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Rich Silverstein

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BART Shooting -- Peeling Back the Layers to the Truth

Posted: 07/09/10 06:23 PM ET

News came this week that the U.S. Justice Department will review the case of a New Year's Day 2009 BART police shooting, following recent protests and a vocal outcry from Oakland, California's black community. The case involves the fatal shooting of an unarmed man, 22-year-old Oscar Grant, by former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle. Mehserle was convicted in State court this week of involuntary manslaughter, but many in the community say this charge falls short.

The shooting garnered national attention because there were at least six cellphone cameras on the BART train car to capture the event. However, in this new age where absolutely everyone has a camera, there can be drawbacks. Video footage of an event that is grainy, obscured, distant or from just one perspective becomes absolute truth. The ostensible reality of such raw footage dispels any doubts or questions observers may have, and when it is streamed a thousand times on the news each night, it simply becomes wallpaper.

In reality, when you think you're seeing everything, you're really seeing nothing. But if you peel away some layers, all of a sudden you're looking at the gun; peel back another layer and all of a sudden you can see the expression of horror on Mehserle's face; or Oscar Grant's desperate pleading. In the following video, I sought to add depth to the original interpretation of this tragic event, in order to reveal more of the story. If you remember the first grainy footage following the shooting, dispel the ingrained "YouTube truth" you may be harboring, so that you can look for what's new, what wasn't there before. This video is best (indeed, should only) be watched on Full Screen mode with good speakers or headphones.