welcome to the fest
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Officer Mehserle shoots dangerous criminal, is convicted
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Sinfest Forum Index -> General Discussion
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Set



Joined: 17 May 2007
Posts: 505
Location: On a bed on a shoreline

PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dude, cops kill minorites every hour of everyday in america. this particular murder happened on new years eve of this year (last janurary). i remember this because i saw that video that very week. and now theyre still talking about a lawsuit? shows how much concern the law in san fransisco or california have for their families loss. this is just a bi-product of a downward spiral united states of america has continued and maintained since before civil rights laws. the only thing that will stop these gun toting injustice keepers is a giant gaping hole in the earth that will swallow them all.
_________________
Quote:
And so, the truth is held in front of veiled eyes. All people need is someone to reveal it.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
WheelsOfConfusion



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
Posts: 12375
Location: Unknown Kaddath

PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unnamed? wrote:
WheelsOfConfusion wrote:

It's possible that aside from being convenient, it's accurate.


I agree that it is likely accurate that many people make stupid mistakes because of the effect of a stressful situation on their psyche. The point I'm trying to make (and I think nathan is making as well) is that to accept "I was in a stressful situation and I didn't know exactly what I was doing" as a means of removing a large portion of responsibility seems to set a certain precedent. You can apply this sort of plea to anyone that does something irresponsible or immoral while in a stressful situation and all of a sudden you have to let them off the hook. The court, after all, has to be consistent.

At some point you have to pick between reality (the fact that it is impossible to accurately estimate a person's mental state and intention during a crime) and a functional judicial system. I'm not up on the history of U.S. law at all, but I don't imagine "I was stressed so I made a mistake" generally flies as a means of fulfilling the legal definition of reasonable doubt. Correct me if I'm wrong.

It seems the majority of this whole "reasonable doubt" is not due to the circumstances of the gun/tazer mix-up, but more to the fact that he's a police officer. We can't really imagine a police officer intentionally murdering a subdued civilian in front of a crowd of people. If you replace the group of police officers with a bunch of thugs, then all of a sudden it's a clear-cut case of murder. Mehserle could have made any other argument for why the shooting was an accident and it probably would also have earned him a reduced sentence. His killing of an unarmed person in the middle of a crowd is nonsensical, and we surmise that something else other than straight-up murder must have been going through the officer's head.


I'm not sure that's the case here. It's not just that the situation was stressful therefore it's nobody's fault and now all rulings in any case with that argument have to be the same, which seems to be what you imply. A different jury could find differently in another case and not run afoul of any precedence requirement.
At some point you do need to have "a functional judicial system," but at the same time the more divorced that system is from the best available understanding of how humans work the less just it will be. A justice system that treats homosexuality as a serious, criminal mental illness, for example, can be "functional" but unjust, while one that recognizes being gay doesn't mean being dangerously crazy can also be functional and more just. It may be that even the standards we have now are not suitable in light of new evidence of how human beings react under stress, or other situations.
That's not always satisfying to think about but it bears consideration.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Unnamed?



Joined: 14 Apr 2007
Posts: 224

PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 5:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suppose where I'm getting hung up is that I'm with Willem in thinking that the situation is very much on the "not so doubtful" side of "reasonable doubt". The officer was in a group of other armed officers, with all potential threats sitting on their asses and the target subdued on the ground. He has his taser out, puts it away and takes out his real gun, aims and shoots the person in the back. Then he claims that he was so stressed that he couldn't tell the difference between his bright yellow taser and his heavy gun. Is this possible? Of course. I've met people who freak out and do completely spastic things in the slightest of stressful situations. I just feel that if a situation like this creates enough reasonable doubt for the officer to have a lesser sentence, I'd imagine that any officers who shoots someone when he/she shouldn't have, they can claim a similar plea. I understand that this decision doesn't set a legal precedent, but it does set a social one. I feel like a great number of arrests occur in much more stressful situations than Mehserle's. He has backup, no other clear threats, and his target on the ground. If he can successfully claim to be stressed beyond being responsible for his actions, I don't see what prevents this same claim being made by other arresting officers who decide to shoot their perp, especially when I see his situation to be on the lower bound of of some "stress scale".


I rarely get invested enough in Sinfest's threads to actually post anything. Honestly I'm not quite sure why this whole incident bothers me so much. I've been trying to parse it out, but no real success other than the discussion we're having now.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
WheelsOfConfusion



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
Posts: 12375
Location: Unknown Kaddath

PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 5:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, nobody here is defending the cop's actions or saying it's excusable and justifiable, they're mainly defending the technicalities of the decision from the kind of certainty that Willem was claiming about it being pure bullshit.
Really the only reason I jumped in here is that it seemed like he was passing by a reasonable counterargument and I wanted to throw a wrench in his gears to keep it from going on like that, so I'm not really invested in the subject of the thread so much. I'm not really upset and worried that this will cause a wave of copycat defenses that will let guilty men go free (after all, this cop still faces up to 14 years in jail; 4 maximum for Involuntary Manslaughter and another 3-10 can be tacked on because it was with a committed with a handgun).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
nathan



