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rugcat
07-02-2010, 06:20 AM
Johannes Mehserle is a white BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) officer who shot and killed Oscar Grant, a young black man, during a disturbance and arrest on a BART platform.

He maintained it was an accident, and that he had mistakenly drawn and fired his gun when he had meant to fire his taser.

He was charged with first degree murder, and the case, which was moved to LA, is about to go to the jury.

Black people (and young white Berkeley activists) don't believe him. They have repeatedly warned that if the jury does not reach the "correct" verdict, there will be trouble. Oakland police are already gearing up for demonstrations that threaten to turn violent if the verdict is anything but murder.

An interesting case on many levels, touching on race relations, police/community tensions, and the possible effects on jury deliberations given the possibility of riots, as happened after the Rodney King verdict.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/06/30/BAQA1E7DM3.DTL

William Haskins
07-02-2010, 06:27 AM
horrible situation.

people have a right to be outraged, but they don't have the right to become a lynch mob or to wreak destruction on a city as happened in LA with the rodney king riots.

the circumstances appear to me that the cop made a horrible and inexcusable error and did, in fact, draw his gun stupidly thinking it was his taser. no cop in his right mind is going to murder a man in cold blood in those surroundings at that time with that many people around in that way.

just doesn't add up.

unfortunately, blood lust rarely has a need, much less a desire, for logic.

Shadow Dragon
07-02-2010, 06:50 AM
horrible situation.

people have a right to be outraged, but they don't have the right to become a lynch mob or to wreak destruction on a city as happened in LA with the rodney king riots.

the circumstances appear to me that the cop made a horrible and inexcusable error and did, in fact, draw his gun stupidly thinking it was his taser. no cop in his right mind is going to murder a man in cold blood in those surroundings at that time with that many people around in that way.

just doesn't add up.

unfortunately, blood lust rarely has a need, much less a desire, for logic
Agreed on all acounts.

I don't think this was murder in the legal sense. It was manslaughter. If people riot over this, all it does is show how violent they are.

rugcat
07-02-2010, 07:01 AM
I don't think this was murder in the legal sense. It was manslaughter. If people riot over this, all it does is show how violent they are.Can a mistake be considered manslaughter?

I'm not sure of California statutes, but back in Utah it would have been termed negligent homicide, a less serious charge than manslaughter.

But the anger stems from very different perceptions. There is a large segment of the black population that believes, absolutely, that Mehserle intended to shoot Grant, and any verdict other than murder is an example of how the white power structure can get away with murdering a black man, basically for being rowdy.

Doesn't help that there are no black jurors.

SPMiller
07-02-2010, 07:07 AM
Charging him with first-degree murder was a tactical mistake. First degree? Who the hell made that decision? He's clearly guilty of killing the kid. The only question is how to punish him. But if the jury decides first-degree murder is too strong a charge, and if he gets an innocent verdict, then he can't be charged again (double jeopardy), and he won't be punished at all.

backslashbaby
07-02-2010, 07:07 AM
I don't know what I'd do if I were a juror. I don't agree with the sentences for the lesser crimes. I don't think 2nd degree fits well, but I wouldn't let him off with just a few years. This was well above and beyond negligent and stupid. I'd give him the max if I could. Kind of the opposite of jury nullification.

Don
07-02-2010, 07:13 AM
I think this was probably just a monumental screwup on the part of the officer. I don't see any evidence in this case that anything has been whitewashed or covered up. But not everybody takes the rational, case-by-case view.

I think there's a reverse version of crying "Wolf" involved here. Events, or their coverage, have built the perception that lots of cops do bad things and get away with them. The stories of raids gone bad, with innocents and pets killed and major property damage, but no penalties for the officers involved, are legion. People expect TPTB to be more forgiving of officers on patrol than they are of the general populace. Here, there's overwhelming proof. The gun is drawn and fired on video.

Whether the perception is true or not, there are a lot of people who have already decided that the fix is in, just like always. The filing of first-degree charges only does look a little suspect, on second thought.

This is blowback from any number of cases that have been whitewashed, but not successfully swept under the rug.

Amadan
07-02-2010, 07:17 AM
Charging him with first-degree murder was a tactical mistake. First degree? Who the hell made that decision? He's clearly guilty of killing the kid. The only question is how to punish him. But if the jury decides first-degree murder is too strong a charge, and if he gets an innocent verdict, then he can't be charged again (double jeopardy), and he won't be punished at all.

If you read the article, you'll see that the jury has been given the option of finding him guilty on a range of charges, from second degree murder to involuntary manslaughter.

The cop should do time, no question about it. But first degree murder was definitely an overreach.

SPMiller
07-02-2010, 07:20 AM
If you read the article, you'll see that the jury has been given the option of finding him guilty on a range of charges, from second degree murder to involuntary manslaughter.

The cop should do time, no question about it. But first degree murder was definitely an overreach.Ah, well, that's good. I still think first degree was a terrible idea, because I don't think he'd actually get convicted on that. But his ass better go to prison. If the jury has flexibility to apply a variety of guilties and finds him innocent anyway, I'd consider going out into the streets, too.

rugcat
07-02-2010, 07:22 AM
Charging him with first-degree murder was a tactical mistake. First degree? Who the hell made that decision? He's clearly guilty of killing the kid. The only question is how to punish him. But if the jury decides first-degree murder is too strong a charge, and if he gets an innocent verdict, then he can't be charged again (double jeopardy), and he won't be punished at all.Actually, the judge took the first degree option off the table, ruling that absolutely no evidence of premeditation had been presented.

But he's allowing the jury to decide on what's called "lesser included" charges. They can either acquit or can convict on second degree murder, or on voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter.

This was over the objections of the defense, who wanted all or nothing, believing (correctly, imo) the jury would refuse to convict on first degree charges.

Don
07-02-2010, 07:28 AM
Actually, the judge took the first degree option off the table, ruling that absolutely no evidence of premeditation had been presented.

But he's allowing the jury to decide on what's called "lesser included" charges. They can either acquit or can convict on second degree murder, or on voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter.

This was over the objections of the defense, who wanted all or nothing, believing (correctly, imo) the jury would refuse to convict on first degree charges.
Ah, I stand corrected. Thanks for the clarification.

