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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Police State and Prisons | Racial Justice
Town Hall on 74th Avenue OPD SWAT Raid and Mehserle's Change of Venue Motion, 10/3/09: audio
Reverend Gordon Humphreys of Olivet Church introduced this week's Town Hall for Justice for Oscar Grant. Then Minister Keith Muhammad asks, Why do we meet? Why not just wait for court proceedings? Because we have to press BART and the DA for justice. We cannot take the fight lightly because we are taking on a champion. David vs Goliath. What is justice? RIghting of historical wrongs. Courts want people to roll over and not fight, like in the case of of JR Valrey.
Minister Keith discusses the venue change motion filed by Johannes Mehserle to move the trial out of Alameda county, and he notes that it has historical revisionism, with history of Black Panther Party (former DA Tom Orloff failed to convict Huey Newton twice) and knowing what issues the mention of Black Panthers raises. Motion says Blacks can't be fair jurors but if Blacks couldn't be fair, the U.S. would have been burned down a long time ago. The notion that Black people can't be fair jurors is an insult and a lie. Current case in Chicago of a Black man killing another Black man on video and the arrest for that was made right away. Mehserle's defense attorney Rains is trying to taint the view of the current judge. Minister Keith called for activists to gather at 11:30am Tuesday, October 6th, to speak at noon, just before Mehserle's change of venue motion is to be heard. Rain's problem is not the judge, or the jury, but his client Mehserle and what in did, instigated by other BART officers Domenici and Woffinden. New DA O'Malley should consider if Pirone needs to be charged. BART needs to fire him. Emergency meeting on Thursday to discuss reports from NOBLE and Meyers Nave. Should BART have police with part-time Board overseeing lethal force? 51% of officers wish they didn't work for BART in NOBLE poll. BART police are demoralized. Who wants them armed on trains? Rider poll wanted officers on trains but BART cops don't want to deal with people. Unarmed escorts could make people feel safer in parking lots rather than armed officers. NOBLE didn't answer question well about if BART needs police force. NOBLE didn't resolve question if BART needs SWAT team. Show up Tuesday at 11:30am at court house for family of Oscar Grant and we the people who love justice. Opposition to venue change motion to be posted at http://www.indybay.org/oscargrant tonight -- 17 pages. There's no precedent that "we" would be unfair, but there's hundreds of years of precedent of courts being unfair to us. We don't want the court house torn down or physical confrontations with police, but we've seen police taunting protesters at previous demos. Mehserle and Pirone were the violent ones. 100% of victims at BART were Black, even if BART police kept no records as per NOBLE on racial profiling or other police actions. We are looking to be serious and stand up for truth on Tuesday. Chip Johnson of the SF Chronicle wants a venue change, and why is he the voice against justice? He ought to be ashamed of himself. Chip ought to come to the Town Hall and we'll try him here for treason. Opposition motion to venue change filed by DA declares we can't know about fairness issue until seating of a jury, but Rains argues that no African Americans can be fair without even calling any. Image of justice is a woman with blindfold and scale. Female capacity for fairness, but even she has to be blindfolded. Race, religion, etc should not be a factor. Rains has been granted about every delay he's wanted. Even with 995 attempt to delay due to witness illness. Judge gave few extra days. He tells a story about Lie and Truth going skinny dipping. Lie took Truth's clothes and put them on and ran off with Lie's clothes, so naked Truth was chasing after a well-dressed Lie. Rains can't be serious that Black American has been unfair to white cops.
previous Town Hall for Justice on Mehserle's Change of Venue Motion with BAMN Presentation, 9/26/09: audio
Town Hall Meetings
Every Saturday 4pm - 6pm
Olivet Institutional Missionary Baptist Church
807 27th Ave, Oakland
Cephus Johnson says that the adversary we are up against: Goliath, Pharoah, Nebuchadnezzar. I stand on the word of God. Not afraid of change of venue. I believe we can win this. I don't want a change of venue, but justice will be served even if the trial is moved. I see justice coming. It may not come in the form I want, but it will come.
He says he had a meeting with Alameda prosecutor Stein on Thursday. Only 13% of Alameda is Black. Change of venue usually happens when 75% or greater have opinion, but only 45% of Alameda has made up their minds. Keep the faith. Blast emails to friends to attend Tuesday. And show up at Rock, Scissors, Paper on Friday, October 16th, for a special evening focused on Oscar Grant III with family speaking and a memorial video shown.
There were prayers for DA Orloff to go -- and he's gone. Chief Gee to go -- he's almost gone. NOBLE report is in.
Minister Keith introduces Robbie by mentioning the latest OPD SWAT action on 74th Avenue in Oakland on September 25th.
Robbie, from Just Cause Oakland, standing for housing rights, speaks about pressuring banks to be accountable to residents at 74th Avenue. Just Cause got banks to give free rent for three weeks and to pay for damages by police to fix up.
One of the residents, Tanisia Margaret, says that his time, in the second raid of the apartment building (the first was in March when Lovelle Mixon and four OPD officers died), it effected more residents with kicked in doors and tear gas. People thrown out for 13 hours, treating residents like criminals. The Red Cross was called for help but they fed the cops and cops didn't allow them to come closer to apartment building to help residents. People were choking on the remains of the tear gas upon return to the building. No explanation was offered for why tear gas was in some apartments that were torn up. OPD said they were traumatized and so they were replaced with Alameda County Sheriffs on the scene but residents go not relief with no access to their food and babies' diapers. I don't hate the police, but they hate me. Corporate news people couldn't even stand the smell in the building the next day. She had to get a letter from a doctor because her newborn couldn't breathe in the apartment. There needs to be justice. No evacuation the first time with bullets flying everywhere. We didn't complain the first time because of the loss of life, but now we've got a foreclosure hanging over the building and police don't care. Nothing that's happened in the building is the fault of residents. Police say go back, it's safe. The police should pay for relocation -- they have a fund for that. Police didn't notify residents last time, and this time they had bullhorns but only made announcement just before tear gas released.
Minister Keith Muhammad notes that we need to do for self. We need our own hot line and can't wait for the Red Cross.
Tanisia says that the cops vandalized refrigerators and took a shit in toilets. Just now have police cleaned up the blood from the first incident.
Minister Keith points out that most of OPD don't live here and look like us.
Tanisia adds that after the first incident, cops showed up out front of the apartment building in the middle of the night with paddy wagons and proceeded to smash the memorial for Lovelle Mixon in front of the building.
Minister Keith reminds everyone to come for the 1pm hearing on Tuesday, dignified and honorable.