SF Bay Area Indymedia indymedia
About Contact Subscribe Calendar Publish Print Donate

East Bay | Indymedia | Police State and Prisons | Racial Justice | Front Page

Sun Sep 20 2009 (Updated 10/02/09) Community Journalist J.R. Valrey Targeted by Oakland Police in Bogus Arson Arrest
J.R. Valrey on Trial for Felony Charges in Oscar Grant Rebellion UPDATE: In a brief hearing on September 21st, Judge Jacobson revoked a stay-away order which kept Valrey away from downtown Oakland. His trial has been postponed until late October. October 2nd report: OPD, DA have no case against journalist M.O.I. JR.

J.R. Valrey will stand trial in Oakland on felony arson charges, after he was arrested while reporting on the Oscar Grant Rebellion on January 7, 2009. Valrey is a producer at KPFA radio, associate editor and multimedia director of the San Francisco Bay View newspaper, and runs the Block Report Radio website.

Valrey believes his arrest was payback for his years covering police brutality in print and on the radio. "I was covering it as a journalist," he said. "But one thing that's different about me from the rest of the rebels is that the Oakland police know me. ... I'm not a stranger to the power structure of Oakland, so I believe like many others that I was targeted politically... We were basically set up on trumped-up charges." Valrey's lawyer, Marlon Monroe, says the case against Valrey is weak and will fail.

“J.R. has really been a thorn in the police department's side,” says SF Bay View publisher Willie Ratcliff, who has published Valrey's work. “His stories are like those of Mumia Abu Jamal. He's young and really smart, and the people love him, they are really organizing, so the police are always after him. The judge even tried to get him to cop a plea to a misdemeanor, something I've never seen a judge do. But they really blew it this time because he didn't do anything except his job. The police even admitted that they didn't see him set any fire.”

The profferred plea bargain involved five years of felony probation, warrantless searches at any time of Valrey's body, car, home, and places of employment, time served, and restitution.

Supporters have been asked to attend a hearing on Sept. 21st to "[l]et the judge, OPD, the City, and whoever else needs to be aware that we stand in loving support of truth and justice and that JR is a gift and his work is valuable to the health and well being of this community. It is unacceptable that he be targeted and charged with crimes he did not commit - because he serves this community."

Court Solidarity Announcement

Related Indybay Coverage: Reporter faces felony charges for covering Oscar Grant rebellion | KPFA programmer and reporter JR Valrey of the Block Report arrested at Oakland protest over BART murder of Oscar Grant

12/11/14 Anti-Police Protests in Berkeley Swell Following Eric Garner Grand Jury Announcement   Police State and Prisons
12/11/14 Students and Community Members Pledge to Act Against UC Tuition Hikes   Education & Student Activism | Santa Cruz Indymedia
12/11/14 Santa Cruz Police Attempt to Sneak $250K 'Rescue Vehicle' Past Public   Police State and Prisons | Santa Cruz Indymedia
12/02/14 Mayfair Community Unites Around Issues of Health, Education, Labor, Food Safety   Health, Housing, and Public Services | South Bay
11/30/14 First Independent Media Center Kicked Off on N30 at Seattle WTO Protests in 1999   Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism | International
11/30/14 Protests & Disruptions Erupt Nationwide After No Charges in Ferguson Grand Jury Verdict   Police State and Prisons | Racial Justice | Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism
11/21/14 Students Protest Tuition Increases, Class Size, Fewer Classes, Cuts to Services   Education & Student Activism | Santa Cruz Indymedia
11/18/14 Indybay Journalist Assaulted by Leon Panetta's Security; Protesters Banned from Bookstore   Anti-War | Santa Cruz Indymedia
11/18/14 Santa Cruz Biotechnology Charged Again with Violating Animal Welfare Act   Animal Liberation | Santa Cruz Indymedia
11/14/14 Rasmea Odeh Conviction Protested Across U.S. by Supporters and Human Rights Activists   Police State and Prisons | Racial Justice | Palestine | Immigrant Rights
11/13/14 Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs Shares in Solidarity with Those Being Arrested in Florida   Health, Housing, and Public Services | Santa Cruz Indymedia