Shadow Dragon
07-02-2010, 08:11 AM
Can a mistake be considered manslaughter?
Depending on the mistake, yes. The first part of involuntary manslaughter reads:
1) Mehserle committed a lawful act but with "criminal negligence."

Tasing the suspect would be considered a lawful act. But he acted with haste (at least too much haste for the situation) and pulled his gun rather than his taser. This type of mistake by a trained officer would be considered negligence, in my opinion.

Though I do not think he is guilty of the two larger charges.

rugcat
07-02-2010, 08:30 AM
Depending on the mistake, yes. I think it depends on how the stature is written. CA's involuntary manslaughter statute seems to mirror Utah's negligent homicide, the key being the lack of intent.

clintl
07-02-2010, 09:09 AM
I think involuntary manslaughter would be the right charge to convict him on.

However, I also think that if you can't tell by the feel whether you're holding a gun or a taser, then the taser design needs some serious modifications.

rugcat
07-02-2010, 09:42 AM
I think involuntary manslaughter would be the right charge to convict him on.

However, I also think that if you can't tell by the feel whether you're holding a gun or a taser, then the taser design needs some serious modifications.Some departments mandate that the taser must be positioned so that it can only be drawn with the off hand, for exactly that reason.

Still it's hard to credit. I can understand making a mistake in a panic situation, like when someone suddenly pulls a gun on you and you're blindly clawing at your own weapon.

But here? I just don't get how that mistake could happen. On the other hand, it's incomprehensible that he would have deliberately decided to shoot the kid for no reason.

nighttimer
07-02-2010, 03:55 PM
horrible situation.

people have a right to be outraged, but they don't have the right to become a lynch mob or to wreak destruction on a city as happened in LA with the rodney king riots.

the circumstances appear to me that the cop made a horrible and inexcusable error and did, in fact, draw his gun stupidly thinking it was his taser. no cop in his right mind is going to murder a man in cold blood in those surroundings at that time with that many people around in that way.

just doesn't add up.

unfortunately, blood lust rarely has a need, much less a desire, for logic.

I am far less offended by the reaction than I am by the provocation (http://www.sfgate.com/g/av/movies/2010/06/24/66710@kpix.dayport.com.cbs5.bcv). It's real easy to condemn the violence of the rioters but it's even easier to ignore the reckless use of deadly force by the cops.

When the L.A. riots jumped off in 1992 it's worth recalling nothing happened until the Simi Valley jury blew a big wet sloppy kiss to Stacy Koon and the other LAPD officers. "A riot is the language of the unheard," Dr. King said and he was absolutely right.

If this is such a horrible and inexcusable error then Johannes Mehserle should do hard time for the shooting of Oscar Grant. If justice means the innocent are exonerated it must also mean the guilty are punished.

Just like the cops who killed Amadou Diallo and Sean Bell or beat the crap out of Rodney King were. :rolleyes

nighttimer
07-02-2010, 03:59 PM
However, I also think that if you can't tell by the feel whether you're holding a gun or a taser, then the taser design needs some serious modifications.

Or maybe you shouldn't be issued a gun or a taser until you're fully competent and qualified with both. Lethal weapons should not be in the hands of ill-prepared, incompetent individuals.

Don
07-02-2010, 05:19 PM
Or maybe you shouldn't be issued a gun or a taser until you're fully competent and qualified with both. Lethal weapons should not be in the hands of ill-prepared, incompetent individuals.
There's no such thing as an ill-prepared or incompetent employee of the state. That would imply failure of the state indoctrination system. That could get you tazed, or shot. So could the actual failure.

They are also perfect paragons of virtue. Wings and a halo are granted upon employment.

Fools, misfits, and greedy, evil souls are only found in the private sector.

robeiae
07-02-2010, 05:39 PM
But here? I just don't get how that mistake could happen. On the other hand, it's incomprehensible that he would have deliberately decided to shoot the kid for no reason.
Agree.

Torgo
07-02-2010, 06:50 PM
But here? I just don't get how that mistake could happen. On the other hand, it's incomprehensible that he would have deliberately decided to shoot the kid for no reason.

Having seen the video, I honestly don't see why he was even reaching for the taser. Unless it was simply a malicious desire to tase someone.

Amadan
07-02-2010, 07:08 PM
Having seen the video, I honestly don't see why he was even reaching for the taser. Unless it was simply a malicious desire to tase someone.

That was my reaction, too. The kid was not resisting or posing a threat. I doubt the cop decided then and there to execute him in cold blood, but he probably did think he could get away with tasing him for mouthing off.

William Haskins
07-09-2010, 06:07 AM
A jury has convicted a former BART officer of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of an unarmed man on an Oakland train platform. Johannes Mehserle was found guilty on Thursday in the New Year's Day 2009 killing of 22-year-old Oscar Grant III. Involuntary manslaughter carries a sentence of two to four years.

http://cbs5.com/

veinglory
07-09-2010, 06:11 AM
the circumstances appear to me that the cop made a horrible and inexcusable error and did, in fact, draw his gun stupidly thinking it was his taser.

The transit cops who were actually there seemed a little dubious, as this explanation was not mentioned until days afterwards. There is also the issue of the two devices not being all that similar in the hand.... I think there is a little doubt on the whole matter.

veinglory
07-09-2010, 06:21 AM
Some departments mandate that the taser must be positioned so that it can only be drawn with the off hand, for exactly that reason.

"Mehserle's stun gun was mounted on his front left side, while his handgun was on his right."

Also his handgun was in a holster with a two-movement safety lever to avoid a perp-grab.

rugcat
07-09-2010, 06:29 AM
The transit cops who were actually there seemed a little dubious, as this explanation was not mentioned until days afterwards. There is also the issue of the two devices not being all that similar in the hand.... I think there is a little doubt on the whole matter.But in our legal system, in order to convict it must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. We all may have doubts about exactly what happened, but doubt is the very point.

I'm going to watch the local coverage, about to air in SF.

backslashbaby
07-09-2010, 07:03 AM
A jury has convicted a former BART officer of involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of an unarmed man on an Oakland train platform. Johannes Mehserle was found guilty on Thursday in the New Year's Day 2009 killing of 22-year-old Oscar Grant III. Involuntary manslaughter carries a sentence of two to four years.

http://cbs5.com/

Damn. 2-4 years.

clintl
07-09-2010, 07:30 AM
Damn. 2-4 years.

