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Mehserle found guilty; Oakland (relatively) safe for now. [BART shooting]

2456714

Posts

  • TL DRTL DR Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    And that Taser does have an external safety. It's apparently how a user can interrupt the five-second discharge once initiated.

    Link.

    TLDR2014_zps40439c2c.jpg
  • Just Like ThatJust Like That Registered User
    edited July 2010
    mcdermott wrote: »
    When he accidentally causes the death of someone, as happened here. Execution implies intent. He was struggling with someone he was arresting and he pulled the wrong weapon. It's still not murder. If he'd stood the guy against the wall, pulled his gun and put one between the guys eye's, yes, that would be murder.

    How does a 2 year veteran cop accidentally pull a gun instead of a taser? Is it that hard to tell the difference, especially when you have the time to make sure? We're talking about the difference between killing somebody and incapacitating him. The guy was subdued by multiple officers.

    Reasonable. Doubt.

    I wish I had a permanent reasonable doubt machine that I could carry around at all times.
    OptimusZed wrote:
    Tasers should be required to be kept in a holster on a different side of the body in a completely different area. Gun on hip, taser in shoulder or something.

    If you go for your left hip thinking it's your right armpit and wind up shooting a guy, that's on you.

    This is the only way multiple gun-type weapons should be allowed on a cop. Either get rid of the gun or the taser, or make it so simple that you could never pull the "accidental misfire" bullshit.

  • BackwardsnameBackwardsname __BANNED USERS
    edited July 2010
    I think I'm gonna have to say that this verdict is probably the most appropriate possible verdict.

    I mean, let's back up for a second and really examine the idea that this was second-degree murder

    That would mean that, while restraining someone, the cop (his name is too hard to spell) just consciously decided that he would shoot this man, for no reason other than, what, his own pleasure? That's a pretty hefty claim, and one that is essentially unprovable. What motive could he possibly have? AFAIK, there's no evidence that this guy was a violent psychopath. People do not just murder other human beings for fun, except in cases of really dramatic mental illness (e.g. serial killers).

    Also, we have long since established that when confronted with a young black man who is doing anything other than lying face-down on the ground with his hands on his head, police think everything is a gun. It's a horrible reality and a result of deeply-ingrained unconscious bias, but even being consciously anti-racist does not affect this underlying level of bias. At least according to most studies we've ever done on the subject (try as hard as you might, you can take the Race IAT as many times as you want and your score won't get better).

    So, let's go through what happens here:

    Cop is fighting with a fit young man (was he intoxicated? New Years and all), this activates his sympathetic nervous system, releasing lots of norepinephrine and epinephrine. Heart rate and breathing rate are way up, vision is tunneled, time is perceptually slowed, etc. I would have loved to know what his heart-rate was, as I bet it was somewhere upwards of 150, which would mean he was close to involuntarily shitting himself and essentially had lost most of his forebrain function.

    He is struggling with Grant on the ground, supposedly sees him reaching for his pocket (this may in fact be itself a hyper-vigilant distortion of just simple flailing), assumes GUN! because of (a) his unconscious bias, and (b) his state of extreme arousal. This is exactly the sort of environment where someone could very plausibly pull the wrong weapon and fire.

    I think what it really speaks to is not that cops are murderous thugs who kill for enjoyment (which is essentially the implicit claim of a second-degree charge), but they are very poorly trained to experience and deal with stress.

    Soldiers, special forces, even SWAT officers -- these sort of people are trained to experience extreme fear/stress so that they don't become worthless in a moment of fear. A soldier needs to still be able to think, talk, take orders, and make decisions in the heat of battle. His heart-rate needs to stay below 120 BPM, and he needs to retain higher brain function. So they are stress-tested, quite literally. Police are not. This is a huge problem with the way we train police.

    They're simply not fit to deal with fight-or-flight situations effectively, and most police don't encounter such a situation up to four years on the job, if they have a relatively cushy position.

    There are other ways to address this too, like having more police work solo (they tend to take things more slowly, and act with caution, which can help prevent psychological escalation). But while it is negligent and incompetent, it's hardly murder.

    In fact, I very much dislike the idea that convicting more officers can solve this problem. It's a problem of society-wide bias, and poor training. These are institutional problems -- individual deterrence will never solve them.

  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited July 2010
    I wish I had a permanent reasonable doubt machine that I could carry around at all times.

    You pretty much do. It's at the core of our legal system that everyone starts out innocent, and the "reasonable doubt machine" has to be overcome.

    Unless, of course, you're a minority in a jury stacked with racists. Then you're pretty much hosed.

