An old tradition returns: killing time down here on the Embarcaderro platform, taking advantage of that sweet sweet free wifi.
Big local news was yesterday's verdict in the Oscar Grant trial. Last New Years over in Oakland, a BART cop shot a kid in the back. He, the young man, the young black man (natch), was handcuffed at the time, lying face down on the ground actually.
The verdict was involuntary manslaughter.
On the one hand, it's a rare enough thing for an officer of the law to get convicted of anything — horrifying security footage probably helped there — but it's still a pretty BS verdict if you ask me. I'm hoping hard that the judge hits the killer with the gun enhancement, sends him away for a good ten years or so.
The defense was that he thought he had his taser. This is pretty hard to believe for anyone who's actually held a handgun and a taser. You really wouldn't make that mistake, and I wonder why there wasn't some tactile evidence submitted to the jury. "Feel these things? They both have pistol grips, sure, but notice how one weighs twice as much? Notice how their safety mechanisms are in completely different places?"
But you can't expect the most diligent prosecution in these cases. No DA wants to send a member of their own team to prison. And anyway, why taser a kid in the back who's already face down and cuffed? I guess it made sense to the jury. I guess the jury also didn't have any African Americans on it either. Queue the Bob Dylan.
Reaction-wise there was some violence in the streets, but nothing too out of hand. The Whole Foods and the Foot Locker got smashed up, and there was a lot of standoffing, but no fires, no widespread looting or destruction. That's good. People expected the worse, and an acquittal would have probably have been more inflammatory.