There's an enhancement for using a gun in the crime that could add 3-10 years to that, though.

MacAllister
07-09-2010, 11:00 AM
A thoughtful essay about it all (http://www.prospect.org/csnc/blogs/adam_serwer_archive?month=07&year=2010&base_name=oscar_grant_a_victim_of_americ):
Fear is at the core of questions of justice involving the deaths of black people at the hands of the authorities in the United States of America, dating back to when Toussaint L'Overture put the fear of G-d in slaveowners by revealing that their "property" might someday rise up against them. L'Overture still has that effect on some people. Following emancipation we were the days when "justice" was meted out in the South by terrorists posing as vigilantes. Even then, when such atrocities were an accepted part of black life, people inside and outside the South found ways to sympathize with the anger and fear white Southerners felt towards their black neighbors--The New York Times editorialized in the 1890s that no "reputable or respectable negro" had ever been lynched.

rugcat
07-09-2010, 11:48 AM
An interesting article, but not relevant to this particular situation, I'd say.

This case has become a focal point for general anger and resentment, much of it justified, but the feelings it's engendered have little to do with the facts.

Meserle made a tragic mistake, imo. And he'll pay for it -- the sentence is projected to be between five and fourteen years, and he'll have to serve 85% of it. That's not exactly a slap on the wrist.

But for many, it's not enough. It's become the rallying point for protesting a "broken system.

But what exactly is broken here? There was no attempted cover up. The case was thoroughly investigated and the DA brought a charge of first degree murder. (Which I believe was totally unwarranted by the facts. And the judge agreed, stating that absolutely no evidence had been presented to sustain such a charge.)

Meserle was placed on trial, and the jury, from LA, heard the evidence and came to the conclusion that he was guilty not of murder or voluntary manslaughter, but of involuntary manslaughter.

That's how the system is supposed to work. Just because you disagree with a jury doesn't mean the system is broken. In fact, before the trial, many people were saying that if he wasn't convicted of murder there would be riots. (In Oakland there were several stores looted and fires set, but nothing major.)

For many, it's obvious that Meserle deliberately shot Grant. But for many others, it's equally obvious that he didn't mean to -- or at the very least, there's considerable doubt, and you don't convict a man for murder based on a personal hunch.

What it comes down to is the attitude that if one's opinion differs from the jury, that means the system is broken. Sorry, that's total bull.

nighttimer
07-09-2010, 03:36 PM
Sorry to say, rugcat, I'm going to have to disagree with you. I don't see this verdict as a vindication of the system. This verdict is a complete aberration. The system more often than not tolerates bad police conduct when it doesn't simply rubber stamp it.

MacAllister's link to the Adam Server article is on point where he observes, "American law has been sanctioning the killing of black people to mollify white fear for centuries...We scare the shit out of America. And that fear excuses just about any reaction it spawns." Mehserle is profoundly unlucky to be punished at all."

The judgment handed down on Mehserle isn't proof the system works. He's the exception to the rule. He fucked up up in such an egregious manner that he made it nearly impossible to ignore or sanction his poor police work. I say "nearly" because there are more than enough places in the U.S. generally and California specifically (I'm looking at you, Simi Valley) that would had found a way to let him skate away unpunished, no matter what the unblinking camera revealed.

I take no pleasure in Mehserle's fate, but compared to the death sentence he handed down on Oscar Grant, I'm not about to feel sorry for him either.

Don
07-09-2010, 06:06 PM
I'm with nighttimer here. The publicity from day one is the only reason this trial even happened in the first place. Had there been any way to sweep this under the rug, it would have been done. The examples of just that happening are way too numerous to ignore anymore. And while there's certainly a racist component, I don't pretend to feel safe from such abuse simply because I'm an old white guy, either.

I'll stop there before I earn myself a time out.

Amadan
07-09-2010, 06:14 PM
I'm with nighttimer here. The publicity from day one is the only reason this trial even happened in the first place. Had there been any way to sweep this under the rug, it would have been done. The examples of just that happening are way too numerous to ignore anymore. And while there's certainly a racist component, I don't pretend to feel safe from such abuse simply because I'm an old white guy, either.

Oh dear, I agree with Don.

"The system worked" because this time, there wasn't much wiggle room to give him a pass. He shot a helpless, unarmed kid in front of a whole bunch of witnesses, on camera. The best they could do for him was decide it was an "unfortunate accident" (hence involuntary manslaughter). Without the witnesses and the cell phone cameras, the cop probably wouldn't have faced charges, and almost certainly wouldn't have been convicted.

"The system" isn't just the output of a jury trial (which is, more often than not, at least something approximating justice). "The system" is also all the societal factors and circumstances contributing to whether or not a particular case ever makes it to trial. When cops who do egregious shit like this are routinely charged, then I'll believe the system works, even if some of them occasionally walk.

Don
07-09-2010, 06:31 PM
Yep, equating "the judicial system" to the jury is as fallacious as equating "the political system" to the voting booth.

Juries don't convict criminals never charged. Voters don't elect candidates never allowed on the ticket.

Don
07-09-2010, 08:53 PM
It looks like this may not be over yet (http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news%2Flocal%2Feast_bay&id=7545102).
The U.S. Department of Justice will conduct an independent review of the Johannes Mehserle case in order to determine whether or not the shooting merits federal prosecution, according the department.

"The Justice Department has been closely monitoring the state's investigation and prosecution," the department said in a statement.

"The Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney's Office, and the FBI have an open investigation into the fatal shooting and, at the conclusion of the state's prosecution, will conduct an independent review of the facts and circumstances to determine whether the evidence warrants federal prosecution."

clintl
07-09-2010, 08:55 PM
Actually, I agree with rugcat and nighttimer. The system worked, but it's likely it wouldn't have without the witness video.

rugcat
07-09-2010, 09:28 PM
Sorry to say, rugcat, I'm going to have to disagree with you. I don't see this verdict as a vindication of the system. This verdict is a complete aberration. The system more often than not tolerates bad police conduct when it doesn't simply rubber stamp it.I'm not pointing to this case as proof the system works. I'm addressing the contention by many that the case is proof that the system is "broken."

There are numerous instances around the country where the system failed utterly. This isn't one of them.