    As to this case, the defenses argument basically boils down to: this cop was so ridiculously incompetent and shaken up by a fairly mundane situation that he accidentally pulled the wrong weapon, failed to notice the several glaring discrepancies between the two, and fired a bullet instead of an electric shock. Which is, unfortunately, extremely believable to me. And based on that, I think the verdict was pretty reasonable, based on my extremely limited knowledge of the situation.

    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
  • Peeps ChickenPeeps Chicken Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Well damn, it only took what... video footage from 3 or 4 different angles and dozens of witnesses to convict this guy? I swear you need absolutely undeniable evidence before anyone will even consider charging a cop with anything.

    The videos showed the physical act of firing the weapon, which was never in dispute by anybody. The entire trial hinged around what his intent was... the very same act, depending on the mens rea, can range from anywhere between non-culpable accident to intentional, premeditated murder.

    This seems like the right result, from everything I've read about the case. I never saw or heard anything, either from his history prior to the incident nor to his actions during the incident, that would indicate he intended, or had any rational reason to intend, to kill the victim. It always seemed like an accident, to me.

  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Actually, according to California penal code section 188, I think this is absolutely first-degree murder. Section 189 reads:

    189. All murder which is perpetrated by means of a destructive
    device or explosive, a weapon of mass destruction, knowing use of
    ammunition designed primarily to penetrate metal or armor, poison,
    lying in wait, torture, or by any other kind of willful, deliberate,
    and premeditated killing, or which is committed in the perpetration
    of, or attempt to perpetrate, arson, rape, carjacking, robbery,
    burglary, mayhem, kidnapping, train wrecking, or any act punishable
    under Section 206, 286, 288, 288a, or 289, or any murder which is
    perpetrated by means of discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle,
    intentionally at another person outside of the vehicle with the
    intent to inflict death, is murder of the first degree. All other
    kinds of murders are of the second degree.
    As used in this section, "destructive device" means any
    destructive device as defined in Section 12301, and "explosive" means
    any explosive as defined in Section 12000 of the Health and Safety
    Code.
    As used in this section, "weapon of mass destruction" means any
    item defined in Section 11417.
    To prove the killing was "deliberate and premeditated," it shall
    not be necessary to prove the defendant maturely and meaningfully
    reflected upon the gravity of his or her act.

    Section 206 reads:
    Every person who, with the intent to cause cruel or extreme
    pain and suffering for the purpose of revenge, extortion, persuasion,
    or for any sadistic purpose, inflicts great bodily injury as defined
    in Section 12022.7 upon the person of another, is guilty of torture.
    The crime of torture does not require any proof that the victim
    suffered pain.

    So, even if you believe he did intend to pull his tazer (which implies such a huge degree of incompetence as to expand the limits of the definition of "reasonable doubt" beyond all use), he still committed first-degree, capital murder.

    He should be on his way to the chair right now.

  • ronzoronzo Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Basically my feelings are that this guy got convicted of the most fitting thing available due to his massive incompetence.

    however we all have a lot of rage at this guy for being such a failure that we wish there was something worse we could nail him with

  • So It GoesSo It Goes Well, that seems pretty ludicrous.Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Thanatos wrote: »
    This verdict basically proves that it's impossible for a cop to commit murder on the job. Like, legally impossible.

    Or maybe he didn't commit murder, but instead committed manslaughter?

    NOPE.
    Vd0n7Bk.jpg
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I think I'm gonna have to say that this verdict is probably the most appropriate possible verdict.

    I mean, let's back up for a second and really examine the idea that this was second-degree murder

    That would mean that, while restraining someone, the cop (his name is too hard to spell) just consciously decided that he would shoot this man, for no reason other than, what, his own pleasure? That's a pretty hefty claim, and one that is essentially unprovable. What motive could he possibly have? AFAIK, there's no evidence that this guy was a violent psychopath. People do not just murder other human beings for fun, except in cases of really dramatic mental illness (e.g. serial killers).

    Also, we have long since established that when confronted with a young black man who is doing anything other than lying face-down on the ground with his hands on his head, police think everything is a gun. It's a horrible reality and a result of deeply-ingrained unconscious bias, but even being consciously anti-racist does not affect this underlying level of bias. At least according to most studies we've ever done on the subject (try as hard as you might, you can take the Race IAT as many times as you want and your score won't get better).

    So, let's go through what happens here:

    Cop is fighting with a fit young man (was he intoxicated? New Years and all), this activates his sympathetic nervous system, releasing lots of norepinephrine and epinephrine. Heart rate and breathing rate are way up, vision is tunneled, time is perceptually slowed, etc. I would have loved to know what his heart-rate was, as I bet it was somewhere upwards of 150, which would mean he was close to involuntarily shitting himself and essentially had lost most of his forebrain function.

