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It's Not A Joke, Senator

Monday, Feb. 02, 2009 3:53 AM

Court documents filed on behalf of Johannes Mehserle tell an inconsistent story. Mehserle's first excuse was that he thought he was drawing his taser, located on the left side of his belt and requiring a cross-draw motion (Mehserle is right-handed). But the document also stipulates that after the shot that ultimately killed Oscar Grant, Mehserle said, "I thought he was drawing a weapon."

So we have two different stories - one being that Grant was resisting arrest and that Mehserle intended to draw his taser, but instead drew his firearm.

The second story is that Grant appeared to be reaching for a weapon, and Mehserle responded with lethal force, despite the fact that the suspect was lying face down on the ground, could likely not have drawn any weapon and used it effectively, but meant to draw his taser.

Officer Tony Pirone's story is also suspect. An earlier account described Oscar Grant as having gotten on the train, then exiting back on to the platform voluntarily.

The new version is that Pirone pointed his taser at Grant.

So we're wondering why Officer Pirone, having a fleeing suspect back under positive control, chose to escort him to a bench and tell him to sit down while he took care of someone else.

Wouldn't you cuff the suspect that you have under positive control first?

Video from a passenger's cell phone also shows the officers with the suspects sitting on the ground, which means Grant could not have kneed Pirone unless he was standing up. (And if you are cuffing the suspect with his hands behind his back, his knees don't bend that way.)

Some readers commenting on the SFGate website like to point out that Grant had previous felony convictions and had served time, therefore, he was just another punk-ass gangbanger and deserved what he got.

Except that Grant had not been identified prior to the shooting, and Officers Pirone and Mehserle had no reason to treat him differently than any other person involved in the brawl.

Many of those same readers are busy complaining about attorney John Burris, who is representing the Grant family in their wrongful death lawsuit against BART. That's an entirely different matter from the criminal charges facing Johannes Mehserle; Burris' suit won't even be looked at until the criminal trial is complete, and Burris will not be involved in that trial in any way - it'll be the Alameda County District Attorney's Office vs. Johannes Mehserle.

Senator Joseph Lieberman thinks waterboarding is funny.

Not that he shows any understanding of what the process actually entails. At a dinner over the weekend, Lieberman's remarks included a joke about former Vice-President Dick Cheney's injured back.

"Who knew waterboards were so heavy?" Lieberman quipped.

Senator, we're talking about a war crime. A violation of domestic law and international treaty, not some prop in a cheap joke.

Michael Steele is the new Chairman of the RNC. Wow, a black man heading up the RNC! Cool! It's just like Obama, right?!?!


Obama started cleaning house on January 21. Steele spent his weekend making the rounds of the Sunday-morning talk shows, insisting that there was nothing wrong with the GOP's message, and that America, in fact, needs to hear more of it.

What planet have you been living on, Steele?

Steele said part of the problem was the messenger, not the message. So instead of Rush Limbaugh, who blames the media and implies Obama is a terrorist, we can look forward to Sarah Palin, who blames the media and ... implies Obama is a terrorist.

Um. Okay. Right.

Good luck with that.

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