Don
07-09-2010, 09:34 PM
I'm not pointing to this case as proof the system works. I'm addressing the contention by many that the case is proof that the system is "broken."

There are numerous instances around the country where the system failed utterly. This isn't one of them.
Even a "broken" clock is right... twice a day. :D

Don
07-10-2010, 12:18 AM
Pssst.... William!



#34

William Haskins
06-13-2011, 06:10 PM
A former San Francisco Bay area transit officer convicted of the fatal shooting of an unarmed man on an Oakland train station platform was released from jail early Monday after serving 11 months of a two-year sentence, officials said.

Johannes Mehserle was set free from a Los Angeles County jail, where he served his time after his attention-getting trial was moved to Southern California, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore said.

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-mew-mehserle-released,0,6436633.story

Don
06-13-2011, 06:58 PM
Well, it's not like he killed anybody important or anything, and he was one of the annoited, so how could he do wrong. :sarcasm

Does he get his job back right away, or will he have to wait awhile for the angst to die down, get a pardon from the Governor, and all that?

nighttimer
06-13-2011, 10:02 PM
Eleven fucking months for shooting a handcuffed, unarmed man in the back. Michael Vick got more time for killing dogs.

What a sick, sick joke this is. It's legalized murder. Oscar Grant is still dead. Where's his parole?

There's no justice for a Black man in this country. NONE.

Romantic Heretic
06-13-2011, 10:24 PM
Jesus H. Christ. :(

rugcat
06-13-2011, 10:53 PM
Eleven fucking months for shooting a handcuffed, unarmed man in the back. Michael Vick got more time for killing dogs.

What a sick, sick joke this is. It's legalized murder. Oscar Grant is still dead. Where's his parole?

There's no justice for a Black man in this country. NONE.We've had this argument before. Clearly you believe the shooting was intentional and racially motivated.

Mehserle's contention, and one that a jury who heard all the evidence found to be credible, was that the shooting was accidental. It's really not a case for outrage.

If you want outrage, consider the case of Geronimo Pratt (http://nyc.indymedia.org/en/2011/06/115200.shtml) who died last week in Tanzania. Framed for murder by the LAPD and Hoover's FBI, as part of a concerted effort to destroy the Black Panthers and stop social change.

Mehserle was nothing more than a poorly trained incompetent whose stupidity, not malice, caused a young man's death. Manslaughter? Yes. An outrage against justice? I don't think so.

nighttimer
06-14-2011, 01:27 AM
We've had this argument before. Clearly you believe the shooting was intentional and racially motivated.

Mehserle's contention, and one that a jury who heard all the evidence found to be credible, was that the shooting was accidental. It's really not a case for outrage.

That's your opinion. Mine is when someone gets less time behind bars for killing a man than a dog, if that isn't a goddamned outrage, nothing qualifies.

If you want outrage, consider the case of Geronimo Pratt (http://nyc.indymedia.org/en/2011/06/115200.shtml) who died last week in Tanzania. Framed for murder by the LAPD and Hoover's FBI, as part of a concerted effort to destroy the Black Panthers and stop social change.

Was he handcuffed and shot in the back? No. Pratt got royally screwed by the government, but he wasn't murdered and his killer set free, so you're reaching for a really bad example of false equivalency.

What happened to Geronimo Pratt doesn't remotely justify what happened to Oscar Grant, so stop trying to trivialize his killing.

Mehserle was nothing more than a poorly trained incompetent whose stupidity, not malice, caused a young man's death. Manslaughter? Yes. An outrage against justice? I don't think so.

It was murder and Mehserle got away with a slap on the wrist. He gets to pick up the pieces of his life and start all over again. Grant still gets to lie in the ground.

There's your outrage. And there is no justice. NONE.

rugcat
06-14-2011, 01:37 AM
TWhat happened to Geronimo Pratt doesn't remotely justify what happened to Oscar Grant, so stop trying to trivialize his killing.What happened to Pratt was an example of government orchestrating a frame-up for political purposes, the way totalitarian gov'ts routinely do. It's immensely important, not only as history, but as a cautionary tale for today. And there's no doubt about what happened.It was murder and Mehserle got away with a slap on the wrist. Your assertion it was murder is your opinion. I disagree. The jury disagreed.

nighttimer
06-14-2011, 02:07 AM
Your assertion it was murder is your opinion. I disagree. The jury disagreed.

Which means what exactly? Juries have been known to give cops and even toy cops the benefit of the doubt when the officer is White and the victim is Black.

Does Simi Valley ring a bell? What about Amadou Diallo (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/nation/specials/aroundthenation/nypd/) or Sean Bell (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2000/03/25/national/main176270.shtml) and Patrick Dorismond? (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2000/03/25/national/main176270.shtml)

Don't try to sell me any crap about juries and justice because those are two mutually exclusive things. When they want a cop to walk, he walks.

The brother stays dead.

That is not an opinion. That is a fact.

rugcat
06-14-2011, 02:33 AM
Which means what exactly? Juries have been known to give cops and even toy cops the benefit of the doubt when the officer is White and the victim is Black. I'm not gong to argue with you any more about this. I live here; I followed this case intently from the day of the shooting. You're convinced it's a racial murder, always have been, and nothing will change your mind.

Fine. I'm equally convinced it was unintentional. Let's leave it at that.

William Haskins
06-14-2011, 02:56 AM
i stand by my assessment of the situation as stated in post #2.

that said, mehserle should have done every single day to which he was sentenced.

nighttimer
06-14-2011, 08:42 AM
I'm not gong to argue with you any more about this. I live here; I followed this case intently from the day of the shooting. You're convinced it's a racial murder, always have been, and nothing will change your mind.

We agree on that point and nothing you've said in Mehserle's defense has altered my opinion one iota.

My perspective is colored by my race. Yours is colored by your former profession.

The difference is I confess to my bias.

Fine. I'm equally convinced it was unintentional. Let's leave it at that.

I would leave it at that if Oscar Grant wasn't still dead and rotting away and Johannes Mehserle very much alive and free. That makes it impossible to just shrug and "leave it at that."

I've expressed my outrage several times on this board when police officers were murdered. Apparently, that's a sentiment not so readily reciprocated when it's a Black victim and a White cop in the equation.