    He is struggling with Grant on the ground, supposedly sees him reaching for his pocket (this may in fact be itself a hyper-vigilant distortion of just simple flailing), assumes GUN! because of (a) his unconscious bias, and (b) his state of extreme arousal. This is exactly the sort of environment where someone could very plausibly pull the wrong weapon and fire.

    I think what it really speaks to is not that cops are murderous thugs who kill for enjoyment (which is essentially the implicit claim of a second-degree charge), but they are very poorly trained to experience and deal with stress.

    Soldiers, special forces, even SWAT officers -- these sort of people are trained to experience extreme fear/stress so that they don't become worthless in a moment of fear. A soldier needs to still be able to think, talk, take orders, and make decisions in the heat of battle. His heart-rate needs to stay below 120 BPM, and he needs to retain higher brain function. So they are stress-tested, quite literally. Police are not. This is a huge problem with the way we train police.

    They're simply not fit to deal with fight-or-flight situations effectively, and most police don't encounter such a situation up to four years on the job, if they have a relatively cushy position.

    There are other ways to address this too, like having more police work solo (they tend to take things more slowly, and act with caution, which can help prevent psychological escalation). But while it is negligent and incompetent, it's hardly murder.

    In fact, I very much dislike the idea that convicting more officers can solve this problem. It's a problem of society-wide bias, and poor training. These are institutional problems -- individual deterrence will never solve them.
    Motive is not a necessary element of murder. And he didn't make an insanity plea, so the rest of your argument is bullshit.

  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    So It Goes wrote: »
    Thanatos wrote: »
    This verdict basically proves that it's impossible for a cop to commit murder on the job. Like, legally impossible.
    Or maybe he didn't commit murder, but instead committed manslaughter?
    Again, if this wasn't murder, then it's essentially impossible for a cop to commit murder.

  • BackwardsnameBackwardsname __BANNED USERS
    edited July 2010
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Motive is not a necessary element of murder. And he didn't make an insanity plea, so the rest of your argument is bullshit.

    Not a necessary element, no, but necessary for it to be fucking believable. Face it, Brett, you have a fundamental hurdle to overcome why the fuck would he kill someone for no reason?

    I mean, that's a big hole, but I know you personally probably fill it with something about the sort of person who becomes a cop/obsession with authority, blah blah blah, but I don't buy it. It is extraordinarily rare for a human being to take pleasure in murder, in and of itself. If he were this sort of person he'd have almost certainly left a trail of psych evaluation, juvenile crime, and mutilated animals.

    People do not kill other people for no reason. I don't know where you get that idea.

    Also what I said has nothing to do with insanity. It's a common, healthy human response to high levels of aggression and arousal. This is neurobiology 101 stuff, dude. It's not that he was insane because he was stressed out, it's that your brain stops observing what it deems unnecessary. Like, say, what weapon you have in your hand.

  • So It GoesSo It Goes Well, that seems pretty ludicrous.Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Thanatos wrote: »
    So It Goes wrote: »
    Thanatos wrote: »
    This verdict basically proves that it's impossible for a cop to commit murder on the job. Like, legally impossible.
    Or maybe he didn't commit murder, but instead committed manslaughter?
    Again, if this wasn't murder, then it's essentially impossible for a cop to commit murder.

    I really disagree that this offers a bulletproof defense to all cops everywhere. I also think you're skipping over important parts of the definition of murder; motive, intent and premeditation absolutely matter when you're trying to prove murder.

    NOPE.
    Vd0n7Bk.jpg
  • BackwardsnameBackwardsname __BANNED USERS
    edited July 2010
    Thanatos wrote: »
    So It Goes wrote: »
    Thanatos wrote: »
    This verdict basically proves that it's impossible for a cop to commit murder on the job. Like, legally impossible.
    Or maybe he didn't commit murder, but instead committed manslaughter?
    Again, if this wasn't murder, then it's essentially impossible for a cop to commit murder.

    Or maybe cops tend not to actually commit murder. I like how that isn't considered as a possibility.

    Even if you believe this wasn't murder, a cop could still theoretically absolutely be capable of first-degree murder, it's just that outside of The Shield it doesn't actually happen all that often.

  • HachfaceHachface Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Motive is not a necessary element of murder. And he didn't make an insanity plea, so the rest of your argument is bullshit.

    Not a necessary element, no, but necessary for it to be fucking believable. Face it, Brett, you have a fundamental hurdle to overcome why the fuck would he kill someone for no reason?

    This was a pretty extraordinary event. Something happened that is utterly contrary to sense: either he is spontaneously murderous or incredibly incompetent.

    Although the presumption of innocence compels us to accept the latter explanation, legally.

