the local jackass who gives them crap.

    Furthermore if a person were to draw a knife on me and I had a gun, you better believe their getting 3 rounds center mass. It’s called self-defense not man-slaughter.

  5. When I lived “Back East,” I straddled two worlds: I was a part time LEO, (an officer in NYPD’s now-defunct Cadet Corps (think ROTC NYPD style)) and an EMT for NYC EMS, (my Regular paycheck gig.) I originally planned to finish my college education and enter the NYPD. In the end, I never did and the reason was simple: I was tired of being misunderstood as a cop, (and much maligned as a result.)

    Despite the efforts of some well-spoken Chiefs and PIOs, the public at large continues to have no real understanding of the role of law enforcement in their community. People don’t value the protection officers afford them and their families because the general public doesn’t live in Beirut. Those who do encounter law enforcement officers often do so because they themselves have violated the law, and then they feel persecuted.

    What I’m ultimately getting at is most people will never have to place their lives on the line because they’re confronted by a potentially-psychotic and/or inebriated adult with a knife, (or other sharp object with the potential to inflict grievous bodily harm.) Because of this, they’ll never be able to appreciate when deadly force is necessary. Ironically, the reason more people aren’t placed in jeopardy is because law enforcement officers are out on the streets every day doing their job.

  6. Agree with MC’s opinion on this, but you have to admit…if it was actually possible, cops being able to shoot guns/knives out of people’s hands on a regular basis would be pretty cool.

  7. Working in a city where BART runs can get interesting. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard “What if I don’t sign the ticket? You gonna shoot me in the back like you did Oscar Grant?”

    Well, first of all, you racist prick, I didn’t shoot Oscar Grant, nor did anyone from my agency. For that matter, neither the the entire BART police department. It was the mistake of one officer.

    Unfortunately in these parts if one cop makes the news, we are all guilty.

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