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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Disturbed in Wonderland: Police Brutality

Sometimes life is a rollercoaster.  One day you can be feeling optimistic about the way things are turning out and the next you're disappointed or disturbed.  Yesterday I was at work being busy, but pretty happy going through the routine and thinking about what I would do that night.  Then I had a little down time and decided to scan through Yahoo news.  A few articles caught my eye bringing me up a few notches or down a couple, but then I read about the riots in Oakland and the New Year's day shooting of a 22 year old man, Oscar Grant.    I watched the videos on You Tube and couldn't believe it.  But why not?  It happened in Greece not to long ago and it happened here on Guam last year too.  Every time something like this happens I'm in disbelief.  Some people are saying it was a high stress situation.  Are we not training cops to handle high stress situations?  When a family is homeless and starving and a man gets caught stealing to feed his family, can we not say he was in a high stress situation?  No.  He goes to jail.  The cop who is supposedly trained and given instruments that are meant for defense is being investigated after ending someone's life.  He is on leave.  I'm not an expert, but the shooting was recorded from different angles, and from every angle that man was on his stomach, arms behind his back, and shot by a police officer.  What am I missing?

Whether Oscar Grant had a criminal record or not does not matter.  Police officers are not supposed to be judge, jury, and executioner.  I noticed some comments on You Tube about how he was a criminal and why should we care.  Oscar Grant was only 22 years old.  If he hadn't died that day maybe he would have gone on to become a carreer criminal, but who is to say he wouldn't have become a father, a little league coach, a teacher, or a doctor.  We will never know will we?

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