  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Motive is not a necessary element of murder. And he didn't make an insanity plea, so the rest of your argument is bullshit.
    Not a necessary element, no, but necessary for it to be fucking believable. Face it, Brett, you have a fundamental hurdle to overcome why the fuck would he kill someone for no reason?

    I mean, that's a big hole, but I know you personally probably fill it with something about the sort of person who becomes a cop/obsession with authority, blah blah blah, but I don't buy it. It is extraordinarily rare for a human being to take pleasure in murder, in and of itself. If he were this sort of person he'd have almost certainly left a trail of psych evaluation, juvenile crime, and mutilated animals.

    People do not kill other people for no reason. I don't know where you get that idea.

    Also what I said has nothing to do with insanity. It's a common, healthy human response to high levels of aggression and arousal. This is neurobiology 101 stuff, dude. It's not that he was insane because he was stressed out, it's that your brain stops observing what it deems unnecessary. Like, say, what weapon you have in your hand.
    What you're saying is that if I load up one of my guns right now, walk outside, shoot someone who was walking by in the head, walk back inside, put my gun away, and then have a bowl of cereal, a jury would be required to convict me because "why would I have ever done that? It doesn't make any sense!"

  • Peeps ChickenPeeps Chicken Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Motive is not a necessary element of murder. And he didn't make an insanity plea, so the rest of your argument is bullshit.
    Motive is not an element, but intent is, and since we don't have a scientific test for intent or a bunch of telepaths, determining intent is a matter of inference. Part of making that inference is looking at things like motive that imply intent.
    Again, if this wasn't murder, then it's essentially impossible for a cop to commit murder.
    Oh, hogwash. With these exact facts, it could have very easily been determined to be murder by the people hearing the facts (ie., the jury, not you). Or there could have been facts establishing the aforementioned motive to kill. Or there could be other factors from which to draw the inference of intent. You don't have anything other than the physical action of him shooting to base your murder theory on, and unfortunately for you there are a lot more plausible explanations (such as the one the jury found).

    You desperately, out of your venom towards cops, need for the equation to be "Cop wrongfully shoots somebody = murder," but it's just not so.

  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    So It Goes wrote: »
    Thanatos wrote: »
    So It Goes wrote: »
    Thanatos wrote: »
    This verdict basically proves that it's impossible for a cop to commit murder on the job. Like, legally impossible.
    Or maybe he didn't commit murder, but instead committed manslaughter?
    Again, if this wasn't murder, then it's essentially impossible for a cop to commit murder.

    I really disagree that this offers a bulletproof defense to all cops everywhere. I also think you're skipping over important parts of the definition of murder; motive, intent and premeditation absolutely matter when you're trying to prove murder.
    Again, motive helps, but it is not in any way a requirement to prove murder. You know this better than I do. :P

  • Phoenix-DPhoenix-D Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Motive is absolutely part of murder. Its the basic element separating it from manslaughter.

    Section 206 is for torture. This was not, by any stretch of the word, torture.

    EDIT true, intent not motive.

  • TL DRTL DR Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    That second excerpt Than posted is pretty damning. The guy was in cuffs, I have a hard time believing that the Taser was being used in any context other than "Fucking n***** gave me grief"

    If accidental death during actions intended to torture = murder according to the law, then my money is that this was murder.

    TLDR2014_zps40439c2c.jpg
  • HachfaceHachface Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Phoenix-D wrote: »
    Motive is absolutely part of murder. Its the basic element separating it from manslaughter.

    Section 206 is for torture. This was not, by any stretch of the word, torture.

    Intent and motive are related but the are not the same. I intend to kill you by attacking you with this knife; my motive for killing you is that you slept with my daughter.

    edit: Missed your edit.

  • So It GoesSo It Goes Well, that seems pretty ludicrous.Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Thanatos wrote: »
    So It Goes wrote: »
    Thanatos wrote: »
    So It Goes wrote: »
    Thanatos wrote: »
    This verdict basically proves that it's impossible for a cop to commit murder on the job. Like, legally impossible.
    Or maybe he didn't commit murder, but instead committed manslaughter?
    Again, if this wasn't murder, then it's essentially impossible for a cop to commit murder.

    I really disagree that this offers a bulletproof defense to all cops everywhere. I also think you're skipping over important parts of the definition of murder; motive, intent and premeditation absolutely matter when you're trying to prove murder.
    Again, motive helps, but it is not in any way a requirement to prove murder. You know this better than I do. :P

    You skipped over those other two things again...

    Intent, specifically premeditated intent to kill, is an element. It is very hard to prove without proof of some sort of motive. Practically? You go to a murder trial with no plausible motive and you're going to lose.

