On February 7 an Oakland Police Department officer shot at — but missed — a man who was reportedly having a mental health crisis. Later that day, Oakland city officials bragged in a press release that OPD had not shot anybody for twenty months. However, in the last thirteen months five people have been shot and killed by law enforcement in Oakland, it just happens that they were not killed by members of the Oakland Police Department. Jacorey Calhoun was shot and killed by an Alameda County Sheriff’s Deputy in August of last year.
In September of 2014, the City of Oakland began to make attempts to displace and remove people in public plazas in the wake of the WOSP (West Oakland Specific Plan) being passed. Then, in December, as the Ferguson inspired Bay Area uprising was raging, people armed with bolt-cutters took down the fences encircling the park to the cheers of those on the streets. Wanting to know more about the anti-gentrification struggle and how it connects to the battle against police and white supremacy, we caught up with long-time Oakland organizer and militant, Linda Grant.
Yuvette Henderson was gunned down by Emeryville police officers Michelle Shepard and Warren Williams on February 3 within minutes of an incident at the Emeryville Home Depot about a block away. Concerned that Yuvette was killed because she was a Black woman, and that police agencies are involved in a massive cover-up, the Anti Police-Terror Project held a rally at Emeryville PD headquarters on February 21 before marching to the Home Depot, where activists used chains and lockboxes to shut the store down for most of the day.
Family, friends, and community supporters came together on February 14 for a candlelight vigil to honor 23-year-old Phillip Watkins, who was shot and killed by two officers with the San Jose Police Department on February 11. About one hundred people attended the vigil, and many spoke about what a positive person Phillip was, and how he changed their lives.
Five transgender women of color have been violently killed within the first two months of 2015 in the United States. One murder locally has rattled the nerves of the local transgender community. On February 1, Taja Gabrielle de Jesus was stabbed repeatedly by an unknown assailant while walking down a street in the Bayview district in San Francisco. In response, approximately 200 people rallied on the steps of city hall for Transgender Tuesday on February 10.
On February 3, Yuvette Henderson was shot and killed by Emeryville police just inside of Oakland city limits. Nearly a hundred people turned out for a vigil for Yuvette Henderson that evening. On February 10, activists delivered printed questions for ExtraSpace Storage, where Yuvette was gunned down, and Home Depot, where Yuvette was accused of shoplifting and apparently some sort of altercation took place. A demand was issued for both the Emeryville and Oakland police departments to release surveillance video.
From the blockading of Google buses to the blockading of major freeways. From riots against white supremacy and police in Oakland to anti-tech and gentrification brawls in San Francisco, 2014 was an explosive year. Battles erupted in a variety of places and around various issues. This year in review looks at some of the key struggles and outbreaks of rebellion that shook the bay area to its core.