That's something to file away for future reference. :guns:

nighttimer
06-14-2011, 08:53 AM
i stand by my assessment of the situation as stated in post #2.

that said, mehserle should have done every single day to which he was sentenced.

I stand by my assessment of the situation as stated in posts #16 & 17.

That said, it's quite magnanimous of you to make such an enlightened observation about Mehserle's contemptibly light sentence. I'm sure another 13 months and he surely would have seen the error of his ways.

:sarcasm

Zoombie
06-14-2011, 08:57 AM
Shit.

Really, I could say more, but Nighttimer has already said it. So I think I'll just stick to reiterating it.

Shit.

Bartholomew
06-14-2011, 09:21 AM
Oohh, that's not good. That's not good at all.

rugcat
06-14-2011, 10:25 AM
That's something to file away for future reference. What's that? That I disagree with you, strongly? Or that because I disagree on what happened, I must be biased and unable to look at the facts?

Get a grip, NT.

nighttimer
06-14-2011, 11:00 AM
What's that? That I disagree with you, strongly? Or that because I disagree on what happened, I must be biased and unable to look at the facts?

Yes.

Get a grip, NT.

The way Mehserle got a grip on his taser gun? :e2thud:

William Haskins
06-14-2011, 05:44 PM
That said, it's quite magnanimous of you to make such an enlightened observation about Mehserle's contemptibly light sentence. I'm sure another 13 months and he surely would have seen the error of his ways.

yeah i wasn't going for magnanimity; just stating my opinion that the cop should have done the time (which is not the same as agreeing with the light sentence in the first place).

sorry if i got in the way of your 'angry black man' schtick.

Jcomp
06-14-2011, 07:27 PM
But what exactly is broken here? There was no attempted cover up.

Didn't they immediately try to confiscate all the cell phone cameras in the vicinity after the killing?

I'm not exactly 1st Team All Angry Minority, but 11 months does seem insanely light for shooting a man in the back while he's restrained and lying on the ground, even if by "accident."

Williebee
06-14-2011, 07:45 PM
(Not aimed at you, J, just following you around. :) )

I haven't seen anyone arguing that the 11 months in jail was enough time. Was the shooting a racist act? Some say yes, some say no.

If there was past evidence of this BART Officer's racism, (Was there? I don't remember.) I might be more ready to jump on the racist bandwagon. As it is, and as it is in most things, I'm more willing to expect stupid before sinister.

nighttimer
06-14-2011, 08:33 PM
sorry if i got in the way of your 'angry black man' schtick.

As opposed to your "angry White man" schtick where you just started a thread (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=216555) with "bullshit" in the title?"

Yeah, you're the go-to guy to talk about keeping it cool.

I'm not exactly 1st Team All Angry Minority, but 11 months does seem insanely light for shooting a man in the back while he's handcuffed and lying on the ground, even if by "accident."

Details, JComp, details.

Save your outrage for something really serious. Like fringe loser presidential candidates being excluded from debates seven months before the Iowa caucuses.

(Not aimed at you, J, just following you around. :) )

I haven't seen anyone arguing that the 11 months in jail was enough time. Was the shooting a racist act? Some say yes, some say no.

If there was past evidence of this BART Officer's racism, (Was there? I don't remember.) I might be more ready to jump on the racist bandwagon. As it is, and as it is in most things, I'm more willing to expect stupid before sinister.

How many unarmed, handcuffed Black men lying on their stomachs have to get shot in the back before you are willing to "jump on the racist bandwagon," Williebee?

I'm just curious as to what the magic number is before you do expect sinister before stupid.

William Haskins
06-14-2011, 08:38 PM
As opposed to your "angry White man" schtick where you just started a thread (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=216555) with "bullshit" in the title?"

Yeah, you're the go-to guy to talk about keeping it cool.

i fail to see how a thread about the presidential debates involves race one way or another. you're raving.

Jcomp
06-14-2011, 08:44 PM
(Not aimed at you, J, just following you around. :) )

I haven't seen anyone arguing that the 11 months in jail was enough time. Was the shooting a racist act? Some say yes, some say no.

If there was past evidence of this BART Officer's racism, (Was there? I don't remember.) I might be more ready to jump on the racist bandwagon. As it is, and as it is in most things, I'm more willing to expect stupid before sinister.

No big. My thing is though, when it comes to something this egregious, I don't really see too much difference between stupid and sinister. If you can do something that careless and stupid from a position of authority that results in taking someone's life, I think you need to pay a heavier cost.

I also tend to agree with Don that this probably wouldn't have received a fraction of the publicity and may not have even gone to trial without the video evidence of the homicide.

I feel the same about what happened with Ian Tomlinson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Ian_Tomlinson) and Jose Guerena (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/25/jose-guerena-arizona-_n_867020.html). I don't want cops feeling like they can't act and don't want to make it into "us vs. them" because it's more nuanced than that, but in situations where there appears to be pretty clear abuse of authority or uncanny incompetence afoot, I hate to see the Department close ranks and get defensive. Especially when it results in someone's death. It's one thing to shoot someone by mistake in the in the dark, at a distance, maybe when they're holding a toy gun or some shit. I dunno. But to pull your gun when you thought you pulled your taser and take somebody out of this world at point blank range?

Man, fuck that guy and fuck his stupidity (and P.S., fuck any other officer who was trying to confiscate phone cameras in the immediate aftermath). 11 months isn't enough.

robeiae
06-14-2011, 08:47 PM
I still don't buy that story--that he thought he was pulling his taser--but it's possible he didn't mean to shoot.

Regardless, as you say Jcomp, that level of stupidity required a much harsher penalty, imo. MUCH harsher.

rugcat
06-14-2011, 09:36 PM
No big. My thing is though, when it comes to something this egregious, I don't really see too much difference between stupid and sinister. If you can do something that careless and stupid from a position of authority that results in taking someone's life, I think you need to pay a heavier cost. That may well be.

The problem I have is with the knee-jerk position that casts this as a case of a racist cop deliberately gunning down a black man. This is a position that many have taken -- they took it before the trial, before any of the facts were known, and it's an unshakable emotional belief.

The corollary is the position that anyone who believes the shooting was unintentional must be blind, racist, incapable of looking at facts, and needs to be watched carefully in the future -- you know, like me.