    NOPE.
    Vd0n7Bk.jpg
  • BackwardsnameBackwardsname __BANNED USERS
    edited July 2010
    Hachface wrote: »
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Motive is not a necessary element of murder. And he didn't make an insanity plea, so the rest of your argument is bullshit.

    Not a necessary element, no, but necessary for it to be fucking believable. Face it, Brett, you have a fundamental hurdle to overcome why the fuck would he kill someone for no reason?

    This was a pretty extraordinary event. Something happened that is utterly contrary to reason: either he is spontaneously murderous or horrendously incompetent.

    No it's not.

    This is what people need to understand. When your brain engages your sympathetic nervous system, normal brain function can change radically

    For instance, people experiencing high levels of fear struggle to accurately judge facial expressions to discern emotion. This is hugely important when you're a police officer who needs to figure out if a suspect is threatening/angry/aggressive or terrified/submissive/fleeing.

    The more severe the fight-or-flight response, the more things your brain discards as irrelevant to your survival.

    It is entirely plausible for someone in such a situation to be tunneled in on only the need to prevent a suspect from pulling a gun (again, a mistaken conclusion made because he was in a state of arousal), and responding by instinctively drawing whatever weapon first came to hand and firing.

    The way to prevent this is to either change procedure and training so cops don't get into situations of high arousal in the first place, and/or to train them under situations of high arousal so that they can still think effectively in such circumstances.

  • BackwardsnameBackwardsname __BANNED USERS
    edited July 2010
    Thanatos wrote: »
    What you're saying is that if I load up one of my guns right now, walk outside, shoot someone who was walking by in the head, walk back inside, put my gun away, and then have a bowl of cereal, a jury would be required to convict me because "why would I have ever done that? It doesn't make any sense!"

    What I'm saying is that never happens, except in cases of extreme mental illness which is essentially a form of motive, but one we do not hold the person responsible for.

    You're being deliberately obtuse, and no I'm not saying it's a legal requirement, but it's a requirement for people to get past reasonable doubt.

    People do not kill each other for no reason. It does not happen. This cop had no reason to kill this suspect intentionally, so why would he, when doing so does carry risk of reprisal?

    Unless, of course, he feared for his life because he was in a state of arousal and made mistakes subsequent to that.

  • Just Like ThatJust Like That Registered User
    edited July 2010
    Cop is fighting with a fit young man (was he intoxicated? New Years and all), this activates his sympathetic nervous system, releasing lots of norepinephrine and epinephrine. Heart rate and breathing rate are way up, vision is tunneled, time is perceptually slowed, etc. I would have loved to know what his heart-rate was, as I bet it was somewhere upwards of 150, which would mean he was close to involuntarily shitting himself and essentially had lost most of his forebrain function.

    I think you're making some assumptions here that the footage of the incident doesn't really back up. If anyone looks afraid it is the 3 people they have backed onto a wall. There was barely any "fighting" going on, aside from Grant standing up once and then promptly being pushed back down. The police are clearly in a dominant position, and if they are afraid they certainly don't show it. In fact they all seem rather composed until the shot goes off. Again, the guy was a 2 year veteran... maybe he reacted the way you described to the first couple incidents that he took part in, but I don't see anything threatening enough to affect him in such a way here.
    In fact, I very much dislike the idea that convicting more officers can solve this problem. It's a problem of society-wide bias, and poor training. These are institutional problems -- individual deterrence will never solve them.

    The way you say that makes it sound like they're convicting officers for no reason. It's not so much individual deterrence as holding cops to the same standards of law as everyone else. You're kidding yourself if you think that the police don't automatically have the upper hand in legal matters. I'm not going to say that better training won't help, but it also won't get rid of the pervasive attitude of being "above the law" that many officers seem to have.

  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Motive is not a necessary element of murder. And he didn't make an insanity plea, so the rest of your argument is bullshit.
    Motive is not an element, but intent is, and since we don't have a scientific test for intent or a bunch of telepaths, determining intent is a matter of inference. Part of making that inference is looking at things like motive that imply intent.
    If only there were some way to prove intent... like, I don't know, maybe multiple videos of him pulling a gun on a restrained, freshly-searched young man lying on the ground and shooting him in the back. If we cannot infer intent from that, then when, precisely, can we infer intent from? Does a cop have to actually say "I am now going to murder you with this gun in my hands" immediately before he shoots someone in order for it to be murder?
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Again, if this wasn't murder, then it's essentially impossible for a cop to commit murder.
    Oh, hogwash. With these exact facts, it could have very easily been determined to be murder by the people hearing the facts (ie., the jury, not you). Or there could have been facts establishing the aforementioned motive to kill. Or there could be other factors from which to draw the inference of intent. You don't have anything other than the physical action of him shooting to base your murder theory on, and unfortunately for you there are a lot more plausible explanations (such as the one the jury found).

