View Full Version : Oakland police & itchie trigger fingers

Keith Millea
01-08-2009, 06:20 PM
An Oakland Transit cop shoots unarmed man in the back.
I was born in Oakland,and anyone who knows will tell you,It's one mean ass city.I'm not sure what will happen here,but I suspect things will be getting really really HOT.



Dawn Meredith
01-08-2009, 06:28 PM
An Oakland Transit cop shoots unarmed man in the back.
I was born in Oakland,and anyone who knows will tell you,It's one mean ass city.I'm not sure what will happen here,but I suspect things will be getting really really HOT.



Sadly Keith this is an event that occurs with such regularity that it barely makes the news. Nothing will happen. The police will say he was "reaching for what appeared to be a weapon". An investigation will occur. The cop will be cleared. A grand jury will no bill.
"Ain't that America...home of the free?"
-John Mellencamp


Keith Millea
01-08-2009, 07:24 PM
Normally I would agree with what you say,but it might just be different this time.One thing for sure,their were lots of video phones rolling at the time.I've seen a better video of this shooting.The police confiscated what phones they could,but not all.It seems that video phones are starting to be the best weapon against police brutality.Almost all the youth carry them.The big lesson is to smuggle your footage out of the area before the cops can get it.


Myra Bronstein
01-09-2009, 04:30 AM
Normally I would agree with what you say,but it might just be different this time.One thing for sure,their were lots of video phones rolling at the time.I've seen a better video of this shooting.The police confiscated what phones they could,but not all.It seems that video phones are starting to be the best weapon against police brutality.Almost all the youth carry them.The big lesson is to smuggle your footage out of the area before the cops can get it.


I think you're right Keith, and I hope you're right. The execution of Oscar Grant III was obscene, and it was captured by at least four cameras, and it's been seen by millions. In the past the cameras and the internet were the missing ingredients so the cops could just lie with impunity.

I'm proud of the people in Oakland for showing up en masse to protest this murder. I hope they continue. I disagree with Grant's mom about this; calm is not what's needed.

Magda Hassan
01-09-2009, 04:52 AM
I'm proud of the people in Oakland for showing up en masse to protest this murder. I hope they continue. I disagree with Grant's mom about this; calm is not what's needed.

I haven't seen the response by his mum but what you say Myra is interesting. Sometimes calm is not what is needed. Why can't people be emotional? Is it an Anglo-Saxon thing or a control thing? Some one, defenseless and surrendered, is murdered in cold blood by someone who has been trained to know far better. What's not be outraged about that? Why not say so and show so? Why the stiff upper lip crap?

Same for those warning they have on tv or on videos with the war casualties etc "Some viewers may find the following scenes disturbing" Why wouldn't anyone find it disturbing unless they have been totally desensitized to any human emotion.

Myra Bronstein
01-09-2009, 07:27 AM
I haven't seen the response by his mum...

Here's a link to it Maggie.


I haven't seen the response by his mum but what you say Myra is interesting. Sometimes calm is not what is needed. Why can't people be emotional? Is it an Anglo-Saxon thing or a control thing? Some one, defenseless and surrendered, is murdered in cold blood by someone who has been trained to know far better. What's not be outraged about that? Why not say so and show so? Why the stiff upper lip crap?...

A control thing, as you say. What the hell has calm gotten us? In 1991 Rodney King had the snot beat out of him for DWB and pleaded for calm. Now over 15 years later we still have black men targeted by thugs in uniform.

BART is obviously stalling; it's been over a week and they have done nothing. They never even bothered to question the guilty cop, who has now quit and lawyered up. Meanwhile we're supposed to watch video of Oscar Grant's execution online and in total serenity? I don't think so.

Keith Millea
01-09-2009, 05:03 PM
So far only some small rioting.I'm surprised it hasn't gotten larger.I think the situation is pretty tense right now,with people just waiting to see how the officials handle things.BART(Bay Area Rapid Transit) has a meeting this morning.I also noticed that Jerry Brown is not the Mayor of Oakland now.Jerry is one of the few politicians that I sorta like.The good thing is that Ron Dellums is the Mayor.For those that don't know Ron,he was an outspoken radical black congressman Back in the Day.So I think the Mayor understands the situation.I also think he is a good person to hopefully keep the city from burning.I guess we'll see what the weekend brings.



Keith Millea
01-13-2009, 08:55 PM
View from an Anarchist.


"I'm sorry my car was burned but the issue is very upsetting."

-Ken Epstein, assistant editor of the Oakland Post, who was finishing an article about Grant's death, watched from the 12th story of his office at 14th and Franklin streets as his 2002 Honda CR-V disintegrated in a roar of flames (Oakland Tribune)


Myra Bronstein
01-14-2009, 02:59 PM
I hope it's not just PR. Of course if it weren't for the folks with cell phones even this wouldn't have happened.


BART officer arrested on murder warrant in NY Day shooting
Demian Bulwa, Leslie Fulbright,Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writers
Wednesday, January 14, 2009

(01-14) 00:13 PST Oakland -- The BART police officer who fatally shot an unarmed man on an Oakland train platform and then refused to explain his actions to investigators was arrested Tuesday in Nevada on suspicion of murder, authorities said.

Johannes Mehserle, 27, of Lafayette was taken into custody in Douglas County, Nev., said Deputy Steve Velez of the Douglas County sheriff's office. The arrest was also confirmed by David Chai, chief of staff to Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums.

Mehserle was arrested in the New Year's Day shooting of Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old supermarket worker from Hayward who was lying facedown after being pulled off a BART train by police investigating a fight. An Alameda County judge signed an arrest warrant alleging murder, and Mehserle surrendered without incident, authorities said.

The shooting, which was recorded by passengers in videos widely circulated on the Internet and television, prompted public outrage, and some viewers said that the shooting appeared to be an execution.

Sources said Mehserle was in Nevada because he feared for his safety after death threats were made against him. Douglas County is 15 miles south of Carson City in northwestern Nevada and includes part of Lake Tahoe.

Mehserle's attorney, Christopher W. Miller of Sacramento, confirmed early today that his client was arrested on suspicion of murder. He said he would not comment further until a news conference today.

Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff was expected to announce details of the arrest today. He could not be reached late Tuesday.

Authorities have been under immense pressure to take action in the case. On Tuesday, BART board President Thomas Blalock and board Director Carole Ward Allen sent a letter to Orloff, urging the district attorney to move expeditiously to complete the investigation and file charges if warranted.

Some Oakland community leaders and civil rights activists said the case is symbolic of larger problems with police officers using excessive force on young black men. Grant was black and Mehserle is white.

The arrest came on the eve of a protest scheduled for 4 p.m. today outside Oakland City Hall, the latest in a series of demonstrations in which BART has been accused of mishandling the investigation.

