By helen on Jul 15, 2010 | In The Black Perspective of Views of America By Helen Burleson
IS THIS CONSIDERED AMERICAN JUSTICE?
By Helen L. Burleson, Doctor of Public Administration
The case of Oscar Grant raises many questions. The first question is how could a trained police officer not know the difference between a gun and a taser? The second question is the placement of the two weapons, was the taser in a holster next to the gun or was the taser in a holster on the opposite side of the body? The next question raised is the training given in the use of a taser. Are officers trained to have each weapon in the same place or in opposite places? The next is, is there a weight difference which distinguishes the two weapons? This leads me to the next and a very important question. Also, isn’t the purpose of a taser to subdue an out of control person? Can a person be considered out of control if he is face down and motionless?
According to the video that has been shown, Mr. Grant was restrained, was on his stomach and motionless. How could an officer surrounded by several other officers feel threatened by a victim thus restrained?
This leads to a very important question. Once a trial date was set, why was there a change in venue? According to the American justice system as I understand it, due process includes the composition of a jury that is supposed to reflect one’s peers. Was the venue changed to circumvent finding a jury of the peers of the citizen who was dead as a result of being shot in the back?
Was the decision to change the venue made only by the prosecution without input from the defense attorney? What was the rationale for changing the venue? Was this a deliberate attempt to predetermine the outcome?
I remember a recent case where a college student cut in line in a Wal-Mart; and, because she was accused of resisting arrest, she was given a 14 year prison term. I understand that later through negotiations that that severe penalty was lifted. No one died as a result of the Wal-Mart incident.
One begins to wonder if Lady Justice has removed her blinders and is making arbitrary decisions based on reasons other than the merits of the case.
It was always my belief that there was equal justice under the law; but, I must admit my faith and confidence in our judicial system is being stretched to the limit.
The arbitrary and discretionary authority that police have and use in selected situations needs a very careful analysis and calls for that authority to be reformed to correspond to a given situation. No one can feel threatened by a man who is face down and motionless. American justice is being compromised and that does not bode well.
We have gone on record as a nation that does not sanction or tolerate torture; and, yet there are too many instances of selective torture and cruel and unusual punishment.
I have read that the Justice Department will investigate this case. It is my fervent prayer that they will remove any sun shades and with clear vision examine all the facts and procedures that resulted in what I consider to be a gross miscarriage of justice.
I raise the question, is what transpired in the case of the death of Oscar Grant considered American justice?
THE COLOR OF MY HEART IS RED
|A Home For the Heart »|