As I said, I probably followed this case more closely than anyone here, since it was in my own backyard. For example, who else here watched the hour long interview with Mehserle after his conviction?

When it first happened, it certainly sounded like a cop gone bad. It was only after following the case and reading testimony (including Mehserle's, who took the stand) that I came to believe it was an idiotic, senseless, and tragic fuck-up, not a deliberate murder.

Holding this opinion is apparently unacceptable, though, revealing unpleasant truths about my own character. Well, it may reveal unpleasant truths about character, but not mine, imo.

If there was past evidence of this BART Officer's racism, (Was there? I don't remember.) I might be more ready to jump on the racist bandwagon. As it is, and as it is in most things, I'm more willing to expect stupid before sinister. Despite intensive scrutiny, no evidence or even allegation emerged that Mehserle had ever previously exhibited racist attitudes, aggressiveness, or "cowboy cop" mentality.

Here's an excerpt of the judge's assessment and reasons for his sentencing. People may disagree with his reasoning -- but it's not-ill thought out or racist.

Except to some.

http://streetvisuals.posterous.com/mehserle-sentence-in-the-judges-words

nighttimer
06-14-2011, 09:43 PM
i fail to see how a thread about the presidential debates involves race one way or another. you're raving.

And you're dissembling.

Of course you fail to see how your "angry White man" schtick more than cancels out my "angry Black man" schtick. This is exactly the type of disingenuousness you excel at.

Same as it ever was. :rolleyes

And Oscar Grant is still dead.

nighttimer
06-14-2011, 09:55 PM
There is this line of thought being peddled that Oscar Grant was the victim of a tragic "accident" and Johannes Mehserle was a good BART cop who didn't have a racist bone in his body and sadly made a tragic, but understandable mistake.

That line is odious bullshit. (http://www.theroot.com/buzz/oscar-grants-family-we-werent-allowed-protest-mehserles-release)


A former transit officer convicted in the fatal shooting of an unarmed man at an Oakland train station was released from jail early Monday without relatives being allowed to lodge a protest, an uncle of the slain man said.

"They snuck him out," Cephus Johnson, 53, a systems engineer, said during a demonstration outside U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles.


Johannes Mehserle, 29, was released after serving 11 months of a two-year sentence for involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of Oscar Grant III on New Year's Day 2009.


Grainy video footage of the shooting showed Mehserle, who is white, firing one round into the back of Grant, who was black.


Mehserle testified he meant to use his Taser but mistakenly grabbed his pistol. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Robert Perry ruled Friday that Mehserle should be given credit for time served and good behavior.


Johnson said he was on the phone with a court clerk as the judge was issuing his decision. The clerk told him the hearing on the release would be held Monday morning, Johnson said.


"Nobody seemed to know the actual release date," Johnson said. "We are entitled under the Victim's Bill of Rights to speak, and we would have liked to have been heard."

A court representative was not immediately available to comment on Johnson's allegations.


Johnson said he read in the Los Angeles Times that Mehserle would be released Monday and went to the jail early in the morning to await his departure. But the inmate never appeared.


Johnson said he received a recorded message notifying him of the release a half-hour after Mehserle left custody at 12:01 a.m.


"It was very sneaky," Johnson said. "Celebrities as well as others have to walk out that door. Why was he allowed to slip out the back door as if it never happened?"Sneaking a killer out the back door after he is set free for his "good behavior" which cancels out the bad mistake that took a man's life. What an act of shameful cowardice.

If Oscar Grant had "accidentally" killed Mehserle, there is not a chance in hell he would get to walk out early for gunning down a cop. That would just not happen.

Jcomp
06-14-2011, 09:56 PM
That may well be.

The problem I have is with the knee-jerk position that casts this as a case of a racist cop deliberately gunning down a black man. This is a position that many have taken -- they took it before the trial, before any of the facts were known, and it's an unshakable emotional belief.

The corollary is the position that anyone who believes the shooting was unintentional must be blind, racist, incapable of looking at facts, and needs to be watched carefully in the future -- you know, like me.

As I said, I probably followed this case more closely than anyone here, since it was in my own backyard. For example, who else here watched the hour long interview with Mehserle after his conviction?

When it first happened, it certainly sounded like a cop gone bad. It was only after following the case and reading testimony (including Mehserle's, who took the stand) that I came to believe it was an idiotic, senseless, and tragic fuck-up, not a deliberate murder.

Holding this opinion is apparently unacceptable, though, revealing unpleasant truths about my own character. Well, it may reveal unpleasant truths about character, but not mine, imo.

Despite intensive scrutiny, no evidence or even allegation emerged that Mehserle had ever previously exhibited racist attitudes, aggressiveness, or "cowboy cop" mentality.

Here's an excerpt of the judge's assessment and reasons for his sentencing. People may disagree with his reasoning -- but it's not-ill thought out or racist.

Except to some.

http://streetvisuals.posterous.com/mehserle-sentence-in-the-judges-words

Ok, but why are you quoting me with this response? Your beef appears to be with NT, no? We aren't the same dude, you know. I never brought up the "racist cop" bit, and I only quoted you to address the "no attempt at cover-up" since I have a big problem with the attempted confiscation of video evidence. I certainly never implicitly accused you of having any racial bias.

Save the "black vs. white" debate shit for someone who's actually having that debate. Why fucking quote me while throwing out a counterargument that isn't relevent to anything that I gotdamn said?

Michael Wolfe
06-14-2011, 10:07 PM
I still don't buy that story--that he thought he was pulling his taser--but it's possible he didn't mean to shoot.


Admittedly I haven't followed this story very closely, so maybe I'm mistaken here, but I thought his own claim was that he did intend to fire. Just with the taser, instead of the handgun.

rugcat
06-14-2011, 10:11 PM
Ok, but why are you quoting me with this response? Your beef appears to be with NT, no? Sorry. It was not in any way directed at you.

I quoted you only because you illustrated a rational position -- was the punishment appropriate, even if it was an accident? And it provided a starting point for contrast to a different position.

Did not mean to drag you in, and apologies.

