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Emergency Town Hall Meeting Regarding Murder of Oscar Grant, 1/10/09: Photos and Notes

by dave id
Clergy, activists, elected officials and/or their representatives, and several BART employees spoke regarding the community and official responses to the murder of Oscar Grant. While there were some differing points of view on the social unrest of last Wednesday night, overall there was wide agreement on a sense of urgency that now is the time for action, to build a movement that can secure justice for Oscar Grant and assure that such police murders of people of color do not continue into the future.
Emergency Town Hall Meeting
Saturday, January 10, 2009
4:00pm - 7:00pm

Olivet Missionary Baptist Church
807 27th Street @ San Pablo
Oakland, CA

--> all apologies for misspelled names, anywhere shorthand notes are not self-explanatory, and anything that was left out or possibly misunderstood
§Pastor Humphreys, Olivet
by dave id
- interfaith welcome
- what your religion is doesn't matter in events like these

[ed note: Olivet sponsors or co-hosts a number of interfaith events]
§Bishop Keith L. Clark, Word Assembly
by dave id
- righteous indignation
- lead group prayer
§Greg Hodge
by dave id
- mostly people of color hurt by window smashing
- how can we hold the right people accountable and be peaceful?
- in the best tradition of Malcolm X, Cesar Chavez, and others, not being passive but resisting non-violently
- 120 people dies in streets of Oakland last year with not this much outrage
- Malcolm X: think for yourself. in times of crisis, like this, like Wednesday, don't be lead by people that don't look like you. it's especially dangerous for youth at risk
§BART representatives
by dave id
Carol - administrator (far right in photo, speaking)
- apologizes, "we care," and we will leave after this to allow you to speak freely without our presence. we had 6 hour meeting Thursday to hear the public on this
- we have another public meeting at MTC building at 101 8th Street in Oakland, again to hear the public (Sunday, 1/11/08, 2-4pm), with general manager, director, and police chief
- never allow this again, we have to learn to move faster, learn how to improve

Lynnette Sweet - BART board member (second from right in photo)
- I didn't pull the trigger, but I am responsible. we are all responsible for everyone who works for BART
- it was unconscionable and we are committed to justice

Bob Franklin - BART board member (third from right in photo)
- Grant should have had respect shown to him that he deserved as officers asked him and others to step off train
- we got off to a slow start
[privately, before meeting began, he said to this reporter that BART Board had sent flowers to Grant's family in the days after the shooting, that BART had expressed regret publicly but the media never reported it, and that BART was asked by DA not to discuss the case, but that they could have expressed condolences more clearly without violating DA order]
§Jack Bryson
by dave id
- father of two sons at incident, friends of Oscar's, one who was the one that jumped up on video when Oscar shot
- kids arrested and handcuffed for 6 hours after shooting when it was the police that should have been arrested
- BART should have apologized to other 5 kids who witnessed their friend's execution
- next to Jack stood father of other friend's of Oscars present
- Oscar's dreams and those of his daughter are shattered
- Oscar is a star who will shine, and we will not let you down
- other victims of police (Sean Bell, etc) all over US
- we need to stick together for justice
- BART and City of Oakland need to bring justice
- none of the kids are the same and BART has not reached out and apologized to kids. they even hung up on one of the mothers when she kept calling back that night to find out about her son
§Van Hook
by dave id
- I am Oscar Grant as well
- we are outraged, we need to fund our movement, no one else will do it for us, we have to be premeditated, organized, and structured
- leads crowd: "I am Oscar Grant" three times
§Desley Brooks, Oakland Council District 6
by dave id
- put things into place with movement going forward so we never see this again
- how long does it usually take to arrest people? in Bey case over Chauncey murder? it was 24 hours
- disagreed with Mayor to bring in OPD, don't want any mistakes made
- take my message back
- officer should be under 24 hour surveillance
- make sure this one doesn't get away
- we have work to do
- BART meeting tomorrow why?? no decisions or laws will be made. we need to go to decision meetings
§Reverend Daniel Buford
by dave id
- I am Oscar Grant
- sincere condolences to Grant family and survivors who witnessed it
- we need to know how to use this moment to mourn and organize (not mobilize as that's short term -- mobilizing is what got us here tonight in the first place
- Lee is here in spirit, with thoughts and prayers
- Lee's been in touch with Mayor and attorney Burris [who filed civil suit against BART]
- troubled by Wed night, need to control emotions and take to streets peacefully
- feel free to contact Lee office
§Reverend King
by dave id
- God's army standing for justice (with black, brown, and white here tonight)
- police need to start paying nativity (??)
- we will not tolerate this madness
- young people are tearing things up because they're killing young folks and young folks know who they are killing
- people of God

