BART cop's alleged murder of a transit rider inspires protest tee

Link, you can buy them here if you are so inclined. (Thanks, Aaron Rowe)

Previously: "Citizen videos" spread online showing BART police officer shooting unarmed man to death


  1. bart took a week to look at the incident, submit a report that allowed the case to go forward, he’s being charged with murder. as the right thing is currently being done, and its out of bart’s hands, i see little reason to go blaming a good transit system as a whole.

    this seems more like a way for a t-shirt designer to exploit a mans tragic murder by a cop.

  2. tell that to people that are still affected HOLTT, that’s my BART station and i’ve comforted two people sobbing about it recently.

  3. I meant last week as in it’s one of those evil rent a cop it’s all part of their attitude bart is culpable that’s what happens with our new police state culture etc.

    AKA I agree with the first poster. It’s hardly more of a civil liberties thing than any other murder is.

  4. Any cop is a rent-a-cop. The government is just a larger mafia than most. The government pays that cop, so it’s moot. Half of the salary at least (per their 08 budget, 320 mil from taxes and other government allocations, 320 from riders).

    This is a bigger civil liberties issue than “any other murder”, but it’s no more tragic on a basic human level. Really no more tragic than death to an earthquake, but I digress.

    I still won’t buy or wear that T-shirt, but I like the graphic and the message.

  5. So, I assume that any profits from the sale of the shirts are being donated to the victims family?

    Or are the tee-shirt makers just cashing in on a senseless murder of young man?

  6. CPT TIM:
    this seems more like a way for a t-shirt designer to exploit a mans tragic murder by a cop.

    in order for all proceeds to go to the family so I am ok with it……..otherwise my leanings would be with you.

  7. Just because the police department acts contrite after an officer has been caught on film doesn’t mean it was an isolated incident.

    It’s on record that the other cops tried to confiscate all cameras with evidence of the murder at the scene. Fortunately they failed in this case, but how many other times have they successfully covered up evidence of police wrongdoing?

  8. Oh, yeah…BART is all about doing the right thing. If you or I were on video in front of witnesses suddenly drawing down and shooting to death some unarmed guy we wrestled to the ground we’d certainly be walking around a week…no doubt.

  9. A t-shirt? Who watches a man get shot in the back, and thinks, “That would make a great t-shirt!” If you want to give money to the family, give money to the family. If you want a t-shirt to “protest” or “commemorate” the occasion, head back to the mother ship. Your human emulation circuits are in need of a tune up.

  10. what steps has BART administration taken to prevent their rent-a-cops from summarily executing any more random passengers? Should these cops have lethal weapons taken away from them? Do they need them in the first place?

  11. T-shirts I would buy…

    Single or multiple hands holding out cellphones in “Taking picture” pose, pointing out towards the viewer of the short. Optional text such as “Keeping it real”, “Eyes on the spies”, “Make my day”, “ICU”, etc.

    Graphic of cell phone, finger pointing at cell phone then at “cop” – riffing on that “I am watching you” two fingers to my eyes, then point at you thing.

    Big letters. “I C U”, but the C is replaced by an open cellphone. It can be innocent (“Hey I’m texting!”) to watchful (“I got the camera bud”)

    The bottom line is, celebrate what worked here (Citizens With Cameras), not FUD. Figure out how you can take back your power, and how you can get that message out to people.

    If someone wants to go make t-shirts like this and copy my ideas, then go for it. I’d even buy one.

  12. I was willing to give the BART police as a whole the benefit of the doubt until that new video was released showing a second cop punching Oscar Grant in the face. Now it seems clear there is a systemic problem in the department.

    This is not to say that police everywhere are corrupt pigs or that Grant and his buddies were acting like saints. But a murder by the people charged to protect us is definitely more troubling than “any other murder.”

  13. …what steps has BART administration taken to prevent their rent-a-cops from summarily executing any more random passengers?

    Just as a bit of clarification since there does seem to be some confusion on this point:

    BART cops are an actual police department and not just paid security guards. They go through police academy and get sworn in by the state and everything. They are the ones that show up if you call 911. They even have SWAT teams and canine units.

    Which makes it even more disturbing when any of them abuse that power.

  14. “Should these cops have lethal weapons taken away from them? Do they need them in the first place?”

    I’ve been held up on a train not going into a station because of an armed suspect at least twice since moving out here 4 years ago. Both times i think the incident was at Macarthur BART. And in that case i’d say yes, but then there are a lot of transit systems in the country that get by just fine with security, and in the case of oscar grant, I think if they had just been security, then this wouldn’t have happened.

    I think the BART stations are in dense enough areas that local police can cover them, and plain gunless security type people can handle the day to day stuff. But i don’t know the numbers on incidents and what not, and am no expert.