    You desperately, out of your venom towards cops, need for the equation to be "Cop wrongfully shoots somebody = murder," but it's just not so.
    If this were anyone but a cop, there would be absolutely no question of intent.

    I don't see why extensive training with a weapon should mean that we give orders of magnitude more leeway when it comes to intent to a cop than we would anyone else.

  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Hachface wrote: »
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Motive is not a necessary element of murder. And he didn't make an insanity plea, so the rest of your argument is bullshit.

    Not a necessary element, no, but necessary for it to be fucking believable. Face it, Brett, you have a fundamental hurdle to overcome why the fuck would he kill someone for no reason?

    This was a pretty extraordinary event. Something happened that is utterly contrary to sense: either he is spontaneously murderous or incredibly incompetent.

    Although the presumption of innocence compels us to accept the latter explanation, legally.

    No, the presumption of innocence does not actually compel us to accept that explanation or any other. If the presumption of innocence allowed us to assume any arbitrarily bizarre or unlikely state of affairs, as long as that state of affairs has a non-zero chance of being true, even if that chance is infinitesimal, then no crime would ever get convicted anywhere under any circumstances. Presumption of innocence is a red herring here.

    No, the basic conflict here is whether we consider the defense argument to offer a reasonable doubt - if we think that it is reasonable that a police officer could draw the wrong weapon on the wrong side of the body, not notice the difference in size or weight, not notice the lack of mechanical safety, and have a justifiable reason for doing so despite having no justifiable reason apparent on video.

    I go back and forth on whether this is murder. I'm not convinced it is. However, this is clearly not involuntary manslaughter. Involuntary manslaughter occurs when there is no intent to harm. There was intent to harm here - he intended to draw his taser. That makes it, at the very least, voluntary manslaughter.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    So It Goes wrote: »
    You skipped over those other two things again...

    Intent, specifically premeditated intent to kill, is an element. It is very hard to prove without proof of some sort of motive. Practically? You go to a murder trial with no plausible motive and you're going to lose.
    Actually, premeditated intent to kill is not necessarily an element of first-degree murder, if you'll take a look at the sections of the penal code I posted earlier.

  • Peeps ChickenPeeps Chicken Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    The guy was in cuffs, I have a hard time believing that the Taser was being used in any context other than "Fucking n***** gave me grief"
    Last I heard, that was in factual dispute. Mehserle, BART, and the officers were saying that he was uncuffed; in fact, that was part of Mehserle's story, that the guy was reaching under his body and Mehserle thought he was going for a weapon.

  • So It GoesSo It Goes Well, that seems pretty ludicrous.Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Thanatos wrote: »
    So It Goes wrote: »
    You skipped over those other two things again...

    Intent, specifically premeditated intent to kill, is an element. It is very hard to prove without proof of some sort of motive. Practically? You go to a murder trial with no plausible motive and you're going to lose.
    Actually, premeditated intent to kill is not necessarily an element of first-degree murder, if you'll take a look at the sections of the penal code I posted earlier.

    I guess if you think his gun is a weapon of mass destruction?

    Otherwise you're reading it wrong.

    Or I guess you are going under the torture definition? Which is a very specific intent I'm not sure how you'd prove here...

    NOPE.
    Vd0n7Bk.jpg
  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited July 2010
    Thanatos wrote: »
    What you're saying is that if I load up one of my guns right now, walk outside, shoot someone who was walking by in the head, walk back inside, put my gun away, and then have a bowl of cereal, a jury would be required to convict me because "why would I have ever done that? It doesn't make any sense!"

    I think the idea is that anyone who would do something like that would also have some evidence somewhere of some pretty severe psychological issues. I mean, are you personally likely to actually do that? No. Why not? You're not a complete nutbar.

    Don't cops typically undergo psych evaluations? I assume so. And would someone capable of random acts of murder pass a psych evaluation?

    It's not just "why would a guy kill someone for fun - it makes no sense!" It's "why would this particular cop commit murder in front of a hundred people and a bunch of cameras when there was not an iota of evidence that he was in any way mentally imbalanced - it makes no sense!"

    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    So It Goes wrote: »
    Intent, specifically premeditated intent to kill, is an element. It is very hard to prove without proof of some sort of motive. Practically? You go to a murder trial with no plausible motive and you're going to lose.