Plot Device
06-14-2011, 10:25 PM
Someone here at AW pointed out that the cop might have been mildly impaired in judgement via alcohol. The very notion that he might have been impaired was offered up only due to the fact that the crime happened on New Year's Day, and so perhaps he still might have had some alcohol in his body leftover from the night before. No one offered any proof that the cop a) had even been drinking, or b) was found to have traces of alcohol in his system. But the ongoing question of "How could he not know it wasn't the tazer that he had in his hand?" might be answered to satisfaction via that theory.

If he DID have any hangover impairment that day, then other charges should have been brought as well.

Michael Wolfe
06-14-2011, 10:31 PM
But the ongoing question of "How could he not know it wasn't the tazer that he had in his hand?" might be answered to satisfaction via that theory.



No, I don't think that would be a credible explanation. If he'd been downright drunk, evidence of that would have surfaced by now. And if he wasn't drunk but had been drunk the night before, and still had some alcohol left in his system, I would not find it plausible that that would cause such a major mistake.

Plot Device
06-14-2011, 10:34 PM
No, I don't think that would be a credible explanation. If he'd been downright drunk, evidence of that would have surfaced by now. And if he wasn't drunk but had been drunk the night before, and still had some alcohol left in his system, I would not find it plausible that that would cause such a major mistake.


I personally have never been that drunk.

Nor have I ever had a killer hangover.

So I can't comment any further.

robeiae
06-14-2011, 10:42 PM
Admittedly I haven't followed this story very closely, so maybe I'm mistaken here, but I thought his own claim was that he did intend to fire. Just with the taser, instead of the handgun.
Dunno. But in the video, the guy seemed to be under the control of the cops and not a threat in the moment. So I don't see why he would have intended to fire anything.

Regardless, he drew the weapon, held it firmly, aimed, and shot by my viewing (and again, I'd allow that the "shot" part could have been accidental). I just don't understand how he could have though it was a taser.

Williebee
06-14-2011, 10:43 PM
There is this line of thought being peddled that Oscar Grant was the victim of a tragic "accident" and Johannes Mehserle was a good BART cop who didn't have a racist bone in his body and sadly made a tragic, but understandable mistake.

I haven't seen much in the way of claims that Mr. Mehserle was a "good" anything. But so far, the only thing you've proferred that says he is a racist is that the man he shot was black.

If your statement is that racism is alive and far too damn well in America, I'm right there with you. I think most everyone here will be, as well. It's a disease in our culture and a curse on our future. And it is way past time for "We the People" to grow the hell up.


If you can do something that careless and stupid from a position of authority that results in taking someone's life, I think you need to pay a heavier cost.

Damn skippy. And there should be a life changing cost to every person responsible for training him (Mehserle) and putting him on the street.

Michael Wolfe
06-14-2011, 10:58 PM
Dunno. But in the video, the guy seemed to be under the control of the cops and not a threat in the moment. So I don't see why he would have intended to fire anything.

Regardless, he drew the weapon, held it firmly, aimed, and shot by my viewing (and again, I'd allow that the "shot" part could have been accidental). I just don't understand how he could have though it was a taser.

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jul/08/local/la-me-bart-verdict-20100709

This article reports him as testifying that he intended to shoot Oscar Grant. But with the taser.

And apparently, witnesses said that he announced that he was going to fire the taser.

http://articles.sfgate.com/2010-06-19/news/21917415_1_taser-oscar-grant-officer-johannes-mehserle

Like you, I don't know why he would have made such a mistake. Although I have never held or fired a taser, so don't know how similar it is to holding a handgun.

Jcomp
06-14-2011, 11:22 PM
http://articles.latimes.com/2010/jul/08/local/la-me-bart-verdict-20100709

This article reports him as testifying that he intended to shoot Oscar Grant. But with the taser.

And apparently, witnesses said that he announced that he was going to fire the taser.

http://articles.sfgate.com/2010-06-19/news/21917415_1_taser-oscar-grant-officer-johannes-mehserle

Like you, I don't know why he would have made such a mistake. Although I have never held or fired a taser, so don't know how similar it is to holding a handgun.

By all accounts, the issued taser has a significant weight difference from the type of handgun issued to the officers. Also it obviously looks different. Lastly, it was holstered on the opposite side of his body. So based on his defense, this guy's sense of touch, sight and his ability to tell left from right failed him all at once in a singularly catastrophic circumstance. I'd almost be scared to present that as a defense in a court of law for fear that they might declare me incapable of caring for myself.

Michael Wolfe
06-14-2011, 11:29 PM
By all accounts, the issued taser has a significant weight difference from the type of handgun issued to the officers. Also it obviously looks different. Lastly, it was holstered on the opposite side of his body. So based on his defense, this guy's sense of touch, sight and his ability to tell left from right failed him all at once in a singularly catastrophic circumstance. I'd almost be scared to present that as a defense in a court of law for fear that they might declare me incapable of caring for myself.

Yeah, I agree, a lot of things had to go wrong in order for him to make a mistake like this. Of course, stranger things have happened.

But it's also possible that he's just lying about intending to go for the taser. Don't know for sure, either way.

William Haskins
06-14-2011, 11:34 PM
And you're dissembling.

Of course you fail to see how your "angry White man" schtick more than cancels out my "angry Black man" schtick. This is exactly the type of disingenuousness you excel at.

Same as it ever was. :rolleyes

And Oscar Grant is still dead.

how is it dissembling to point out that it is silly to try and tie a thread about a presidential debate, having nothing to do with race, to a racial axe to grind simply as a getchaback for tying your "angry black man" schtick to a thread very much about race, in which you keep invoking "brother" and "the black man," etc.?

it's sloppy and juvenile and, worse, illogical.

i can't decide if you're huey p. newton or wayne newton.

Vince524
06-14-2011, 11:34 PM
Yeah, I agree, a lot of things had to go wrong in order for him to make a mistake like this. Of course, stranger things have happened.

But it's also possible that he's just lying about intending to go for the taser. Don't know for sure, either way.

Anything is possible. The Jury has to rule on what is proven.

However, why would he want to shoot this person with a gun? In front of witnesses?

Motive is a important question. I would assume if this guy knew the victim, or if he had ever displayed behavior or racism or recklessness or this amount of stupidity it would have been presented in trial.

It is such an amazingly stupid thing to do, with such horrible consequences, that one can't help but shake their own head and wonder.

Michael Wolfe
06-14-2011, 11:53 PM
However, why would he want to shoot this person with a gun? In front of witnesses?




