Insult on Injury

Posted on July 10, 2010


From the SF Chron:

While the jury was deliberating his fate, former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle crafted a handwritten statement in which he apologized for the first time for shooting Oscar Grant, saying he will be forever haunted by Grant’s dying words.

“For now, and forever I will live, breathe, sleep and not sleep with the memory of Mr. Grant screaming ‘You shot me’ and me putting my hands on the bullet wound, thinking the pressure would help while I kept telling him ‘You’ll be okay,’ ” Mehserle wrote in the letter, dated Sunday.

Mehserle gave the letter to his attorney, Michael Rains, and asked him to release it to the public. Rains did so Friday, a day after a jury convicted Mehserle of involuntary manslaughter for the Jan. 1, 2009, slaying of Grant at the Fruitvale Station in Oakland.

For a variety of reasons, I can’t put myself into Mehserle’s shoes. But I’d like to think that if I shot a supine young man based on racist stereotypes of the danger posed by African American males; then fled; then instructed my attorney to appeal for a change of venue so that no jury from Grant’s community would be able to stand in judgment of me; then plead not guilty; that I would be cognizant enough to understand that a hand-written piece of paper given to the family of said young man would do jack all to make them feel better.  I assume that such is the action of a man feathering his future re-entry into his own community and peer group. Let’s hope that they are a better class of people than that.
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