New Year’s Day morning the city of Oakland had its first gangland execution of the year. It went down like so many others…a man face down on the ground, a man with a gun towers over him, the shot rings out, another life unnecassarily and needlessly ended… The main difference this time around was that the shooter was a police officer employed by BART. It happened in public in front of witesses, there are at least three different videos of the incident floating around the internet. No one denies the facts, they are what they are: a BART cop shot an unarmed young man execution style.
CNN reports today that the cop has quit his job. CNN also reports that the murderer is negotiating when he might testify to any investigation of this crime. Say what? The man has not spoken to investigators? He murders someone, someone that I have not heard anyone alleged to have been committing a crime, in public, and he is not in jail a week later? And he has refused to speak to investigators?
I wrote the draft of the above before the riots started last night. Can anyone be surprised? I am only thankful that they were not much worse. I don’t know what the city or police have been doing, but there is a thickness in the air that comes off as inaction. I don’t know why the city refused to act decisively in this matter, they could have headed this off. I think of Oakland as being fairly progressive, but they sure silenced that view this time.
It might not be so bad if the kids thought this was an aberration, but they don’t. I was out last night chatting with some young folks in my neighborhood, after/during the riots (but across town)–their sense is that this is the way things are in Oakland, the difference this time is that it was caught on film. If their had been no cameras present then a gun would have been planted and this like so many other senseless deaths would have been a non-event.