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Oakland Protests Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation
Over 100 gathered in front of Oakland City Hall for a demonstration and march in Oakland on October 22, joining with people in cities across the country on the “National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation.
Over 100 gathered in front of Oakland City Hall for a demonstration and march in Oakland on October 22, joining with people in cities across the country on the “National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation."
The largest group of participants were the families and friends of those who had been murdered by the police, who marched behind a banner which read “Stolen Lives: Killed by Law Enforcement."
There were many family and friends of of Gary King, Jr., a 20-year-old youth who was murdered by police on September 20. Gary King was grabbed by the dreadlocks, brutalized, tasered and shot in the back by officer Patrick Gonzales, who had mistaken King for someone else. Gonzeles, who has been responsible for shooting several other young Black men in the last few years, stood with his foot in Gary’s back as he lay dying on the ground.
Other family members present were included: Alade (whose father, Charles Vaughn was murdered by police in Seaside); Danny Garcia (brother of Mark Garcia, who died after being sprayed repeatedly with pepper spray and beaten by police); Rashida Grinnage (whose husband, well known jazz musician and son were shot and killed by Oakland police); Cinnamon, (whose son was shot and seriously wounded by the OPD earlier this year); Frank Rosenberg (whose son was shot and killed in front of his house); Meesha Irazarry, (mother of Idriss Stelley, a 23-year-old African American honor student killed by SFPD at the SF Sony Metreon in 2001, when 9 officers fired 48 shots at Idriss as he stood alone in an empty theater); and Marilyn Boyd, mother of Cameron Boyd killed by SFPD).
A group of about 5 high school students from Youth Together came to the rally and especially wanted to link up the issue of the ICE (immigration raids) with the issue of police brutality. An art teacher from a local charter school brought about 10 students to the rally as a class exercise in critical thinking.
In an outrageous incident a high school student from Leadership Academy High School in SF and a youth organizer were grabbed by security at Berkeley High, who shoved and threatened to beat them. The 15-year old high school student was held for three hours and interrogated; officials at Berkeley High School called the Principal of Leadership Academy and demanded that she be suspended. Her mother was called and made to leave work and pick her up from Berkeley High custody. And these two activists had been invited by a BHS teacher to speak in his classes about O22!! Activists with O22 are working to take on this blatant example of repression/criminalization of youth.
A spirited march took place stopping at FEMA headquarters where people spoke out about how the US government left poor and Black people to die in Katrina and how they continue to mess over the people in New Orleans even 2 years after the hurricane.
When the march got to the Oakland Police Station there was a powerful outpouring from family members demanding that Patrick Gonzalez (cop who killed Gary King, Jr.) be fired. A popular chant was “3000 stolen lives -- we refuse to close our eyes.”
At the Federal Building speakers exposed how immigration raids by ICE are terrorizing the Latino community. Several family members spoke powerfully, using examples from their own cases why we can’t rely on the system to give us justice. “This [October 22] is the only way we are going to get justice,” Danny Garcia said outside the Federal Building. “We’re not going to get justice from the people in there.”
In addition to family members speakers at a rally included two important officials with the ILWU (Longshore Union). Richard Cavalli, President of Local 34 and Clarence Thomas, President of Local 10. A high school youth gave a speech as a supporter of Revolution Newspaper and the RCP. He was enthusiastically received when he spoke of the need of the revolution to overthrow the system that causes police brutality. A spoken word poet with a collective known as “Colored Ink” did some spoken word and asked people if they know what OPD stands for (Answer: Oppressing People Daily).