Thursday, July 8, 2010

Involuntary Manslaughter Redefined

Today the BART officer, Johannes Mehserle, who had been charged with the killing of a innocent man was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

California Penal Code 192 defines "manslaughter" as the unlawful killing of another person without malice. "Involuntary Manslaughter," which is the least serious variant of manslaughter, gets charged when the killing occurs:

  1. in the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to a felony, OR
  2. by way of a lawful though dangerous act, that is done in an unlawful manner or without due caution or circumspection.
Apparently shooting a black man point blank while he is laying incapacitated on the ground is not an example of malice. 

Maybe had the video of the murder - oops the involuntary manslaughter - showed the officer pausing briefly before pulling the trigger, the all white jury would have found him innocent, since he would have demonstrated what could be construed as caution or circumspection.

Let that be a lesson to law enforcement.  In the future, if you want to kill a non-white citizen, you need to smile for the camera and then take careful aim.

What a shame, all-white juries used to be enough to get away with murder.

Could it be that the officer really thought he was grabbing a taser?  Despite the fact that he was not even wearing one?  Despite the fact that the taser does not have remotely the same weight to feel as a hand gun?  Despite the fact that the man he was about to "taze" was already incapacitated and on the ground?  Despite the fact that the man who was shot was trying to prevent a fight, and not guilty of anything other than riding the train while black?  Maybe the answer only lies in the dark depths of Mr. Mehserle's soul.  But the video, which showed the cold blooded murder of a defenseless citizen, shows no such distinction.

Once again, LA County has decided that unprovoked attack and now killing of citizens by the law enforcement agencies that are supposed to protect us is not an issue or worthy of any consequential punishment.

In otherwords, the California court system has once again has failed it's citizens.

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