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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Police State and Prisons | Racial Justice
Town Hall on BART Police Oversight, Mehserle, Obama, Racial Disparities, 7/25/09: audio
Ramona Tascoe opens the Town Hall with a discussion of BART's latest police oversight plan. She is troubled by the plan and thinks BART needs to go back to the drawing board. She wants people to get the word out to anyone who's been victimized by police, especially BART police, to come to Town Halls. The civil rights complaint currently being drafted for U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department must show a pattern of abuse beyond the murder of Oscar Grant.
The Johannes Mehserle hearing originally scheduled for July 24th was postponed -- the prosecutor asked for a continuance to have more time to prepare a response to the defense's motion for dismissal of the murder charges. The 995 hearing addressing the motion to dismiss (due to supposed judicial malfeasance) will be held on September 4th instead. The 997 hearing on the defense motion on discriminatory prosecution will be held August 17th.
Dr. Ramona Tascoe will do a presentation in Las Vegas at the National Medical Association Convention regarding trauma on the black community when violence occurs at hands of state. She will do another on violence in the Congo, where over 1/2 million women have been raped by militias.
Additionally, Ramona Tascoe discusses being upset with Obama for running away from his initial statements about the "stupid" cop who arrested Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. in front of his own house, thereby Obama was distancing himself from justice for his own people.
An in-depth community discussion of events of January 1st follows, which includes BART's and their officers' many conflicting lies about that morning. Mehserle claimed to another officer later in the day on the 1st that he thought Oscar Grant had a gun, but his defense claims he intended to use his taser. Literally within minutes of arriving on the scene at Fruitvale BART, Mehserle punched Jack Bryson's son in the face repeatedly then shot Oscar Grant in the back. The passenger's camera with video of the murder was stolen at the Bayfair BART station by BART police, indicating that there were radio transmissions to stations further down the line to secure evidence before medical help was called for Oscar Grant.
Community members discuss police often showing themselves to be cowards with guns, and BART police trying to make name for themselves as a gang, attempting to get past the fake-police/security-guard reputation they have with "toughness" towards people of color and their new patches that removed the word "BART" all together, just reading "Police."
It was noted that there is no drug testing for police, whereby for many professions after a major incident everyone involved is tested. Some suspect BART cops were so hyped up on New Year's Eve in part due to drug use.
The conversation carries on to Obama and the racial profiling cop incident at Harvard. Also, racial disparities in police enforcement are noted, as exemplified by first-hand stories of white DUI suspects who have been let go with a warning, even given a ride home, while people of color are consistently handcuffed and taken away.
BART Going Forward with Seriously Flawed Police Oversight Plan Created Behind Closed Doors
Town Hall for Justice on Racial Profiling, OPD, BART, Justice Department, 7/18/09: audio
Town Hall Meetings
Every Saturday 4pm - 6pm
Olivet Institutional Missionary Baptist Church
807 27th Ave, Oakland