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East Bay | Police State and Prisons

Witness of Oakland School Police Contrasts Police Story
by Jesse Strauss
Saturday Feb 5th, 2011 10:09 AM
On Saturday, January 22nd, 20 year old Raheim Brown was shot and killed by the Oakland Unified School District’s police force outside Skyline High School. Last Thursday outside the OUSD headquarters, Brown’s mother, Lori Davis, spoke at a press conference. Calling the killing an “assassination” she was horrified by the excessive use of force by school police officers. Brown was one of three people killed by police in a single week in Oakland.
On Saturday, January 22nd, 20 year old Raheim Brown was shot and killed by the Oakland Unified School District’s police force outside Skyline High School. Police statements and media have reported that Brown tried to stab an officer with a screwdriver, and a second officer shot Brown five times—once in each arm, once in his chest, and twice in his head—in defense of his partner.

Last Thursday outside the OUSD headquarters, Brown’s mother, Lori Davis, spoke at a press conference. Calling the killing an “assassination” she was horrified by the excessive use of force by school police officers. Davis believes that Sergeants Barhim Bhatt and Jonathan Bellusa, the two cops identified at the press conference as the two involved in Brown’s killing, should “never to be able to work in another police department ever.”

Tamisha Stewart, the only civilian witness to the killing who was in a car with Brown outside Skyline High, spoke for the first time publicly about the event. The screwdriver Brown was accused of using as a weapon, according to Stewart, was being used in an attempt to hotwire a car, and it “never left the ignition.” While hotwiring a car might be cause for police attention, it is not cause for five bullets, including two to the head. Stewart added that “There was nothing that Raheim did that he deserved to die.” According to statements at the press conference, after Brown was killed Stewart was beaten badly and jailed for almost a week.

An Oakland teacher’s union representative also spoke at the Thursday press conference, saying that the union had voted to “support fully an independent investigation” into Brown’s killing and the OUSD Police Department.

Brown was one of three people killed by police in a single week in Oakland. Earlier this year, Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts called on the FBI for an external investigation into the November police killing of Derrick Jones. As initial police statements contrast sharply with Stewart’s account of Brown’s killing, further investigation into this case might also be warranted.

Raheim Brown’s family is asking for financial support in order to claim his death certificate from the coroner as well as to pay for funeral and burial costs, which will total over $4,500 (the coroners office refuses to release the death certificate without a $320 payment). Donations can be made to a Wells Fargo account in the name of ‘RPOS Raheim Malik Brown’ to account number 5104210850, and routing number 121000148.