BART police on Monday turned over the results of their preliminary investigation to Orloff's office. A separate investigation by Oakland police was launched last week, and Mehserle's arrest was related to that probe, sources said. The state attorney general is also monitoring the case.

BART officers had detained Grant and several other passengers at about 2 a.m. Jan. 1 as they investigated a fight aboard a train from San Francisco. Passengers with cellular phone cameras captured footage that shows Grant lying facedown when he was shot.

In the videos, Mehserle appears to be trying to put cuffs on Grant, and Grant appears to be struggling, when Mehserle suddenly pulls his service weapon from his holster and fires one shot into Grant's back.

Mehserle declined to speak to BART criminal investigators after the shooting. Then last Wednesday he resigned rather than answer questions from BART's internal affairs division.

His departure came the same day Grant was buried and a peaceful protest at the Fruitvale BART Station erupted into violence in downtown Oakland. Demonstrators set cars on fire and broke windows at dozens of businesses. By night's end, police had arrested 105 people.

Grant's family has filed a $25 million legal claim against BART, signaling an intention to sue for damages. The family's attorney, John Burris, said late Tuesday that he was pleased to hear of Mehserle's arrest.

"If it's true, the family is delighted, and it will really help with the healing process," Burris said. "This is also very important for the community. This had to occur; it was almost a no-brainer. I think the district attorney ought to be commended for moving (the case) expeditiously."

Keith Millea
01-14-2009, 05:30 PM
[QUOTE A separate investigation by Oakland police was launched last week, and Mehserle's arrest was related to that probe, sources said.[/QUOTE]

This is why I have hope that the situation will be resolved.The Oakland Police investigation was ordered by Mayor Dellums.As I stated earlier,Dellums was a fierce anti-war and racial justice advocate back when he was a Congressman in the 70's.His reputation is on the line now.I don't think there will be a whitewash of this matter like so many others.JMHO


Myra Bronstein
01-14-2009, 07:17 PM
[QUOTE A separate investigation by Oakland police was launched last week, and Mehserle's arrest was related to that probe, sources said.

This is why I have hope that the situation will be resolved.The Oakland Police investigation was ordered by Mayor Dellums.As I stated earlier,Dellums was a fierce anti-war and racial justice advocate back when he was a Congressman in the 70's.His reputation is on the line now.I don't think there will be a whitewash of this matter like so many others.JMHO


I hope you're right Keith. I hope this is a watershed event. Certainly it's a positive step.

And I hope everyone carries cellphones with video cameras.

Myra Bronstein
01-15-2009, 12:01 PM

Behind murder charge against ex-BART officer
Demian Bulwa, Wyatt Buchanan,Matthew Yi, Chronicle Staff Writers
Thursday, January 15, 2009

(01-14) 19:51 PST OAKLAND -- The unarmed man killed by former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle on an Oakland train platform early New Year's Day put up a brief struggle with officers but had been restrained and had both arms behind him when he was shot in the back, police investigators said.

The conclusion by Oakland police, contained in a legal filing made public Wednesday, contributed to Alameda County prosecutors' decision to charge Mehserle, 27, with murdering 22-year-old Oscar Grant of Hayward.

It was an extraordinary decision. Several legal experts said they could recall no instance of a police officer in California being charged with murder for an on-duty incident, and Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff said he had never brought such a case in his 14 years on the job.

But the circumstances of the case are equally extraordinary, in that the shooting was filmed by several BART passengers and Mehserle has refused to talk to investigators about why he shot Grant. Orloff said Wednesday that both factors played into his decision to charge Mehserle with murder.

Mehserle waived extradition in a court hearing in Douglas County, Nev., on Wednesday, a day after he was arrested at a friend's home near Lake Tahoe, where his attorney said he had gone after receiving death threats in the Bay Area.

The Lafayette resident was driven to the Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, where he was placed in "protective custody," sheriff's Sgt. J.D. Nelson said. He is scheduled to be arraigned today in Oakland.

His attorney, Christopher Miller, said he expects Mehserle to be cleared. The former officer was not available for an interview.

Orloff said Mehserle had committed murder because he killed Grant in an intentional, unlawful act. Orloff said no evidence his office reviewed - witness statements and video shot by BART passengers, including footage that the public has not yet seen but that the district attorney called "very helpful" - indicated the shooting was justified.

Grant was shot at the Fruitvale BART Station about 2 a.m. Jan. 1 after he and several other young men were pulled off a train by police investigating reports of a fight. In a court filing justifying Mehserle's arrest, an Oakland police sergeant said video footage showed that "a struggle ensued" between Grant and two BART officers, including Mehserle.

Both hands behind back

The filing adds that the other officer was holding Grant down on his stomach, with his knee on Grant's head and neck. Mehserle was "seen trying to pull Grant's right arm, which appeared to be underneath Grant's body," before abruptly shooting him, police said.

"After careful analysis of the video, it is clear that both Grant's hands were behind his back, a position hands are commonly placed in by police officers in order to handcuff individuals," the police filing said. It concluded that Grant had been "restrained and unarmed" when he was shot.

Mehserle's subsequent refusal to talk to detectives about the shooting, Orloff said, left authorities with no window into his state of mind.

"When you basically have a situation of an unlawful, intentional killing of one individual by another, and that's all you know - and that's really all we know in this case - then that's a murder," the district attorney said at an Oakland news conference.

Mehserle's silence, Orloff said, "made it more difficult in the sense that his statement could or could not have given me some insight into his thought process, and I didn't have that insight. The videos are very powerful on what act was committed. The issue likely to be in this case is, what was the mental state at the time that act was committed?"

Miller, Mehserle's attorney, said at a news conference later in Sacramento that his client was "a fine young man" and an excellent police officer. Miller declined to say why Mehserle shot Grant.

The officer resigned from the BART police force Jan. 7 rather than talk to internal affairs inspectors who could have built a disciplinary case against him.

"As the case moves forward through the justice system and all of the circumstances of that chaotic night become clear, I fully expect Mr. Mehserle will be cleared of the charges against him," Miller said.
Grant family pleased

Grant's family members were pleased by the murder charge, said their attorney, John Burris, who has filed a $25 million legal claim against BART. He said he doubted the shooting would have led to charges if it had not been caught on video.

"Anything less than murder would not have been satisfying," Burris said.

He quoted Grant's mother, Wanda Johnson, as saying, "That's very good, but it doesn't bring my son back."

Although more than 100 people are killed by police officers each year in California, officers are rarely charged with serious crimes. Several law enforcement officials and experts said Wednesday they could not recall the last time a California police officer was charged with murder after an on-duty incident.

"It hasn't been studied," said Bob Stresak, a spokesman for the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training. "The occurrence of that is so rare, there's not a lot to study."

