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Center Column Archives
The family, friends, co-workers, and congregation of Amos G. Smith gathered in Union City on April 13 for a candlelight vigil to honor the 26-year-old man who was shot and killed on March 2 by officers with the Union City Police Department. Yolanda Smith, Amos' mother, stood with a sign that read "Union City Police Dept. Murders." She said that officers with the Union City Police Department told her very little about what had occurred that night, only that her son pointed a gun at them and that the two officers involved wound up shooting him eight times in the back of the head.
Last year on May Day, a boisterous but mostly peaceful demonstration promoted by Occupy Oakland and other groups, was attacked by an OPD assault force. In the ensuing confusion, Oakland police targeted several individuals. Like so many arrested during actions of civil disobedience and protest, the district attorney has stacked charges on top of the initial ones, and failed to notify the accused of his arraignments. On March 19th, the Oakland Police Department sent ten officers to Prince’s home to make good on their warrant. Prince was being held at Santa Rita jail on $25,000 bail, but all charges were dropped except for one on March 21 and supporters were able to pay the bond for his release.
Four years ago, Tristan Anderson, an Oakland-based human rights activist, was shot in the head with a tear gas canister by Israeli military police. On March 13th, on the anniversary of Tristan's injury, dozens gathered in Oscar Grant Plaza to celebrate Global Resistance Day. Global Resistance Day honors Tristan and all who have transcended borders and risked their lives to resist tyranny. Friends and family of Tristan Anderson announced that they will soon go to Israel to press charges against the Israeli police on Tristan's behalf.
On February 12, Berkeley Police murdered Kayla Moore. Kayla Moore lived with "mental illness" and has been described by friends and family as a Transgender person who "passed as a woman." One month later and the Berkeley Police still have not released information as to the cause of Kayla's death, leaving most questions unanswered. On March 12, while police and corporate media were largely silent about the death, a nighttime march was held to call attention to the lack of accountability for the in-custody murder in Berkeley.
On March 5, Michael Walker, aka Ghetto Prophet (GP), co-chair of the ONYX Organizing Committee, was arrested at his home by the California Highway Patrol. Police claimed he was in violation of his parole, but GP has been off of parole since August 2012. Supporters believe this is a political attack because earlier that same day, GP participated in the Justice for Alan Blueford (JAB) Coalition rally. As of March 16, Ghetto Prophet is still being held at Santa Rita jail and supporters are asking for donations to help support his family.
On Wednesday, February 13th at 7pm, the Berkeley Police Review Commission will hold a hearing to discuss a possible drone policy for the city of Berkeley. On Thursday, February 14th at 1pm, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors' Public Protection Committee will hold a hearing on the Alameda County Sheriff's plan to purchase and deploy a drone. The Sheriff's office has stated it wanted to use the drone for "suspicious persons" and "large crowd control disturbances."
Two squats located in Oakland are facing eviction in the coming weeks. The Stayaway, located in the Highland neighborhood of East Oakland, received a "Notice to Vacate" for this Wednesday, February 13th. The RCA/Hot Mess compound, located in North Oakland, has been fighting eviction through court proceedings, but organizers believe eviction orders will be coming in the next week. Many of those organizing defense for the squats believe that "both spaces could face raids on or before Valentine's Day."