[rousing speech that had crowd on its feet several times]
§Bakari Olatunji - African People's Socialist Party
by dave id
- it's state-sanctioned murde
- need to organize for revolution
- in 2009, why are we still talking about same murders that have been going on for 400 years?
- 8 Africans murdered by OPD in 2008, one was 71 with a cane
- the state is BART, OPD, Alameda Co, California which houses more prisoners than most countries
- state founded on oppression of African people, Nat Turner hung
- honor Marcus Garvey
- organized for, as Panthers said, for Black Power and murders like this didn't happen under Panther's watch
- revolution is solution
- come to our office in East Oakland for meeting tomorrow, and tribunal to put state on trial
- Uhuru!
§Cole Powell - defense attorney
by dave id
- BART cop had attorney before charges
- right to remain silent
- often defense wins when prosecutors make mistakes (best if DA Alameda takes time and is thorough here)
- officer should have been arrested and in jail already, but can hold 3 days only w/o charges
- may be a reason no charges yet
- 4 possibilities:
a) 1st degree - this case sounds like premeditated (often reduced in pleas though)
b) 2nd degree - easily proved in this case (highly reckless and dangerous actions like dropping brick from rooftop that ends up killing someone)
c) manslaughter - intentional, but not planned
d) involuntary manslaughter - accident
§Keith Muhammad - Nation of Islam
by dave id
- contact elected officials
- maybe you had other things to do on Saturday, but you came because this is an emergency
- if I shot someone on TV and they knew where I lived, I sure there'd soon be a law officer at my door
- introduces Mandingo who "started riot". why did Mandingo lash out? no one from BART, no one from leadership class said anything, the silence was deafening. people should not be overly judgemental. we should not be charging youth as criminals, those who protested. every one of us has a point beyond talk. thank you, Mandingo
- you have a right to be heard and say "I don't owe you nothing" to elected officials
- we don't have an organization, a 501(c)(3), we have love and desire for justice for Oscar Grant
- hands can write letters, clap, make donations, slap someone, and can carry more weight in this struggle
- in 2009, we need to get to the point and figure out how to get justice for our people
- we suffer divided
- powers that be resent your success, and the more successful you are the more the try to push you back
- Barack Obama has been threatened more than any Pres in history (new limo "The Beast" most armored limo ever)
- can't wait for elected officials to do something, and then complain when they don't
- objects at rest will remain at rest until acted upon by a greater force (elected officials need pushing, to be told to "get on board")
- youth are organizing and fighting back
- sign in sheet at door to do at local level what Obama did at national
- town halls being organized all over Bay Area (Pittsburg, SF, etc)
- we, who are serious, don't cut youth down but lift them up
- let children lead the way

[Nation of Islam Temple No. 1 is across the street from Olivet and they often organize together on issues like police and street violence in the community]
§Mandingo gets props and standing ovation
by dave id
[There were numerous standing ovations throughout the meeting. For more on Mandingo and Fruitvale BART rally Wednesday 1/7/09, see]
- props to Keith for coalition building
- pause to remember enormity of situation, create a fund for family/daughter
- this work we have to do will take sacrifice, not one night of clapping hands
- thanks to her family for supporting time is takes to do these things
- we are here for this because we have not been here together
- told today her name is in paper nationally to support her, and they were the same that lead people into trouble Wed in downtown
- co-founded CAPE, but she is not CAPE as many are involved
- thanks to those who helped me learn better not to judge those showing righteous indignation in ways I might not choose to
- police bill of rights passed in California about not interrogating cops and we were asleep at the wheel
- it's about Oscar Grant, but it's also about Diallo, little Bobby Hutton, etc, as there's a lot of people who came out with their hands up
- we have to be strategic to build this organization and know who's best for each job
§Tahesa Lomak - first cousin of Oscar's father
by dave id
- was at Fruitvale and will be at next Wednesday's event
- Oscar and friends took public transportation that night to be sage and ended up not safe
- a friend of hers said on the phone that BART police need to have guns and she couldn't deal with talking to her any more, that's not where she's at now
- if officer found not guilty, it's not going to be nice. people talk about peace but you can't always be there
§Charles Johns
by dave id
- thank God for youtube and technology letting us know what's going on
- net roots activism, hip hop (like Boots Riley of The Coup who was present), we need to help elders learn the way
§Jennifer Johns - sister of Charles
by dave id
- Actions are being planned that will be announced soon. Stay tuned. Time for talk is over.
§Reverend Zachary Kerry
by dave id
- Jerry Brown said state investigative authority will get involved
§Minister Christopher Muhammad of Bayview Hunters Point
by dave id
- What's next step? They said they care, but it's not up to them to be concerned. It's up to us. We're not begging for respect on a case that's as clear as the birds in the sky.
- if you don't see need to prosecute, then you don't need to be in office Mr. DA.
- if you look like something they are afraid of, they will come after you
- Recall District Attorney! Where the people at? We need your help. So silent and they treat us like dogs.
- We need you to take the message back. No longer will we take this. No longer can you kill us and call it justified.
- Not manslaughter. We want 1st degree murder.
- Recall!!!
- next steps
- Why in Oakland? We have Barbara Lee, now head of Congressional Black Caucus, Mayor Dellums, progressive Latinos and whites, home of anti-war and environmental movments, we can start political revolutions that reaches out to the world her in Oakland and Alameda.
- thanks to Dellums who stepped between people and riot police (who saw opportunity to crack heads) and tell them to back off. how many US mayors would do that?
- repeal 3-strikes law (like Jerry Brown fighting voter-approved Prop 8 now)
- get Don Perata and others to overturn prison-industrial complex
- demand community policing driven by community in West Oakland and East Oakland and Fruitvale as a spark for how Dellums said Oakland could be a "model city"
- militarizatiion mindset of police killed Oscar Grant
- silence is consent
- thousands of us need to descent on Sacramento in the next few months
- Stan Tookie murdered when he could have offered a lot of help for our neighborhoods
- we need to move on Sacramento
- get Barbara Lee to lobby to change laws in the name of Oscar Grant
- We are all Oscar Grant
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