    Technically you don't actually need intent to kill. Intent to harm, coupled with willful disregard for human life, is enough to show second-degree murder.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • KetherialKetherial Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    than, i really think your hatred of cops is getting to you.

    if you watch the video you can tell that the cop was shocked himself at what happened. there was no premeditation, just criminal incompetence.

    i mean, do you really think the cop was like (in his head) "imma kill this guy" then did that? motive is not necessary, but mens rea is.

    the intention to kill just isnt there, dude. i just dont see it.

  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Thanatos wrote: »
    Actually, according to California penal code section 188, I think this is absolutely first-degree murder. Section 189 reads:

    189. All murder which is perpetrated by means of a destructive
    device or explosive, a weapon of mass destruction, knowing use of
    ammunition designed primarily to penetrate metal or armor, poison,
    lying in wait, torture, or by any other kind of willful, deliberate,
    and premeditated killing, or which is committed in the perpetration
    of, or attempt to perpetrate, arson, rape, carjacking, robbery,
    burglary, mayhem, kidnapping, train wrecking, or any act punishable
    under Section 206, 286, 288, 288a, or 289, or any murder which is
    perpetrated by means of discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle,
    intentionally at another person outside of the vehicle with the
    intent to inflict death, is murder of the first degree. All other
    kinds of murders are of the second degree.
    As used in this section, "destructive device" means any
    destructive device as defined in Section 12301, and "explosive" means
    any explosive as defined in Section 12000 of the Health and Safety
    Code.
    As used in this section, "weapon of mass destruction" means any
    item defined in Section 11417.
    To prove the killing was "deliberate and premeditated," it shall
    not be necessary to prove the defendant maturely and meaningfully
    reflected upon the gravity of his or her act.

    Section 206 reads:
    Every person who, with the intent to cause cruel or extreme
    pain and suffering for the purpose of revenge, extortion, persuasion,
    or for any sadistic purpose, inflicts great bodily injury as defined
    in Section 12022.7 upon the person of another, is guilty of torture.
    The crime of torture does not require any proof that the victim
    suffered pain.

    So, even if you believe he did intend to pull his tazer (which implies such a huge degree of incompetence as to expand the limits of the definition of "reasonable doubt" beyond all use), he still committed first-degree, capital murder.

    He should be on his way to the chair right now.
    Anyone actually going to address this?

  • So It GoesSo It Goes Well, that seems pretty ludicrous.Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Feral wrote: »
    So It Goes wrote: »
    Intent, specifically premeditated intent to kill, is an element. It is very hard to prove without proof of some sort of motive. Practically? You go to a murder trial with no plausible motive and you're going to lose.

    Technically you don't actually need intent to kill. Intent to harm, coupled with willful disregard for human life, is enough to show second-degree murder.

    He was talking about first degree up there so that's what I was referring to specifically.

    EDIT: I'm addressing it...

    NOPE.
    Vd0n7Bk.jpg
  • BackwardsnameBackwardsname __BANNED USERS
    edited July 2010
    I think you're making some assumptions here that the footage of the incident doesn't really back up. If anyone looks afraid it is the 3 people they have backed onto a wall. There was barely any "fighting" going on, aside from Grant standing up once and then promptly being pushed back down.

    I was under the impression that prior to getting him on the ground, they struggled with him quite a bit to get him on the ground, and the struggle continued, if in a more subdued way, after he was put on the ground. The problem is that the initial struggle triggers the sympathetic nervous system, but the chemicals and processes underway do not halt immediately. Believe me, as someone who gets panic attacks, even after you "calm down" your body still is in a state of arousal for several minutes following, which evolutionarily is meant to make it easy to get keyed-up again if danger returns. This guy may have appeared calm in a low-res video from a distance, but that doesn't mean he was. Especially not physiologically.
    The police are clearly in a dominant position, and if they are afraid they certainly don't show it. In fact they all seem rather composed until the shot goes off.

    By the time the video starts, yes. However, dominance does not imply relaxation. In fact, this is why many argue we need to have more police officers work solo, because being in a group gives police officers a false sense of safety such that they're more likely to end up in situations of stress and arousal -- like fights, chases, and shoot-outs, and so on.
    Again, the guy was a 2 year veteran... maybe he reacted the way you described to the first couple incidents that he took part in, but I don't see anything threatening enough to affect him in such a way here.
    This means little to nothing. Two years patrolling subway cars. The dude likely never had been involved in any situation like this -- it was likely the first time he ever drew his gun on the job. It's not like he spent two years busting meth labs as a SWAT officer or something. He was a fucking bus cop. Barely more than a security guard.
    The way you say that makes it sound like they're convicting officers for no reason. It's not so much individual deterrence as holding cops to the same standards of law as everyone else. You're kidding yourself if you think that the police don't automatically have the upper hand in legal matters. I'm not going to say that better training won't help, but it also won't get rid of the pervasive attitude of being "above the law" that many officers seem to have.