Some Oakland civic and community leaders have called for charges against the other BART officers who were on the Fruitvale Station platform when Grant was shot, but Orloff said he had found no evidence to justify such an action.

Sources said the other officers - including Tony Pirone, the officer whose knee was on Grant's head - remained on paid administrative leave Wednesday. BART Police Chief Gary Gee, appearing with Orloff at the Oakland news conference, said none of them was the subject of internal affairs investigations.

Orloff said he expected the case against Mehserle to go to trial, where a jury would probably have the option of convicting the former officer of first- or second-degree murder; convicting him of a lesser charge of voluntary or involuntary manslaughter; or acquitting him. Orloff said he would fight any defense effort to move the case out of Alameda County.
Not considered flight risk

Mehserle appeared stoic Wednesday morning as he was brought into a courtroom in Minden, Nev., southeast of Lake Tahoe. Wearing a navy-blue jail jumpsuit and shackles on his hands and feet, he told Judge Paul Gilbert, "I'd like to waive extradition." The hearing lasted about five minutes.

Mehserle was arrested Tuesday evening at a friend's home in the Zephyr Cove area near Lake Tahoe, authorities said. Orloff said Oakland police had used "technology" to track him and did not suspect him of trying to flee.

"There was no effort whatsoever to avoid arrest," defense attorney Miller said. "He took his family up there to avoid the pressures of what was going on in the Bay Area. As you're all aware, there were significant death threats made against him and his family."

Grant's death has been seen by some community leaders and activists as symbolic of problems between police and young men of color and as a test of whether officers can be held accountable for alleged brutality. Mehserle is white, and Grant was black.

Chief Gee said Wednesday that the investigation had found no "nexus to race that provoked this to happen."

BART board member Lynette Sweet, who called for Gee and BART General Manager Dorothy Dugger to lose their jobs because of how the initial investigation was handled, called the arrest "a great start."

"I just hope that this is for real," Sweet said. "Let's hope it's not a farce. No matter how this plays out, I just hope that justice is served. All eyes will be watching."

Demian Bulwa reported from Oakland, Wyatt Buchanan from Sacramento and Matthew Yi from Minden, Nev. Chronicle staff writers Rachel Gordon, Christopher Heredia, Henry K. Lee and Kevin Fagan contributed to this report. E-mail the writers at myi@sfchronicle.com, dbulwa@sfchronicle.com and wbuchanan@sfchronicle.com.

This article appeared on page A - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Peter Lemkin
01-15-2009, 05:37 PM
From today's www.democracynow.org

JUAN GONZALEZ: A former transit officer in Oakland, California has been arrested on murder charges in connection to the killing of Oscar Grant. Grant is the unarmed African American man who was shot dead on an Oakland train platform on New Year’s Day.

The shooting gained international attention after cell phone videos of the killing were posted on YouTube by train passengers. The videos show the officer, Johannes Mehserle, pulling out a gun and shooting twenty-two-year-old Oscar Grant in the back while he was lying face down on the ground on the train platform.

On Wednesday, Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff announced the charges against Mehserle.

TOM ORLOFF: Murder charges were filed, because, at this point, what I feel the evidence indicates is an unlawful killing done by an intentional act, and from the evidence we have, there is nothing that would mitigate that to something lower than a murder. That doesn’t mean that evidence might develop in the future that—particularly as it develops at trial, but at this point, when you have a homicide that is intentional and there’s no mitigation, it’s more or less presumed to be a second-degree murder.

AMY GOODMAN: The former police officer, Johannes Mehserle, was arrested Tuesday in Nevada near Lake Tahoe. Mehserle resigned from the BART force after he refused to speak with criminal investigators.

Several legal experts and law enforcement officials in California say they cannot recall any other instance of a police officer in California being charged with murder for an on-duty incident.

The killing of Oscar Grant has sparked a series of protests in Oakland. On the night of January 7th, over 105 people were arrested in what’s been described by some as the Oakland rebellion, when some protesters set cars on fire and damaged over three dozen businesses. Another eighteen protesters were arrested last night on vandalism charges after another large protest in Oakland. On Wednesday, a National Day of Nonviolent Action to protest the killing of Oscar Grant was held in over a dozen other cities.

We’re joined in San Francisco by journalist and hip hop activist Davey D. He runs the popular website Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner at daveyd.com. He is the co-host of Hard Knock Radio on KPFA in Berkeley.

Davey D, welcome to Democracy Now! Why don’t you tell us what happened, the latest news, the indictment for murder of Johannes Mehserle and where he was found?

DAVEY D: Well, he was found in Nevada on a fugitive warrant. And I think that was welcome news to many of the people that have been organizing and mobilizing around seeing justice in what is—you know, what most of us see as a straight-up execution. People are pretty clear this is the first step. It’s good that he got arrested. We still have a lot of questions as to why it took two to three weeks for that to happen. If any one of us were caught on videotape shooting a gun at an unarmed man and killing him, we would be in jail to this day.

But with that being said, the main point of contention that a lot of people have is what’s happening with the officers that were on the platform with Mehserle that haven’t been arrested. What’s the accountability for them? And I think most of us feel that they have—that they’re somehow involved with that, and there needs to be justice served with them. So that’s what’s happening in terms of that.

I think the behavior of Tom Orloff, his dismissive attitude, his unwillingness to meet with people—and we’re talking about a hundred leaders at a time—his tardiness in terms of communicating to the community, what is happening has led a lot of people to explore who will be the next district attorney in Alameda County. And I think a lot of people are taking that very seriously, as they are exploring that possibility. So, that’s two of the highlights.

And yesterday was a large protest in downtown Oakland. More than a thousand, couple of thousand people showed up. The emphasis was on peace, at the behest of the Grant family. One of the highlights of that particular demonstration was Sean Bell’s mother—Sean Bell from New York City—Valerie Bell, had sent a letter of support and condolences to Oscar Grant’s mom, and that was read to the people that were there.

After that particular demonstration was over, then we had more of what people would describe as the rebellion that took place in the streets of Oakland. This time, the city center was the target for a lot of people’s anger. Some people think it’s just people doing it gratuitously. I was out there last night, and really what I feel, Amy, is that even though it’s not my personal get-down, I just feel that there’s a lot of people that are very angry, and this sort of incident is not one that can be resolved by—it can’t be resolved just with one or two actions. Some people are so angry, I don’t think they know how to even express it. When you talk to them, you just hear stories about “The cops have killed my friend,” “The cops have abused me, I’ve been abused,” “Family has been abused.” You hear those stories over and over again. And I think this particular egregious crime has triggered something in a lot of people. Some people can express it better. They have a sense of direction. They have an idea and a plan of action that they can follow. And others are just, I think, literally traumatized.