To be clear, I wasn't theorizing that he intended to shoot Mr. Grant with the handgun.

As Rob said, it's possible he pulled out the gun intentionally, but did not intend to pull the trigger.

OTOH, that doesn't square with some of the testimony saying that he announced his intention to use the taser.

Vince524
06-14-2011, 11:56 PM
To be clear, I wasn't theorizing that he intended to shoot Mr. Grant with the handgun.

As Rob said, it's possible he pulled out the gun intentionally, but did not intend to pull the trigger.

OTOH, that doesn't square with some of the testimony saying that he announced his intention to use the taser.

No, I get that. I was just wondering, out loud.

I'm trying to think it through. Have you ever donesomething without thinking, like turn of the light as you leave a room, even though there are other people there. Could this be a really, really, really bad version of that? Not an excuse, just trying to understand making such an mistake.

Michael Wolfe
06-15-2011, 12:03 AM
No, I get that. I was just wondering, out loud.

I'm trying to think it through. Have you ever donesomething without thinking, like turn of the light as you leave a room, even though there are other people there. Could this be a really, really, really bad version of that? Not an excuse, just trying to understand making such an mistake.

Ah, OK. Well, of course everyone has done something without thinking about it, at some point.

Could this be an example of that? Sure it could. The LA times article I linked to even said that there have been other cases of officers mistaking guns for tasers.

Like you said, anything is possible here. Or at the very least, many things are possible.

backslashbaby
06-15-2011, 12:19 AM
I could just quote all of JComp's posts, because what he said is exactly how I feel.

I do think it probably had an element of racism, though. I don't get why the cops couldn't see that these guys weren't gangbangers.

I understand that anyone could be dangerous, but I think it would have gone differently had this been a group of white college students. And those kinds of sizing people up as safe or not can include so much racism it's crazy.

serabeara
06-15-2011, 03:36 AM
Okay, I don't think this was racially motivated in that Mehserle saw a black guy and thought "I'm gonna kill this guy." However, I do think that race played a huge part in how things played out here.

From the link rugcat gave:

Video footage showed that, just before the shooting, a second BART officer, Anthony Pirone, taunted Grant by shouting, "Bitch-ass n--, right?"

Yeah, that's going to get a guy to calmly sit there why he's cuffed.

So this guy was basically detained and copping an attitude, and the situation was escalated by the cops - who are supposed to maintain control not rag on the suspects. The kid was called a n-- then shot in the back. And some want so say race had nothing to do with it? I call bullshit on that.

Racial slurs WILL escalate ANY situation. It WILL NOT by any stretch of the imagination get an already upset person to calm down and sit quietly for his cuffs.

It is the police officer's job to maintain control of a situation. Not the job of some young guy who's getting in trouble and obviously going to be emotional about it.

It isn't that I think this guy was killed because the officer wanted to murder a black man. The racial problem to me is in this notion that black men are more dangerous than others because they're, well, black men. I'm sorry, but it's been plain obvious to me that black men get treated straight out the gate with far less tolerance and far more suspicion by the cops than white guys. I sincerely feel that if it had been a bunch of white guys in this situation giving attitude to the cops things would not have escalated like they did.

And tragic accident or not, this cop should have done his time. I think he got off easy with two years for killing a man, though I do think it was probably involuntary manslaughter, and the least he could have done is complete every day of the two years. It is a slap in the face to Grant and his fiends and family to let him out before even a year is up. I can't imagine what those who loved Grant must feel.

And the idiot cop throwing out slurs, don't know what happened to him, but he bears much responsibility for this as well. IMO he did a piss-poor job of controlling the situation, effectively escalating tensions instead. Definitely hope he lost his job. He's a prime example of a dangerous cop. Can't keep a cool head. He's gonna keep escalating situations and somebody isn't gonna be able to handle the tension (cop or suspect) and make a deadly mistake.

backslashbaby
06-15-2011, 05:07 AM
Wow, serabeara, there you go! I'll just say 'what Jcomp and serabeara said :)

The part about escalating tensions is especially important in this case, I think. I can't understand what freaked them out so much.

nighttimer
06-15-2011, 06:36 AM
how is it dissembling to point out that it is silly to try and tie a thread about a presidential debate, having nothing to do with race, to a racial axe to grind simply as a getchaback for tying your "angry black man" schtick to a thread very much about race, in which you keep invoking "brother" and "the black man," etc.?

it's sloppy and juvenile and, worse, illogical.

i can't decide if you're huey p. newton or wayne newton.

Well, when you make up your mind, check yourself for your sloppy, juvenile and worse, illogical hijacking of a thread about Sarah Palin, that had nothing to do with assisted suicide, to throw in a pointless aside about the death of Jack Kervorkian. (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6208930&postcount=61)

When you're working your Angry White Man schtick at least try not to wag your crooked little finger at someone else for the exact same crap you pull.

Sorry, but not really, if the "brother" and "Black man" thing sticks in your craw. But when you get through with you harangue a Black man, Oscar Grant is still dead, and the White man who gunned him down is walking around sucking down free air after doing about as much time as a shoplifter might get.

If I see this through a lens of race it is because you have to be blind to ignore it.

Or just someone who only sees race when it relates to them.

William Haskins
06-15-2011, 05:27 PM
actually i see the racial component to all this and believe a) the cop's sentence was too light and, b (as explicitly expressed here) i believe he should have, at the very least, done every day of the sentence he was given. so philosophically, we're not that far apart on this issue.

and your panther-redux vocabulary doesn't bother me at all; i just see it as a bit of grandstanding -- which, again, is certainly your right (and habit).

but again, you're going off in the weeds a bit. this post (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6246886&postcount=49), wherein you basically say that your past support for murdered police officers should be rewarded with agreement with you on demand, is asinine, not to mention the veiled implication of racism on the part of rugcat, which is even more asinine.

this, coupled with the sloppy logic of comparing mike vick's sentence with that of the cop when they were tried under the criminal codes of two different states smacks of, at best, cynical propagandizing and, at worst, intellectual dishonesty.

therefore, i have no choice but to not only downgrade you from huey p. newton to wayne newton, but from wayne newton to
http://s3.thisnext.com/media/largest_dimension/B8EE3703.jpg

Cranky
06-15-2011, 07:02 PM
Closing this one.