    I’d like to hear more from BART on this, but i still think as a whole its a good transit system.

  15. I am of truly mixed feelings about the shirt. The facts seem to speak for themselves yet we still have a “due process” system of law. Thus the trial by jury mechanism. Which potentially is eroded by emotional saturation from things like that shirt. It’s a case of mindfulness to mitigate unintended consequences. Like the obvious lack of whatever foresight might have kept this incident from having been fatal in the first place. Had that officer been issued a Taser or similar this case might have been vastly different. And YES- that’s to me the core defining facet of the case needing explication. I can reluctantly see a need for some officers to have a firearm as often it’s the proper tool to prevent greater losses of life. But in this case? Even a Taser in it’s “contact” mode would have been arguably excessive force for the alleged situation.

    Do note my hopefully clear intent to seek Investigation, Deliberation-and whatever justice might be possible. Rather than a lynch mob wearing silkscreened justification.

  16. @ #16: I understand why it would be preferable to have one police agency with authority over the whole system rather than depending on local agencies since BART transitory in nature. If someone committed a crime on a train in the transbay tube, who would investigate- SFPD or Oakland Police?

    It’s the same reason we have the state highway patrol instead of depending on local departments to each manage their own portion of a freeway. Car chases would be a jurisdictional nightmare… plus, America would never have been introduced to Eric Estrada.

  17. …Had that officer been issued a Taser or similar this case might have been vastly different.

    He was, in addition to his weapon. And even that would have been a completely inappropriate use of force in this situation (a man lying prone on the ground with his hands behind his back).

    I’m not against police getting guns (I too have ridden BART trains delayed by police confrontations with armed suspects) but they clearly need to be held accountable if and when they choose to use them.

  18. Other T-shirt ideas…

    * (Cellphone Camera) > (picture of gun)
    * Raised fist holding cellphone cam
    * “Citizen Eyes > Citizen Spies”
    * “We the , of the United States of America, in order to create a more perfect union…”
    * “Get your hands off my cellphone cam, you damned dirty ape!” (This one would work with just cameras too)

    Come on people, do you want to sit around talking about what failed, or what works?

    Here’s a scenario for you: two people stand on separate street corners handing out flyers.

    One is about “Evil cops, trigger happy guards, rent-a-cop mentality” and so on. FUD in other words.

    The other is about using your eyes and your cameras to be a witness. Not about spying on your neighborhood, but about helping be the eyes of societal conciousness.

    Which one do you think the local shopkeeper would tell to leave?

    Which one do you think hands out more fliers?

    Which one would you strategically pass with a stranger as a buffer?

    Which one do you want to be?

  19. If there were a systemic problem with BART employees shooting people, then the T-Shirt would be appropriate.

    As it is, its just one guy in one incident. Stupid.

  20. Do we really need to say “alleged murder”? There’s video of the evil asshole shooting the guy in the back. Pretty cut n’ dried murder, I’d say.

    1. @chronophobe, the shooting definitely happened, and the victim is dead. But whether or not the law rules it was “murder” has yet to be determined by the courts. I know what I believe to have been the case here, but it’s standard news practice to avoid making those kinds of legal judgements in headlines.

  21. @xeni (23)
    I can understand that; I just overreacted a bit. It’s frustrating to have to be respectful of such clearly awful people’s rights after they’ve abused their power like this, but I guess that’s a cornerstone of our society and I’m glad for it. Besides, I guess it just represents a respect for the legal system and not for the individual in question.

    1. @chronophobe I *personally* believe this to have been murder, and it’s hard for me to imagine this having been anything but that, based on what I’ve seen. But I’m not a lawyer or a judge. Nor was I there.

      And what I presume personally and what is appropriate to state as a matter of record here on the blog are two different things.

  22. “Humanity has a posse” with upthrust hands holding cellphone cams.

    LOLCam themes…

    “I saw what you did there”, with cellphone cam

    “Ceiling cam is watching you” – LOLcat image with hand holding cellphone sticking out of ceiling hole.

  23. “Alleged” murder? Did you watch the video? The police officer shot the man in the back, plain as day.

  24. #26 and we’ll have, what, like 5 or more video cameras and hundreds of witnesses to bear that out in the courts. Alleged will only have to be a temporary thing. Lets just hope we get speedy justice

  25. Funny how some people are for essentially calling for swift judgment without fair trial on this, yet cry foul when our ex pres did it.

  26. Holtt: Who is calling for an unfair trial? Are you sure they aren’t just expressing a preference of verdict after due process runs its course?

    It must be miserable to always have to correct people when they say they want the Steelers to win the Super Bowl, “Funny how people are essentially calling for the Super Bowl to be cancelled.”

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