And so, I don’t know how this will eventually play out, but right now in the city of Oakland, people are on the move in all different directions. And I think it would be for the good of the city for justice to be served and this man to be convicted and the four cops or the five cops that were on that platform to also be disciplined. Hopefully, they do jail time, as well.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Davey, a couple of questions about the actual incident. Number one, the cops you mentioned, since they were not actually involved in the shooting, I would assume that they were interviewed. Did they say—have any reports come out about what they claimed happened? And then, also, what was it that triggered the initial incident? In other words, how was Grant initially arrested or apprehended by the cops?

DAVEY D: Well, let me answer your last question first. From my understanding, there was an altercation on the BART train on New Year’s Eve, and somehow, when the cops arrived at the Fruitvale station, they went and saw this group of men, and they pulled them off the train and handcuffed them. And to this day, it’s not really clear if they were actually involved in an altercation. You hear all types of rumors and stories going around. Just from my experience of being on the BART train when there’s been fights, I’ve seen fights on Raider games and other sports, you know, sports days, when lots of people have been on the train. I don’t think it could have been anything really crazy, like somebody pulling a weapon and shooting or doing anything in the train that would have required the type of force that you saw applied to these gentlemen, especially with the killing of Grant.

We all know the story about him pleading for his life. We all heard the stories about him trying to talk to the officers and calm everybody down. We also heard the stories that they had tasers pointed at the other men that were on the platform, and maybe even Grant himself. You have to talk to their lawyer, John Burris, to get all the details, but whatever the case, all we know is that there was an unarmed man whose hands were behind his back, he was on the face—was face down on a platform with another officer having his knee on his neck, and this gentleman was shot in front of plain view of hundreds of people. And I don’t think people can really appreciate how traumatic that is. I mean, we saw an execution, a modern-day lynching, take place before our very eyes. And we haven’t seen the type of urgency and the type of immediate redress that I think people would like to see happen, considering, you know, what took place.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And the Mayor of Oakland is Ron Dellums. What has been the Mayor’s response to all of this?

DAVEY D: Well, he’s been responding now. I mean, yesterday, they announced that he’s going to help set up some healing centers. But as far as I’m concerned, he was very slow. If you have something like this happen—you’re the mayor of the city—it’s up to you to assure the people that something is going to be done. I mean, Giuliani and Mayor Bloomberg, you know, they pretty quickly addressed New York City after Sean Bell and Amadou Diallo. Whether or not I agreed with their position on it, it doesn’t matter, as at least they talked to people. In other cities, when you’ve seen these types of things happen, the leadership has stepped out and said something. Here, it was six or seven days, and only after people were protesting and lobbying and having conversations and meeting. And it, in my opinion, is when the city started to catch on fire and people were jumping on cop cars that all of a sudden you had all this movement. I’m sure it was going to happen sooner or later, but, I mean, six days after seeing an execution on your watch, and to me, is inexcusable. You should have been out there day one, the minute it happened.

I mean, for us, just for us, like we were on vacation, our show. We had already pre-recorded our things, and we were gone. We came off vacation just to follow the story and be a part of that, because we knew the way that media would look at this. The first thing they would do is not look at a young man who was shot, unarmed and in execution-style. We knew that they were going to try and flip it and find out what his past was and maybe imply that maybe he deserved it, did he have a criminal record, all these types of things. And some of those outlets did do that. So it was important that we came up there and reminded people that this was an unarmed man who got killed in the presence of four or five officers who were able to restrain him. And from what we could see from the videotapes, he wasn’t fighting or resisting anybody.

AMY GOODMAN: Davey D, Oakland is certainly in contrast to its neighbors not far away, San Jose and San Francisco: 400,000 people, about, in Oakland, high unemployment, high poverty. What is being called for right now? Bay Area legislators, like Assemblyman Tom Ammiano and State Senator Leland Yee, have introduced bills to establish a civilian review board for the transit system’s police. Is that adequate, do you feel? And what is being called for?

DAVEY D: Well, I mean, I don’t think it’s adequate, unless that civilian review board really has teeth. We’ve had how many civilian review boards since the days of the Panthers? You know, there was always a push to have some sort of accountability. You have a committee. People study it. You set things up. And then, somehow, you still have killings that go on. Remember, we’re talking about Oscar Grant this time, but you have like, what, six or seven that took place in Oakland last year alone. And I remember the Gary King killing that took place when everybody was marching in Jena, Louisiana for the Jena Six. You had a guy, Gary King in North Oakland, who was shot in the back by an officer who had already shot two or three people over the past year or so, including somebody who I understand was handicap and in a wheelchair. So, you never have the sort of punishment and discipline that I think many of us feel should be meted out to officers who are abusive.

And keep in mind, right now, it makes news when we talk about people being killed. What we don’t talk about all the time is all the disrespect, the people that find themselves on the receiving end of some sort of abuse, having to witness a parent maybe being abused by the police, or a mother or father or cousin. When we’ve been out there and covering these stories, you hear this over and over and over and over and over again, people crying and will tell you a story about what they witnessed or what they have experienced. And I don’t think people who are removed from that or who never experienced some sort of brutality from the police can really appreciate that. They think it’s like, “OK, well, you know, he got arrested, and that’s it, and we should move on, and let’s turn and find out what else is going on in the news.” No, this is very traumatic. It’s—in my opinion, it’s like a terrorist act.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Davey D, I want to thank you very much for being with us. The history of Oakland is very interesting, Black Panthers founded there in 1966. Bobby Hutton, who was seventeen years old, was killed there. We will continue to follow this story. Davey D, hip hop journalist and activist, runs the popular website Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner and daveyd.com, co-host of Hard Knock Radio on our sister station KPFA in Berkeley.

Myra Bronstein
01-18-2009, 02:25 AM
From today's www.democracynow.org (http://www.democracynow.org)

Thanks for posting this Peter. Davey D made a lot of good points.

I have to get in the daily habit of checking out Democracy Now.

Keith Millea
01-24-2009, 05:31 PM
The FBI is investigating allegations that the head of the Oakland Police Department's Internal Affairs Division almost nine years ago beat a drug suspect who later died, and then ordered subordinate officers to lie about it, according to police sources, some of whom federal agents recently have interviewed.



Myra Bronstein
01-29-2009, 01:15 AM
The FBI is investigating allegations that the head of the Oakland Police Department's Internal Affairs Division almost nine years ago beat a drug suspect who later died, and then ordered subordinate officers to lie about it, according to police sources, some of whom federal agents recently have interviewed.http://www.mercurynews.com/breakingnews/ci_11537195


Good find Keith. First I've heard of this.

Have you guys seen the video of a Bart cop, Tony Pirone, hitting Oscar Grant before his partner, Johannes Mehserle, executed Grant? What a team. Video here: http://www.colorofchange.org/grant/?id=2022-639187

No charges against Pirone yet. That needs to change.

