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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Racial Justice
Town Hall for Justice for Oscar Grant Faces Mehserle Venue Change Order, 10/17/09: audio
Reverend Gordon Humphreys of Olivet Baptist opens this week's Town Hall for Justice. He notes that there is a divide between communities of faith and community activists but that there can be spiritual renewal and community restoration. He says that he is disappointed but not surprised that the trial will be moved out of Alameda. We've seen this before. They tell us we just need to trust the justice system, but that trust has been violated again and again. Then you want to ask why I'm angry and tell us we're so angry that the trial must be moved. But people call for justice for all sorts of crimes all the time and that's accepted. There's a cultural divide on the trial and contrasting perceptions.
23:00 Yvette Falarca, BAMN
The judge tried to distance himself from Rains' racism but he gave Rains what he wanted. We need a plan for when the decision, something like meet at City Hall on the day of the verdict. Police are using the case to defend their prerogative to kill, but we take a stand to resist. The fix is in, from Mayor to DA to judge, and jusdge weighed political repercussions and consulted power leaders on decision. All hell should break loose in Oakland but we should be organized and time now is to prepare. DA used summer time to demobilize movement, but we can still win if we organize.
31:00 Wilson Riles, former Oakland City Councilmember
We all had expectations about decision but the fight isn't over. It's not a sprint but a long distance race. The movement confronts the status quo and the status quo adjusts tactics. Process slowed up so much people drift away as they are caught up in daily lives. We must adjust tactics too. New DA O'Malley has to run for office and needs support of community. She failed us. It will cost more now in time and effort. Her attorneys failed us. DA's office made some good arguments but left out any discussion of the Oakland Riders case. (One officer ran, "changed venue," to avoid justice.) Riders civil suit forced changes/restructuring of OPD as result. Criminal trial brought multiple times yet Riders let off each time. DA's office is liable for what happened and we need to hold her accountable in election next year. It is historic that we've gotten this far.
DA accepted Rains' framing of debate. (Claiming protest movement weakened.) DA didn't confront racism in venue hearing and deal with biases of suburban jurors being against Grant and for police. She reiterates her call for a meeting on verdict day at 5pm.
Were judge and DA sympathetic to police? We need to make some noise about Judge Jacobson, and the DA. We don't think he should ever be appointed to higher office.
Reverend Henry Williams
Moving trial doesn't mean we can't still march here, still lots of problems here. So many preach justice but don't fight for it. And wherever trial goes, we need to be ready and make noise before trial starts.
Like the Caravan for Justice, caravan to trial. Lots of anger.
Reverend Zachary Kerry
Decision political, not really judge's decision. We want justice no matter where trial held. Venue community needs to see our pain, our faces.
OPD spokesman said they were ready day of venue announcement. Mayor sent out statements before announcement. All coordinated. We need to strategize.
DA pressured people not to demonstrate before venue hearing. Respectfulness is not key to success. Anger is.
Easier said than done, because Black men are not free to demonstrate any way they please.
1:18:00 Saleem, Nation of Islam
Good to have different strengths. Mehserle punched Jack Bryson in the face while he was handcuffed. We have to be informed, our greatest weapon is our heads. Attendees need to do homework/study and bring that to the table at Town Halls. Panthers' history all around us, like the street light at 55th and market. Two stories were told about Huey Newton's murder: 1) drug deal gone bad, and 2) police involved. Sean Bell verdict -- shot 50 times on wedding day. Disturbed by possible repeating history and using same tactics over and over. Judge Morris Jacobson, from Oklahoma & Texas, worked for two years as prison guard, worked for state AG then Alameda DA. We should have known who Jacobson was before hearing began. We need to find a way to be intelligent. Hayward PD harassing Oscar Grant's friends. If the police are unified, shouldn't we be unified. We need a follow-up process for updated incidents. We need to act ahead of time rather than after.
previous Town Hall Reports from Inside Venue Change Hearing and on Hayward Police Brutality, 10/10/09: audio
Town Hall Meetings
Every Saturday 4pm - 6pm
Olivet Institutional Missionary Baptist Church
807 27th Ave, Oakland