    Not for no reason -- you're right, we do need to apply the law equally, so that a reasonable level of deterrence exists to prevent voluntary, conscious crime on the part of police. However, I don't think sending more cops to jail is really going to stop these shootings from happening again, and that's what we really need to happen.

  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    So It Goes wrote: »
    Thanatos wrote: »
    So It Goes wrote: »
    You skipped over those other two things again...

    Intent, specifically premeditated intent to kill, is an element. It is very hard to prove without proof of some sort of motive. Practically? You go to a murder trial with no plausible motive and you're going to lose.
    Actually, premeditated intent to kill is not necessarily an element of first-degree murder, if you'll take a look at the sections of the penal code I posted earlier.

    I guess if you think his gun is a weapon of mass destruction?

    Otherwise you're reading it wrong.

    Or I guess you are going under the torture definition? Which is a very specific intent I'm not sure how you'd prove here...
    If you believe his story, then he was going to taze a restrained kid lying on his stomach who was just searched by another cop. How is that not "intent to cause cruel and extreme pain" with a "sadistic purpose?" Or are you arguing that he didn't inflict "great bodily injury?"

  • FeralFeral Who needs a medical license when you've got style? Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    So It Goes wrote: »
    Feral wrote: »
    So It Goes wrote: »
    Intent, specifically premeditated intent to kill, is an element. It is very hard to prove without proof of some sort of motive. Practically? You go to a murder trial with no plausible motive and you're going to lose.

    Technically you don't actually need intent to kill. Intent to harm, coupled with willful disregard for human life, is enough to show second-degree murder.

    He was talking about first degree up there so that's what I was referring to specifically.

    EDIT: I'm addressing it...

    Right. And I don't think that the defense's story describes a willful disregard for human life. Just intent to harm with gross negligence. As I said above, that would make it voluntary manslaughter. (And that's assuming the defense's version of events is reasonable.)

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch, man" fallacy.
  • ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Ketherial wrote: »
    than, i really think your hatred of cops is getting to you.

    if you watch the video you can tell that the cop was shocked himself at what happened. there was no premeditation, just criminal incompetence.

    i mean, do you really think the cop was like (in his head) "imma kill this guy" then did that? motive is not necessary, but mens rea is.

    the intention to kill just isnt there, dude. i just dont see it.
    You'll notice he doesn't freak out until it's pointed out to him that people are videotaping it.

  • So It GoesSo It Goes Well, that seems pretty ludicrous.Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Thanatos wrote: »
    So It Goes wrote: »
    Thanatos wrote: »
    So It Goes wrote: »
    You skipped over those other two things again...

    Intent, specifically premeditated intent to kill, is an element. It is very hard to prove without proof of some sort of motive. Practically? You go to a murder trial with no plausible motive and you're going to lose.
    Actually, premeditated intent to kill is not necessarily an element of first-degree murder, if you'll take a look at the sections of the penal code I posted earlier.

    I guess if you think his gun is a weapon of mass destruction?

    Otherwise you're reading it wrong.

    Or I guess you are going under the torture definition? Which is a very specific intent I'm not sure how you'd prove here...
    If you believe his story, then he was going to taze a restrained kid lying on his stomach who was just searched by another cop. How is that not "intent to cause cruel and extreme pain" with a "sadistic purpose?"

    He said he was going for the taser cause he thought the kid was possibly reaching for a weapon, I thought. That does not seem sadistic to me, nor is there any evidence he wanted to tase the kid repeatedly or upped the voltage or something, which to me would be proof he wanted to cause extreme pain.

    I guess I'm just more inclined to believe what this guy says than you are, and that's that.

    NOPE.
    Vd0n7Bk.jpg
  • BackwardsnameBackwardsname __BANNED USERS
    edited July 2010
    Listen, Than, I know I'm not going to get through to you, because you have a set-in-stone notion of the psychological profile of all police officers in the country; namely, that they are universally (or nearly so) sadistic, cruel, aggressive, and only sought their position of authority in order to abuse it.

    However, I do understand what you're arguing, I just do not think it is at all believable.

    I absolutely believe it is possible that, in his state of arousal following the fight/struggle with Grant, the cop feared for his life that Grant was pulling a weapon, and responded instinctively.

    This is not to excuse his actions, because it is an utter failure of what a police officer is required to do -- act calmly and efficiently, appraise situations competently, and respond with minimally necessary force.

    But it also something that negates intent to kill or torture of any kind. It is, essentially, a mistake. One that nevertheless must be reprimanded severely, and which ought to be addressed institutionally, but fundamentally still a mistake.

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