Keith Millea
07-09-2010, 03:31 PM
Here we go.Hot summer nights!!!!!

Weekend Edition
July 9 - 11, 2010
Streets of Rage

Searching for Justice in Oakland

As the Oakland community begins to understand the meaning of Johannes Mehserle’s involuntary manslaughter verdict, the streets exploded angrily last night.

Mehserle is the former BART cop who killed Oscar Grant on New Year’s morning, 2009. As Grant was lying face down on a BART platform, Mehserle stood up, grabbed his firearm, aimed down, and shot Grant. Mehserle’s next action was to handcuff the wounded 22 year old father before calling for any kind of medical assistance. Oscar Grant was killed that morning, but the Oakland community will never forget his name.

Yesterday at 4pm, an LA courthouse announced the jury’s verdict, that Mehserle killed Grant with “criminal negligence”, receiving the charge of involuntary manslaughter. From what I understand at the time of this writing, the verdict could mean that Oscar Grant’s killer will serve anywhere from two to fourteen years in jail.

It’s clear, though, that the Oakland community does not consider the conviction strong enough. Speaker after speaker at the 6pm rally in downtown Oakland told the crowd of at least a thousand that they were disappointed with the verdict. Many folks spoke out about their feelings in different ways, but no one seemed comfortable with what had happened.
At the same time, no one seemed uncomfortable by the huge amount of support given by the larger Bay Area. What many sources have called “outside agitators”, many people in the streets last night recognized as community support.

While we think about the mainstream narrative of “outsiders”, it seems important to keep in mind that Oscar Grant himself lived in Hayward, and Mehserle was not an Oakland cop, but a BART officer, which meant his jurisdiction spanned across a range of cities throughout the Bay Area. Oakland simply and justifiably is at the center of this action.

The inside agitators, which are mostly Oaklanders (although I did see some people from Berkeley, Hayward and Vallejo), clearly played a strong role in the community response to the verdict. As the formal rally came to a close at 8pm as organizers were ordered to shut it down by the city, it became clear that the police forces, whether Oakland cops, California Highway Patrol, or others from nearby cities, were excited and ready to use their new training and equipment on the people who came out to voice their opinions.

Once the rally ended, at least two people had already been arrested, but it was fully unclear to any of us witnessing the events what prompted those arrests. Only a few minutes later, I was told that a block away a Footlocker’s windows were broken and its contents ransacked by community members. When I arrived there, I watched some young people grab shoes in the store and run out before two others blocked the entrance, telling others that justice for Oscar Grant does not look like what we were seeing.

But what does justice look like?

As I walked away from Footlocker, I saw freshly sprayed graffiti covering windows and businesses with statements like “Justice 4 Oscar Grant” and “Off The Pigs”. Continuing down the street, I saw protesters running in any direction they could find to avoid confrontations with police, who were slowly marching up Broadway Avenue in Downtown Oakland.

Then the shattering started. Much of the next few hours became a blur. I watched numerous windows at the downtown Oakland Sears fall to the ground as someone lit small fireworks nearby. Sirens echoed in every direction and police announced that the gatherings were illegal and we would be arrested and possibly “removed by force which could cause serious bodily injury”. Minutes later, the wind carried a draft of pepper spray toward me as I walked by three large flaming dumpsters in the middle of Telegraph Avenue.

In the midst of all the action I searched for some kind of organization—some kind of unified goal or idea of justice. The community is angry, and there is no correct platform to address that anger. For those who are sure that Mehserle should be charged with a crime stronger than involuntary manslaughter, the legal approach did not work.

While leadership and organization seemed to have flown out the window, it did seem that the rebellions were much more calculated than those just after Grant’s murder, as most of the broken windows were concentrated at corporate giants like Footlocker and Starbucks. The strongest piece of organization I witnessed in Oakland’s streets last night were the groups of people preventing attacks on local businesses.

The police came in as a close second. They didn’t seem to know how to deal with what was going on, but they would march in formation down a street, only to watch new trash cans light up and windows shatter another block down. While they may have been organized within their small army, officers had no idea how to deal with the realities of last night. In fact, it became clear to me that they made Oakland’s streets very unsafe.

As I walked from Telegraph to Broadway on Grand Avenue, first watching a Starbucks window broken and then that of a sushi restaurant, I realized the night was getting out of hand for everyone. Trying to stay connected with some sort of normality and step away from the crazy streets, I called a friend. As soon as my conversation was over I looked down at my phone to hang up. Then a hand came out of nowhere, perhaps over my shoulder, and grabbed the phone. I tried to hold onto it until I was startled and disoriented by a fist slamming into my eye and I let the phone disappear as blood began dripping from just above my left eyelid.

But where were the police to respond to a robbery and assault in the middle of a major intersection in downtown Oakland? They were clearly not making it safe for me to be in that space, and it is still unclear who or what they made it safe for. The person or people who have the phone and gave me a black eye and some possible medical bills were not crazy and violent Oaklanders that need to be policed to help or save people like me. These were people who took advantage of a lawless space that our law enforcement officers created themselves.

The night started with people began moving and becoming angry (or angrier) because police declared a peaceful gathering in the street to be illegal. Windows were broken because people were angry and moving quickly down the streets with nowhere to voice their anger safely.

Hours later, I’m lying in bed with a black eye and a gash above my eyelid.
I can only imagine how my night would have ended if the police hadn’t declared the peaceful gathering illegal and created a sense of lawlessness in Oakland’s streets.

This is not justice for Oscar Grant. But what is? From the Grant’s murder to those of us who were endangered by police last night, law enforcement needs to be held accountable to the communities they serve. That at least seems like a good starting point.

Jesse Strauss was born and raised in Oakland. He is a producer for Flashpoints (www.flashpoints.net) on Pacifica Radio. Reach him at jstrauss (at) riseup.net.


Keith Millea
07-12-2010, 06:37 PM
July 12, 2010
In the Oscar Grant Movement, Steel Sharpens Steel

Oakland's Verdict

For the fourth time in less than two years, Oakland has become a surreal scene. As though fleeing a tsunami, thousands have packed into their cars in a mass exodus from the downtown area, and are sitting in twenty blocks of traffic headed north on Broadway. The jury in the murder trial of Johannes Mehserle, the transit cop who shot and killed Oscar Grant some eighteen months ago, has reached a verdict, which will be read in a few short minutes.

The response by the Oakland Police Department and the thousands of other officers drafted into an ironically-titled “mutual aid” scheme has been predictably overblown: alarms have been triggered in major buildings downtown to force evacuations, and the fear of God has been struck into the heart of every corporate and government employee in a ten-block radius. The police, it seems, are expecting a war, and are preparing accordingly.

