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Town Hall for Justice for Oscar Grant on Gang Injunctions, Oakland, 5/22/10: audio
In this week's Town Hall, Minister Keith Muhammad focuses on Oakland's new gang injunctions -- how they circumvent legal protections for the accused and how the injunctions seem designed to clear African American neighborhoods most coveted by developers rather than to actually fight crime in the most dangerous neighborhoods.
Minister Keith notes that the murder of Oscar Grant is not unique. Countless thousands have been brutalized and killed by police. Rarely are any held accountable. This violence is based in white supremacy from the beginning of the country when the first police were posses organized to suppress slave rebellions. There were mandates that caucasians must help capture escaped slaves, and this mindset continues in policing today.
Everyone has some level of prejudice they bring with them, but the practice of acting on it is the most problematic. Previously, debts were tied to slavery as indentured servants but not forcing work for generations based on race with the view of Africans as less than human. Same financial poweres directing policing then directing it now. And we see gang injunctions today in oakland. That doesn't mean we don't want safe communities. We are more in support of making community safe than those paid to supposedly make it sage (yet don't).
Oakland Councilperson Desley Brooks and Mayor Dellums raised the issue of OPD overtime and ran afoul of police unions, when they suggested officers be regularly schedule during the times when the most OT occurs. First the city council was afraid to confront the unions, but Dellums pushed until it happend then then was excluded from speaking at the memorial for the 4 Oakland police officers shot and killed along with Lovelle Mixon.
Now budget cuts looking to lay off 200 officers that were relatively recently hired as the Oakland police department expanded. Now, new focus on gangs to build fear and support for OPD. And now gang injunctions focused exactly where developers most want to build. A year ago the Discovery Channel said 10,000 gang members in oakland and city leaders objected that is was not accurate and it smeared the city. If there were that many in Oakland we'd know it, it'd be self-evident. In Los Angeles it is obvious in some areas, very deeply rooted. Law enforcement is now touting war on gangs after Discovery Channel show (with Minister Keith was interviewed for, but they didn't use the footage). Developers want to expand early development in West Oakland -- hence Operation Nutcracker not long after new buildings and residents in West Oakland around BART station.
Police have admitted they are not going to arrest their way out of problems, but why is that presented as the only solution? And why do they start in the least scary parts rather than the most dangerous?
Republican candidates for governor praised Arizona's new law against immigrants.
Emeryville growing faster than much of the Bay Area, so now Berkeley and Oakland city governments are now interested in the bordering areas. New lofts expanding outside of Emeryville, and now Emery Go Round free bus service to MacArthur BART station. Reach expanding further into Oakland. Acorn vs. West Oakland development -- who will win?
Recent meeting with City Attorney Russo who supports gang injunctions, and Russo is trying to "correct" community activists and defend the injunctions. There is no evidence that gang injunctions actually work, no data. This week OPD arrested dozens on MLK near here and called them notorious gang, but no injunction was needed. Gang injunctions use guilt by association, and new one covers huge 100-block radius in North Oakland. Russo tried to say injunctions are like a restraining order to protect abuses spouses, but those apply for specific victims and buildings not entire swaths of cities.
Oscar Grant is accused of bringing on his own murder, and judge said his resistance is a valid issue in the trial.
Emeryville police are known to be especially brutal to Black people, intended to run "N's" out of Emeryville.
Jerry Brown once called the Drug War a joke and not a response to increased crime. Dellums said he wanted crime down 10%, then said it was 10% down, so why new need to target people not accused of a crime? If there's an crime alleged, then make an arrest. With gang injunctions police don't need probably cause. New crime created just to be in neighborhood or to have certain friends or friends have weapons. (If weapons illegal, then charge that.) Because it's not a legal court proceeding, those accused and not entitled or provided with legal representation, so people as young as 18 are force to pay for it or go without. Gang injunctions are a slick way to force people out of an area.
An alarm has to be sounded. Contact city officials and Russo. Write letters to Judge Freedmon, Department 20 for May 27th hearing on injunctions.
Announcements made about June 1st vigil at Alameda DA's office and Day of Mehserle verdict community gathering in Oakland.
Cephus "Uncle Bobby" Johnson, Oscar Grant's uncle, speaks about 1000 Mothers to Prevent Violence organized by Lorraine Taylor, and Tatiana's birthday (Oscar Grant's daughter), the previous Saturday. He speaks about a recent run-in he had with police where he was handcuffed after attending those two earlier events. Cephus still has faith that justice can prevail but it's dependent on how much the community speaks up.
previous recorded Town Hall on Gang Injunctions & Gentrification in Oakland and April 8th BART Action, 4/10/10: audio
Town Hall Meetings
Every Saturday 4pm - 6pm
Olivet Institutional Missionary Baptist Church
807 27th Ave, Oakland