John Reimann's personal blog

“Fruitvale Station” – Welcome to America

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Oscar Grant

I went to see “Fruitvale Station” last night – the film about the murder of young Oscar Grant by the public transit police in the San Francisco Bay area. Overall, it is an excellent film, doing exactly what many film critics explained – making Oscar Grant a real, live, credible human being, complete with all his positives and negatives. By the end of the film, many people around me were audibly crying.

If there is any criticism of the film, it would be that it didn’t really, clearly show how Oscar was murdered – lying face down on the train platform with his hands pinned under him, unable to move. It kind of showed that, but not so clearly. It also missed the fact that  according to one paramedic at the scene, Sean Gillis, Oscar might have lived had he been treated properly. According to Gillis, the Oakland firefighters have a history of racism and this affects how they deal with black shooting victims. Gillis was ultimately fired for refusing to back down on this issue.

Also, it should be noted that the police tried to confiscate all cell phones of those who were videoing this murder. Had they succeeded, it would never have received the attention that it did because the cops would have been able to like about what happened – as they have in so many other cases. In other words, how many Oscar Grants are happening that we simply can’t prove?

Overall, though, this movie is a “must see”. We went with some friends who are visiting from Germany. I was filled with sadness and anger at the movie’s end. All I could say to our friends was “welcome to America.”

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