Nonprofits: Velvet Glove of the State

But as I have said previously (http://www.counterpunch.org/maher06292010.html), this was never just about the police, as a powerful alliance had emerged between nonprofit and local city leaders whose sole objective seemed to be heading off a repeat of last year’s rebellions (http://www.counterpunch.org/maher01092009.html) by co-opting the anger of the people at the verdict. Instead of a well-orchestrated symphony of hegemonic control, however, this alliance yielded a cacophony of clumsy embarrassment that discredited all involved. Here is how it played out:

Absent for the preceding 18 months while community members busily demanded and worked for justice, a whole host of state, business, and nonprofit institutions jerked into motion in the face of the impending verdict. Their clumsiness was immediately transparent in a staged press conference thrown together at the last minute by Mayor Ron Dellums with the participation of city leaders and the Oakland Police. In desperate need of some degree of legitimacy, the Mayor’s office drafted three members of the Laney College Black Student Union, who were trotted out and expected to parrot the official line: Peace without Justice.

While the measure was partially successful in providing the barest façade of unity (for example, in the uncritical coverage (http://www.insidebayarea.com/oaklandtribune/localnews/ci_15431791) by the Oakland Tribune), the reality was that this co-optation attempt was a partial victory at best: the three young men took turns attacking the police (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0r3lNXgXfU) for their threatening preparations and distinguishing between property destruction and violence, while Dellums squirmed and OPD chief Anthony Batts stared on in icy silence. Afterward, all three young men angrily confessed to feeling “used” by the Mayor and city officials.

Simultaneously, a whole host of nonprofits with nominally radical roots drew increasingly closer to the city and pushed the same line. The Urban Peace Movement (http://www.counterpunch.org/maher06292010.html), for example, teamed up with Youth Uprising to push the slogan “Violence is Not Justice” a now-notorious Public Service Announcement (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/07/03/18652584.php) which was as ill-conceived as the Mayor’s press conference. In the PSA, the violent murder of Oscar Grant is explicitly equated to the property destruction that followed, and the nonprofit-state alliance becomes absolutely clear in interviews with OPD as well as San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris. Once released, the PSA was explosively polarizing, even within the nonprofit community, where many well-meaning activists take economic refuge.

Similarly polarizing was the next effort by the nonprofits and local government, one aimed more directly at the community-planned day-of-verdict event. A local, democratic, grassroots organization known as the Oakland Assembly (http://www.oaklandforjustice.org/) had planned for months a gathering on the day of the verdict, one which would privilege the voices of the young people of color most affected by police violence, but this did not stop nonprofits and local city officials from attempting to upstage the community by holding their own event less than a block away, in front of City Hall, and demanding that community organizers join the official event.

Community organizers quickly denounced this and other efforts by nonprofits and city officials to co-opt the popular movement for justice in a press conference that was largely ignored (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/07/10/18653478.php) by a media looking for sensationalistic stories of impending violence. Community calls for freedom of speech and assembly to be respected were taken up by some in the nonprofit community (http://cjjc.org/news/52-national-news/145-a-verdict-against-racism-and-towards-liberation) who did not buy into the city’s intimidation campaign and attempt to police movements, and once it became clear that the Oakland Assembly would not participate, the city-sponsored event collapsed.

“My Son Was Murdered!”

As the slow stampede of commuters continues to pour out of Oakland, we receive word of a verdict: involuntary manslaughter, which some had been predicting from day one (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/06/24/18651810.php). While it was initially unclear, the jury did in fact add a weapons enhancement, but it remains to be seen whether or not Judge Robert Perry will allow the seemingly contradictory conclusion--an involuntary killing alongside the purportedly voluntary use of a firearm--to stand. As though expecting that his final sentencing would prove controversial, Perry scheduled it for a full month later, on August 6th, but to add insult to injury, a defense motion was granted which postpones sentencing indefinitely.

In a clearly emotional response to the media after the verdict, Oscar Grant’s mother Wanda Johnson responded to the verdict (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbfOKPKada4) in the most unambiguous of terms:

My son was murdered!
He was murdered!
He was murdered!
He was murdered!
My son was murdered!
And the law has not held the officer accountable…
Grant’s uncle Cephus “Bobby” Johnson expressed a sentiment similar to Wanda’s, that the family had been “slapped in the face by this system that has denied us true justice.”

In a nauseating parallel to the Youth Uprising PSA, the Director of that same organization, Olis Simmons, took Bobby’s statement as an opportunity to turn the violence of the state once again back toward its victims. Knowing perfectly what she was playing into, she told that mouthpiece of reaction in the Bay (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=%2Fc%2Fa%2F2010%2F07%2F08%2FBAFL1EBK II.DTL), the San Francisco Chronicle, of her disappointment at Bobby’s words: “Damn… He just opened the door. Kicked it open. I don’t think he meant to, but he did it.” Thus from mourning uncle, Oscar Grant’s uncle Bobby is symbolically transformed into violent aggressor. This tactic, so long used by abusers of all stripes, is called blaming the victim, and it is reprehensible.

The Verdict of the Streets

While the community organizers of the Oakland Assembly had not planned to begin their event until 6pm, patience was not in the cards after the verdict was read, and by 5pm more than 200 had gathered on the steps near 14th and Broadway to express their disappointment and even disgust with the verdict. When Assembly members finally occupied the intersection, the crowd soon joined, chanting and blocking traffic.

As speakers began to reflect (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/07/08/18653066.php) on the verdict from a makeshift wooden platform in the middle of the intersection, a bus attempted to pass but was promptly blocked by the crowd. There was some disagreement, with some asking that the bus be allowed to pass, but others refusing to let it budge, insisting on stopping “business as usual.” It was then, before the community speak-out was even scheduled to begin, that police provocations began in earnest, with a squad car charging in with sirens blaring and lights flashing to free the bus.

This proved unwise. Within moments the crowd beat back the police, who were seen scurrying back down Broadway toward 12th. This would have been an unambiguously beautiful sight were it not for the fact that the fleeing police, protectors and servants of the people, backed their cruiser over a deaf woman (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2D2MbRXBOo) who was protesting in the intersection. The crowd was now divided in two, with enraged onlookers confronting the police on 12th while young people continued to speak out from the platform on 14th.

Tension simmered in the air, and a young Black woman seized a megaphone with a simple message that turned the mantra of the city and the nonprofits, “Violence is not Justice,” squarely on its head:

“We want justice! We want a riot!”
While this certainly expressed the sentiments of some, the Oakland Assembly event continued peacefully until its designated end time of 8pm, by which point police encirclement was complete. It wasn’t long before the growing crowd, now nearly 2,000 strong, like a young bird in a nest, grew restless of its constraints. Against the insistence of some that those gathered move toward the safety of Frank Ogawa Plaza, the opposite happened: first a trickle and then a stream of angry demonstrators moved down Broadway toward the creeping police lines at 12th.

