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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Police State and Prisons | Racial Justice
Were drugs planted on BART shooting victim Oscar Grant?
There was a story recorded in google news with the headline you see above (and below) and yet now the story apparently had been removed from SFGate blogs. It confidently cites a "well-placed source" so it likely wasn't removed for credibility reasons. Was it removed as part of the gag order in the trial of Mehserle or for some more nefarious reason? And if it was removed as part of the gag order, then why is the opinion piece excerpted below by David Jackson still online?
As of this writing, the link to the mystery blog entry was on the second page of google news for a simple search for "oscar grant." But if you click on the link to http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfgate/detail?blogid=47&entry_id=35890 you get a blank blog page. And if you go to the blog's main page at http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/sfgate/indexn?blogid=47, there is no February 17th entry. Hmmm.
If you do a search for "oscar grant drugs" on google news, you get the same mystery story as entry #1, but nothing else reliable that even mentions this planted drug accusation. There is one piece published in the Berkeley Daily Planet, apparently by a Tony Pirone apologist, who attacks Grant as virtually deserving being shot and murdered without actually going quite that far, and it sneeringly attempts to discredit Grant as having drugs in his possession when he was murdered. In part, it reads:
Grant Apologists Are Loud, But Wrong
By David Jackson
Wednesday February 18, 2009
Just had the opportunity to read J. Douglas Allen-Taylor’s Jan. 28 column in the Daily Planet (“Justice Coalitions Fracturing in Oscar Grant Case”) about the BART Police officer’s accidental shooting of the convicted criminal Oscar Grant on New Year’s Day.
“[I]t was a second BART officer—identified by KTVU as Tony Pirone—who appears to have precipitated the events that led up to the shooting, walking aggressively across the Fruitvale BART platform to confront Mr. Grant and then punch him in the side of his head. Prior to Mr. Pirone’s appearance, Mr. Grant and two Latino companions were standing up against the platform wall and being detained by a female BART police officer, with no apparent problems.”
I realize that yours is an opinion piece, and as such does not require being rooted in facts; you can guess and be right.
The problem is that Tony Pirone didn’t precipitate the events. Oscar Grant did.
Oscar Grant was a convicted felon who was in possession of drugs. He continually antagonized and resisted the female officer’s attempts to detain him. He continually reached in his pockets, despite being warned not to.
The sympathy for poor Oscar Grant is compelling. I agree that he did not deserve to die for his criminal actions that night. There is no death penalty for simply being a petty criminal.
But Oscar Grant was not an innocent bystander that night.
So, despite this Daily Planet smear on Oscar Grant, the question remains, why was the blog alleging a BART frame-up of Oscar Grant removed? Is anyone out there investigating this, either press, BART, or the DA? Do BART cops regularly travel with drugs in their possession to plant on detainees? Was this part of why it took the cops on the platform that night an hour before they called in that they had killed someone? Even considering the unlikely event that the accusation of drug possession is true, what are the odds that the murder victim would coincidentally be the only one in a group of people that had drugs in his possession, because everyone else was detained for eight hours and then released without charges? It just doesn't pass the smell test.
And since a female officer was mentioned by David Jackson in the op-ed above, it should be noted that there's a claim out there about a sexual relationship between an as-yet unnamed female and male officer on the platform that night (the male not being Mehserle). Check out this story unrelated to the planted drug story: John Burris claims BART cops' sexual relationship contributed to murder of Oscar Grant (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/03/11/18576355.php). Is David Jackson unwittingly revealing his knowledge of the sexual affair by focusing on Grant's supposed resistance to being detained by the female officer? Supposed resistance that the known video evidence does not support.
All of this raises serious questions about BART's and the DA's initial assertions that Mehserle is the only officer worthy of investigation in the murder of Oscar Grant.