Human Error, Murder or Steroid Abuse? Steriod illustration

By H. Brown

The New Years Day shooting of 22 year-old Oscar Grant III by BART Officer Johannes Mehserle, now under arrest, is a red flag for anyone who follows steroid abuse by law enforcement officials.

“The source described him (the officer who shot Oscar Grant) as physically fit and respected by peers within the organization.” That’s from Demian Bulwa’s Chronicle piece. There is general agreement that the drug makes your body bigger and your actions more aggressive.

Go Google ‘BART shooting’ and check out the video of the murder (call it what it is) ... check out the video that draws a circle around the cop and clearly shows him up rise up clear of the victim, draw his weapon and simply shoot him in the back when the officer was in no danger whatever.

As someone who has studied the steroid phenomenon since my days as a fireman, I immediately recognized that these cowboys were way too large for normal people. Call me a silly, but it occurred to me that this could be yet another instance of steroid rage. I pushed all the media moguls on my list again. Challenged them to ask if the shooter was tested for steroids.

None asked. The Chronicle did a couple of editorials but despite their record of keeping the word ‘steroids’ on their front page for a couple of years as long as it applies to a black athlete, they kept it out of their reporting when it came to police.

The Examiner’s Tamara Aparton was the only one who broached the topic of drugs at all. She got Alameda County D.A., Tom Orloff to say in the Examiner that “Results from drug and alcohol tests on former BART Officer Johannes Mehserie and findings from the autopsy of 22 year-old Oscar Grant III will also be expedited.”

What drugs was he tested for? Steroids? Youcan bet not. And, not testing for them should be a point at the guy’s trial (assuming he’s one of those rare individuals actually tried). Lemme give you a quick story.

On ‘60 Minutes’ a decade or so back there was a segment where they interviewed a guy who had been a highway patrol officer in some western state. He was in prison for mudering a woman who ran a roadside diner. He killed her because she complained about him wanting to use the phone for free.

He told the correspondent that he got more and more angry with her as he drove away from the place and finally (under the influence of steroids) became convinced that she was such a danger to the police community that she had to be killed.

So, he drove back and killed her and buried her body in a shallow grave in the desert. Steroids may make you bigger and stronger but it does not improve your judgment. But, for some reason, though every editor in town knows that steroids and cops are a deadly combination, they will not touch the subject. Barry Bonds? Of course. Officer Mehserle? No way.

Steroids beget behavior problems. It is rumored to be de rigeur for members of certain units to take the drug in order to work in their surroundings. Motorcycle cops. Jail and prison guards. And, of course, anyone who wants to bat in the fourth slot for the Giants.

Grant family attorney John Burris should immediately demand this guy be tested for steroids. I’ve been lobbying for this for years and not a single local news outlet has had the guts to pick it up. ‘Roids are a recognized problem nationally but not here.

Of course they’re a problem here, too. Candidates to replace Heather Fong should all have to present their views on police use of steroids and testing of same. The SF Police Officers Association pushed through their last contract with provisions for drug testing of officers for everything except steroids.

I went home and Googled ‘aggression and steroids’ and got over a half a million entries. The National Institute of Health and their National Institute on Drug Abuse is of the mind that steroids cause female breasts on males, acne and heart attacks and several kinds of liver cancer.

They think steroids bring on early death and rage and mania and delusions. Without exceptions, contradictory claims are reported in astro-turf publications funded by various drugs companies who manufacture the various types of steroids.

I do not think it is too radical an idea that our safety officers should be tested for steroids.

Editor’s Note: Video at