Festival of the Oppressed

First water bottles were tossed toward police lines, with police responding with an unwarranted degree of panic. A Subway window is smashed. The crowd begins to swell in the opposite direction, up to and beyond 14th. When one voice on a megaphone drifted through the crowd voicing the traditional mantra, “No Justice, No Peace,” this was met immediately with some skepticism, as one in the crowd replied: “Don’t say that shit unless you mean it.”

More interest is attracted by a boom box blasting NWA’s “Fuck the Police,” as young people dance ecstatically in a circle. The song’s chorus becomes a chant, a booming echo between tall buildings, and is soon directed from a distance at police lines holding back beyond 15th. Attention soon turns to a Foot Locker: the glass is broken, the metal gates literally torn apart with bare hands, as the store’s content, normally unattainable for some, beckoned. Within mere minutes, and with police looking on, the store’s displays and even stock room are emptied of all contents, some carried off, some tossed into the watching crowd. “I’m size 12!” one onlooker shouts.

Some have already blamed the property destruction that occurred on “outside agitators” and white anarchists. While some anarchists were certainly present, some of whom were indeed white, and while they may have played a role in, for example, the broken windows at a bank across the street, and the broken Rite Aid window emblazoned with the ironic graffiti, “Involuntary Property Destruction,” to blame anarchists for the palpable anger in the streets that night is utterly comical (especially given the existing video footage (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fna_RrNeBy0&feature=related)).

But while many took the opportunity to grab shoes, jerseys, and baseball caps, the commodity-form did not escape entirely unscathed. Just as Marx famously remarked (http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch01.htm) that the commodity simultaneously embodies use-value and exchange-value, the objects expropriated from Foot Locker were treated with a combination of celebration and hatred in accord with this twofold character. Those items not taken home to fulfill human needs (or re-sold to do so) were summarily burned in the street, in a most elemental attack on the “fetishism of the commodity” which proves in practice that what is made by human hands can also be thus destroyed and returned to dust.

If anything, this brief moment was notable for a total absence of any conflict within the crowd, as white and Black, anarchist or otherwise, came together however fleetingly as comrades. But fleeting it was, as the police were all the while biding their time and waiting to move in. And it was not agitators, but infiltrators, who posed the most danger, as many observed undercover police dressed not as black-clad anarchists, but as media, equipped with press passes issued by the City of Oakland. The police would soon sweep in, arresting nearly 80 and slapping many with the sorts of trumped-up arson charges (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/02/22/18638420.php) we saw pressed only to be eventually dropped last year.

Desley, Desley, Desley

But this tale of co-optation and state violence would be far from complete without introducing, or rather re-introducing, one more character: Desley Brooks (http://www.oaklandnet.com/government/council/coun_mem/brooks/), city councilwoman representing East Oakland. While Brooks may seem to act the part of your ordinary elected official when the cameras are rolling, she becomes a veritable Mafioso behind the scenes.

During the Rebellions of January 2009, Brooks was spotted moving between march organizers and police, although we can’t be sure what sort of information was being relayed. When the Oakland Assembly planned a vigil and community memorial for Oscar Grant on the January 1st anniversary of his murder, and without consulting the Assembly, Brooks assembled a stage and sound system for the event. When it came time for Assembly members to put forth a more radical agenda than she could stomach, Brooks sent a clear message: “This is my stage--get the fuck off.”

It is this sort of open sabotage of the community that has led many to be wary of Desley Brooks and her often dubious tactics. In fact, the event planned at City Hall for the day of the verdict was in fact Brooks up to her old tricks, as an email reveals (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/07/10/18653478.php), and as tensions in the crowd arose that day, Brooks consistently placed herself between police and demonstrators, doing so not to protect the people but to keep them in line.

As the day wound down and police began to sweep across the intersection to brutalize and arrest, I stood with a young, multiethnic group of demonstrators enraged by the verdict. One young Black man, Jevon Cochran, more out of desperation than aggression, symbolically tossed a cardboard box in the direction of the police, but it was not the police who responded. Rather, it was Desley Brooks and her orange-vested goons that rushed us, grabbing and punching us. These “volunteer peacekeepers” as they were calling themselves that night, are in reality employed by the office of Mayor Dellums himself (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0VwHkZdW-w), but what they didn’t realize was that Cochran was one of the three young men that Dellums himself had trotted out in a desperate bid for legitimacy.

Desley, clearly infuriated, began to attack us verbally as her “peacekeepers” attacked physically. Recognizing me from previous demonstrations, she seethed, “I’ve seen your bitch ass at all these things.” Yes, I remind her, I had confronted her for talking to the police on January 30th 2009, and for sabotaging the community event on January 1st 2010. As though taking the police soundbyte as reality, one of her thugs pointed to the small crowd, declaring “You don’t even live in Oakland!” Those assembled began to respond spontaneously: yes, in fact, most live in Oakland. Those nearby did not hesitate to cast judgment, pointing at the orange-vested servants of the state and chanting: “Pigs go home! Pigs go home!”

We move away from the clear provocation as Desley and her thugs try to wrap their condescending heads around the unthinkable: a young, Black man who shares none of their conciliatory views toward the state.

Eventually, the desperate conclusion is reached: “he can’t think straight because he’s not surrounded by his own.” If we didn’t know it already, the Oscar Grant rebellions have taught us clearly that when reformist sell-outs and collaborators in communities of color are challenged, vulgar nationalism (as opposed to its revolutionary variant) becomes an all-too-easy refuge.

As POCC Minister of Information JR puts it (http://www.blockreportradio.com/news-mainmenu-26/905-with-friends-like-councilwoman-brooks-who-needs-enemies.html) in a recent article on Desley Brooks:

Where does she stand? When are we, as residents of Oakland, going to challenge this government hijacker and people like her? … We should judge a tree by the fruit it produces, and not by anything else… I think she should push the bar, and call for more indictments, instead of trying to throw rallies… If she refuses to do that, we should look at her funny when she slithers back around during re-election time. We, the residents of Oakland, need to play hard-ball with her and all other government and non-profit personnel that are faking the funk.
Identifying Enemies, Making a Scene

Was this a battle lost to win the war? A battle won at the expense of the war? Has the cycle of struggle initiated by Oscar Grant’s murder wound down to its inevitable close? Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, things aren’t so clear.

After a particularly explosive response to racism, Black revolutionary Frantz Fanon once summarized his dual accomplishments as follows: “I identified my enemies and I made a scene.” If that is all we have done in the past year, this is no small accomplishment, since as Fanon teaches, to clearly identify our enemies is a precondition to victory, and it is often in making a righteous scene that our enemies identify themselves and that we steel our resolve to eventually defeat them. Is Desley Brooks an enemy of the people? Olis Simmons? Fortunately for them, the people are patient, but this patience is not unlimited.