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 6282

PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 6:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You should, however, be worried that the increasing commonness of non-lethals has meaningfully altered officer behavior, leading police to err on the side of tasing every bro, and that the act of "drawing and firing" is essentially identical for lethal/non-lethal sidearms. If you're not worried about the prevalence of non-lethals lowering the threshold for suspicion of police misconduct, you should at the very least be concerned about potential (and potentially eliminable) effects on public safety.
_________________
All our final decisions are made in a state of mind that is not going to last. - Marky Mark Proust
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
WheelsOfConfusion



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
Posts: 12375
Location: Unknown Kaddath

PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was already concerned about what you just said.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Sam



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
Posts: 9671

PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I feel like a great number of arrests occur in much more stressful situations than Mehserle's. He has backup, no other clear threats, and his target on the ground. If he can successfully claim to be stressed beyond being responsible for his actions, I don't see what prevents this same claim being made by other arresting officers who decide to shoot their perp, especially when I see his situation to be on the lower bound of of some "stress scale".


Probably, the same sort of claim should not carry nearly as much legal weight with real, fully trained police officers. Mershele probably gets some 'leeway' for virtue of the fact that the BART cop department likely provides inadequate training for such an event.

There's plenty of components in this event that warrant greater attention than Mershele himself. Taser procedure, for one. And the fact that BART appears to be policed by greatly less capable cops.

We are also reaching a point where, if similar events keep occurring (and are ruled to be accidents), it's time to fundamentally redesign tasers without triggers.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Unnamed?



Joined: 14 Apr 2007
Posts: 224

PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sam wrote:


Probably, the same sort of claim should not carry nearly as much legal weight with real, fully trained police officers. Mershele probably gets some 'leeway' for virtue of the fact that the BART cop department likely provides inadequate training for such an event.


I'm not sure he should get leeway. If a doctor demonstrates negligence towards his patient, he doesn't get legal "leeway" just because he got his M.D. from a shitty medical school.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Sam



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
Posts: 9671

PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

He, individually, gets leeway because if the BART system does not give their BART patrolmen proper training for both their firearms and tasers for arrest situations, then that makes the accident story more plausible for him individually and puts more culpability on the city.

which from a utilitarian perspective is better overall since it will typically involve more actionable change and reverse some of the taser-happy mentalities of a lot of districts to give tasers to people who really shouldn't have them. at all.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Him



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 4191
Location: On edge

PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe I am missing something here, but Oscar Grant was restrained when he got shot in the back? How was he in any way a threat, and a threat alrge ebnough tio stress the officer to mistake his tazer for his gun? Why did he want to pull out his tazer, again, in the first place? The thin line between manslaughter and straight up murder here is disproving he mistook his gun for his tazer. And yeah, for something to be murder it doesn't have to be planned days ahead or something, he might well have been stressed out and it might still be murder. One of the reasons there is uproar about this case is that officerskilling minorities under suspicious circumstances isn't exactly unheard of.

But it's fully possible the officer just wanted a bit of the usual over-violence and pumped up on testosterone and sadism he accidentally pulled the wrong holster. Again the "technical defence" here seemed to be designed to disregard the possibility that white cops shoot black men.
_________________
A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want? ~Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Sam



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
Posts: 9671

PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
But it's fully possible the officer just wanted a bit of the usual over-violence and pumped up on testosterone and sadism he accidentally pulled the wrong holster.


I am sure that your internal conceptualization of the psychology of cops is fascinating.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Him



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 4191
Location: On edge

PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sam wrote:
Quote:
But it's fully possible the officer just wanted a bit of the usual over-violence and pumped up on testosterone and sadism he accidentally pulled the wrong holster.


I am sure that your internal conceptualization of the psychology of cops is fascinating.

I am sure your reflexive ignorance towards even the possibility that cops do murder and get away with it is soothing. But I concede, as I said, this may well have been just manslaughter.
_________________
A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want? ~Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
ShadowCell



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
Posts: 6182
Location: California

PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When has anyone in this thread denied the fact that some cops kill people in cold blood and get away with it?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Sam



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
Posts: 9671

PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Him wrote:

I am sure your reflexive ignorance towards even the possibility that cops do murder and get away with it is soothing.


And I'm to believe that somewhere, apparently, there is me ever taking the position that cops don't ever get away with murder?

Interesting.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Snorri



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
Posts: 10878
Location: hiding the decline.

PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ShadowCell wrote:
When has anyone in this thread denied the fact that some cops kill people in cold blood and get away with it?


Sorry, bit late.


Cops are always right. Anyone who gets shot by the police deserves it and the cops always act correctly.
_________________

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Sinfest Forum Index -> General Discussion All times are GMT
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7  Next
Page 5 of 7

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group