Oscar Grant, a young black father, was killed at an Oakland Bart station some days ago. He'd been fighting on the train and was then shot by the police. My first thought was, "Sh_ t!!! These violent kids are turning the streets into a living hell." When I heard that he was innocent, I got mad, as if his life had been taken away from me and my family. Then again, with the conviction that we are all universally bound to a single God, where I see my own children in the eyes of everyone I meet, that young man was family.
The TV finally showed his photo. It was the picture of a guy who worked in the meat department of a store that I visit quite frequently. How amazing! I knew him, not by name, but from my encounters in the store. It was surreal, a gut aching moment, staring into his face on screen.
Reports say that he was fighting with others when police arrived at the station. Officers had him lying on his stomach when one of them shot him in the back. There was nothing to provoke the shooting since the kid had no weapon and was virtually helpless. By all indications, it seemed like cold blooded murder. But the officer said it was a mistake, that he mistook his gun for a taser.
A mistake! Nobody wants to hear that but I do. I'd rather it be a mistake than intentional. Instead, folks want retribution for what seems like murder, with no intention of allowing police to get away with more injustices to minorities. Police do all they can to keep fellow officers out of trouble, including covering-up murders, so this case seems no different ... police brutality and cold blooded murder.
So they rioted. I can't condone it but if that's what it takes to get everyone's attention, then so be it. But the result was just asinine. They marched ... good. They destroyed random cars along the way. What? They busted storefront windows and looted. Retribution or revenge, to me, would be to cause harm to those who've harmed you. But this was something different. This was an act of anger unrelated to the shooting because the cars and businesses damaged in all of this were none other than those of hard working, regular people, and not police or representatives of "The System". It's like burning down your own house to revenge a crime against yourself. It's crazy! But people, especially Blacks and Hispanics, are so tired, angry, broke-down and abused that it doesn't take much to provoke them. These are volatile times.
But the rioting did get attention, and the fact that a man died at the hands of a police officer is not going away. It's ignited the country, reminiscent of other cases of civil injustices that burn heavy on the hearts of an angry nation.
The officer said it was a mistake but why would he have reason to point even a taser into someone's back? Either something happened that's not yet been disclosed, which provoked him to pull out a weapon, or he fully intended to inflict pain on this kid. But if it was an unintentional act, it sure would be a travesty to try him as if he committed cold blooded murder. I pray to God that they find the truth, that justice is served, and angers tempered.