As we weave through Old Oakland amid the distant flash and thunder of concussion grenades, an informal discussion of looting develops. Cochran, who has in the past week found himself both manipulated by Ron Dellums and assaulted by Desley Brooks, puts it in the following terms:
Corporate spots like Foot Locker are tied directly to exploitation and oppression of Black and Brown people, and they’re underpaying and exploiting the people making these shoes, so if people are gonna steal shoes and smash windows at Foot Locker I’m not gonna stop them.

They’re just taking shit for the same price Foot Locker pays the workers! And there’s nothing wrong with people taking shit they can’t afford. I’m glad they got those sneakers… and those caps.

George Ciccariello-Maher received his Ph.D in political theory from the University of California, Berkeley. Yes, he lives in Oakland, and can be reached at gjcm(at)berkeley.edu.


Keith Millea
07-21-2010, 10:20 PM
PLAYING WITH FIRE,'ESE.......:viking:

Published on Wednesday, July 21, 2010 by CommmonDreams.org (http://www.commondreams.org/) Another Police Killing in Oakland, CA

by Dennis Bernstein

This weekend, police killed another man at the same rail transit station in Oakland, California, where 22-year-old Oscar Grant was shot in the back last year, a case that resulted in violent clashes this month when the police officer responsible was convicted of only involuntary manslaughter.
On Saturday, Oakland and Bay Area Rapid Transit Police shot and killed 48-year-old Oakland resident Fred Collins, a reportedly Hispanic "looking" man near the Fruitvale station in Oakland.

The first reports, all from the police, said the man was "armed" with two knives. But none of the dozens of officers who answered the call was hurt during the incident.
Though the circumstances of the latest shooting are very different than those in the Grant case, the killing Saturday raises more questions about violent police over-reactions.

An eyewitness, looking out her window said the man was walking backwards yelling for the police to shoot him. According to a television interview of the eyewitness, the man had his hands up.
Ultimately, the man died in a barrage of police bullets from at least five police officers. Police claim they tasored the man several times before he came at them with a pair of knives. Given the number of shooters, it may never be known which bullet killed the man.

Oakland homicide detectives, the Alameda County District Attorney's Office and the internal affairs units of the Oakland and BART police departments launched administrative investigations into the shooting.
The descriptions given by several eyewitnesses do not appear to square with the police account.

"When they turned here at the corner, there was," said the eyewitness who saw the confrontation through her window, who identified herself only as Letty. "I wanna say about 10 policemen, all gathered together and then I saw this man walking backwards, like this, (hands up on both sides), saying 'Shoot me, shoot me, shoot me' and the police,
"I didn't hear none of the police say anything, they were just gathered together, following him while he was walking backwards all the way through that street," she said Letty."And then all of a sudden, I hear a little pop and then right after that I hear 'bup, bup, bup, bup, bup!'"
The BayCitizen reported, according to eyewitness interviews, that the man was wearing two backpacks - one on his back and one on his front, and was shot after he tried to reach inside one. Police say nothing about a back pack..

Fourteen-year-old Florencia Osores told the BayCitizen that she watched the shooting out her window with her family. Osores said she saw about "fifteen" cops in pursuit. The man stopped running and turned around.
"The cops said ‘stop,'" she said, adding that he turned his back to the officers and "looked like he was taking something from his bag." According to the teen eyewitness, that was when the cops opened up with a barrage of fire. "I've never seen the cops versus a person before," she said. "They shouldn't be trying to kill him. Couldn't they have shot him in the leg?"

Ill Prepared for Crisis Intervention
Mesha Monge Irizarry knows a great deal about police overreaction and a lot about the impact of the 50,000-watt tasor, which the police claim was ineffective in stopping the man. Irizarry, who has given courses to the police in non-violent escalation, saw her own 23-year-old son, Idris Stelly, killed in a barrage of 48 bullets in 2001.

"It's a common practice for police to all starting firing at once," Irizarry said. "They know when they shoot together, it's almost impossible to find out who shot first, or whose bullet ended a life."
She said she's extremely suspicious about the police claims that the tasor didn't stop the man or even slow him down.
"There's no such thing as it doesn't have any effect, like the police are claiming. They're full of bull. It's not like a little shock from a faulty circuit. It totally shuts your body down. Many people have died from one application."

James Keys, chair of San Francisco City and County Board of Mental Health, also has doubts about the police claims regarding the tasor having little or no effect. "I find it hard to believe that they shot him like that with tasor several times and he kept going," Keys said.
Keys said the Oakland Police Department has failed "for decades in dealing with situations like this. ... I cannot understand why they couldn't subdue that man without using a kill shot."
Beyond the difficulty of dealing with crisis intervention, Keys said there is a long-term issue of trust regarding the police.
"I grew up in Oakland as an African-American ... and the police have never dealt well" with black and brown people, Keys said. "The prevailing attitude is that white officers kill" people of color.

Mayor Ron Dellums released a statement on Saturday, joining the police and BART officials in urging calm.
"Anytime there is a loss of life, it is a matter of great concern and sadness for us all," Dellums said in his written statement. "It is extremely important that we as a community continue to work together in order to provide a safe and secure environment. Therefore, a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding this death has begun."
However, in the aftermath of the Oscar Grant killing, there is mounting public concern about the police resorting to excessive force.
"People are very scared," local resident Juanna Nieva told one reporter, "I am really worried for kids. People are living in fear in Oakland."

Dennis Bernstein based this report in part on interviews done for "Flashpoints" on the Pacifica radio network. You can access the audio archives at www.flashpoints.net (http://www.flashpoints.net/). You can get in touch with the author at dbernstein@igc.org (dbernstein@igc.org)


Magda Hassan
07-21-2010, 11:54 PM
Oh, wow. This is looking like a bad habit.
:argh: :thumpdown: :eviltongue:

Peter Lemkin
07-22-2010, 04:44 AM
Sadly, given the kind of person in the Police and their mind set PLUS the new mood of the growing police state and terrorist under every rock - they shoot first and look for threatening action later.....all too often. People are terrified when pulled over for a traffic infraction, that they will be murdered by the police as they sit quietly in their car. It has happened. Being dark skinnned and looking poor, the average policeman suspects or 'knows' you are up to 'no good' and are just a target for them to practice on...sadly. It is getting worse and only one officer has ever been convicted for such a shooting and not for murder, but manslaughter. These types of shootings occur several per week nationwide. Fatal ones are common. Usually no one is even prosecuted. Being a policeman or woman in the USA is a license to kill...without reasons very often.