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

East Bay | Police State and Prisons | Racial Justice

Oscar Grant: Verdict Night In Oakland
by Malo Mal (repost)
Sunday Jul 11th, 2010 1:26 PM
Folks have been asking what's the deal?!?!? Respect to the multiple forces doing work highlighted in this piece.
Malachi

Oscar Grant: Verdict Night In Oakland
By Malo Mal
Tonight, I landed in Frisco—wheels down in my hometown—knowing a verdict was on the way. Inside the Denver airport, the news flashed: Oscar Grant, cop murder trial, verdict. My wife called to say that folks were headed into downtown Oakland.

I wasn’t organizing tonight; I barely caught a flight home but I was heading downtown. Texts and voice messages poured in from random numbers: MEET AT 14th & BROADWAY; Grandma’s texts in all caps, “SLEEP OVER HERE OAKLAND NOT SAFE”; voicemails from reporters, “Where are the real hot spots going to be?”; texts from Oakland heads, NYC, the ATL all angry at the light sentence Mehserle received, confused, hoping for peace, hoping for change. I thought of 2009—West Oakland BART, a teenage boy with a semi-automatic pistol & broken legs. 2010: KTVU Newscast blaring, “At the Fruitvale BART, a cop shot and killed a young man.” PAIN. Jan. 2nd: Oscar’s mother at the BART. Justice denied then justice demanded.

Hitting HWY 880 Oakland felt empty. Downtown felt quiet. The main streets were blocked off, 4ish at a time. The police were everywhere, like they are all. the. time. Tonight, though, I saw lines of cops 20 deep running by in formation, getting tired. The sun had set; the bands, speak outs, dancing and “safe expression spaces” had officially ended. One friend said, “Oakland is empty all around; it feels like Detroit or somin.” Another friend, “It’s like Oakland just experienced an instant afternoon white flight. People left at 3 o’clock because a verdict was coming.” The Oakland Police Department has been training, running drills in West Oakland preparing for tonight. The state and the white middle class apparently both understand deep down that everyday people in mass can take down the worst of the worst beasts. Tonight I could tell the confrontation with the state would be small, but love for Oscar Grant and resistance it would be.

On Telegraph and 17th people were whizzing by heading in and out of the intersection at 14th and Broadway, and folks were in the cops faces expressing righteous anger.
Video
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Oakland-CA/1-Fam-BIKES-4-LIFE/121090024569185#!/video/video.php?v=464187094941&ref=mf
Photos
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=587519790#!/album.php?aid=152526&id=579989566
The cops blocked off downtown streets, their car windows covered in duct tape like spider webs. Police in full riot gear, a sound tank and all the rest. I smelled tear gas a couple times as they were trapping different sets of people in different areas, trying to contain the crowd/protect private property. Folks did smash FootLocker. It’s probably very inappropriate, but I wish I got some Jordans. The crowd eventually split into multiple directions, and there were minor incidences like trash can fires. Johannes Mehserle: a white man, a police officer, convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the murder of Oscar Grant a young black man will probably do less time than Mike Vick did.

We Build Movement
Now it’s Friday, I’m going off a wink of sleep, a nightmare and a dream. Today people’s phones are turned off, people are sad, people are in meetings. Each of these moments helps us understand what we need to build. There are many good people here working for justice. How do we learn the lessons we need to? How do we find our places of commonality? We have to find the places of collective expression. We have to find places to impact and change the functions of the prison system, the behaviors of the cops, sentencing, all of it. There must be change, and the people know it.

There are sustained efforts for justice for Oscar Grant in the Bay. Check em out for info on the case, community organizing and community building efforts. The General Assembly for Justice for Oscar Grant at http://www.oaklandforjustice.org, New Years Movement for Justice http://newyearsmovement.org/, One Fam http://onefam.org/, The Nation Of Islam and Minister Keith Muhammad of Oakland Mosque 26B http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apuW9_KadRM,
Davey D's Hip Hop Corner http://www.daveyd.com/ and http://www.indybay.org/oscargrant.

Concrete organizing ideas will make the next steps of the quest for justice for Oscar Grant. A project to impact the sentencing has been put forward by South Bay DeBug http://www.siliconvalleydebug.org/ dealing with the issue that Mehserle's attorneys are going to try to mitigate the sentence. A judge is instructed to hit the middle sentence unless there are reasons to mitigate the sentence (2 years) or aggravate the sentence (4 years). The fact that Mehserle is a cop will no doubt have real effects on the results of the sentencing. A gun enhancement would also have impact. This tactic has been used to help community members not receive enhancements.

The week before last, all the way across the country I heard love for Oscar. Young people from North Carolina read a love letter they wrote for him http://www.vimeo.com/12932081 (min 6). They also showed love to 7-year-old Ayanna Jones killed in May by Detroit police; they showed love to the New Jersey 4, young queer women of color incarcerated for defending themselves from a hate crime. These young folks reinforce my search for answers; remind me that the struggle is about our lives and is so much bigger than us. Today, out my window I hear my neighbor’s brother playing cap gun shoot em’ up with her little kids. Today I pray for peace and work for justice.

Malachi

Other Links
Uhuru reinforces 6PM 14th & B'way call:
http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=404173592542&id=1516069902

Black Clergy & Elected Officials Open Letter: http://www.eastbayexpress.com/92510/archives/2010/06/30/a-message-from-black-elected-officials-and-clergy-on-the-upcoming-oscar-grant-verdict

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by lope
Monday Jul 12th, 2010 12:20 AM
wasn't this dude a green vest dude in 09?
by was also
Monday Jul 12th, 2010 8:34 AM
part of CAPE that threw Oakland activists under the bus with this statement:



Gathering For Justice Solidarity for Oscar Grant

Call For Action Wed. January 14, 2009:

As all of you know, our comrades in Oakland have been responding to the murder of Oscar Grant III. Yesterday, a peaceful rally and memorial was held by community members and organizations. Over 700 people gathered and mourned Oscar for 3 and half hours. Unfortunately, a splinter group of participants left the rally and began rioting in Oakland. The day began with images of young people calling for an end to police brutality but ended with images of a small group of angry folks setting police cars on fire.

All of our comrades in Oakland are safe and none were involved in the riots. Last night they went on the offensive calling for a nonviolent solution and a plan to harness the anger the rioters feel into productive energy. They have been doing press all day promoting this message and the Mayor of Oakland is meeting with them as this blog is being written.

Oakland needs your help Gathering Family…

They formed an ad hoc coalition called "Coalition Against Police Executions" with three demands:

1) All police involved with the incident are criminally prosecuted.

2) The city begins an outside independent investigation on the murder of Oscar Grant

3) A community task force is empowered to work with BART police on police relations and accountability.

The Oakland coalition needs our support and The Gathering is asking you to do the following things:

1) Find an hour or two on wed. Jan. 14, 2009 to host a meeting with your crew to watch the video of the murder and to talk about solutions to end police brutality.

2) Gat everyone who is a part of your coalition to send the video to 10 of their friends.

3) Use this moment as a tool to talk about why violent protest is not the answer.

If your region plans on doing something on Wednesday let us know. We have a press release and outreach plan to make sure Oakland can mention how many states through out the country are in solidarity.

We have set up an Oscar Grant group on the site, so from now on this information will be distributed to folks who are a member of the Oscar Grant group. So if you want to remain involved please become a member of the Oscar Grant group.

Lastly, be on our regional call tomorrow at 4:00pm EST to talk more about our solidarity week and the long term goals Oakland is setting up for themselves. The number is 712- 580-6300 code 786378.