It's been more than four years since Oscar Grant was shot in the back while pinned to the ground by BART officers. Fruitvale Station, a movie abut this incident, was recently released to a limited number of theaters, and will have a nation wide release later this month.
I had the experience of seeing this movie last night, and I can't praise it highly enough. I wanted to say pleasure of seeing it, but that isn't really correct. It wasn't a pleasure. In some ways it was incredibly difficult. The movie consists of the last 24 hours of Oscar's life. If it's playing anywhere near you I suggest you go see it as soon as you get a chance.
But what I really keep thinking back to is the fact that they handcuffed him after they shot him. I had known that that Mehserle had done it, but I'd forgotten. Seeing that in the movie really brought all of those emotions back to me. The anger, the sadness, the helplessness in the face of these overwhelming forces. The anger at the police who keep getting away with murder. I could list the names, but there would be so many left out. The sadness for that huge chunk of our nation that lives in fear of this exact thing happening to them.
They handcuffed him after they shot him. It just keeps popping into my head and I don't even know what to say. How do you handcuff a dying person? I can't think of a more effective denial of a person's humanity than to handcuff them while they're dying. Mehserle shot him and then handcuffed him. And he served 11 months.
I wish I could give the historical context, tie this to lynchings, which is certainly there. But I just can't get passed the simple visceral reaction I have every time I think about it. So that's all I have to contribute here. They handcuffed him after they shot him.