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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Police State and Prisons | Racial Justice
Town Hall on BART Police, DA Failing in Mehserle Change of Venue, and Rape of Women, 10/31/09: audio
This week's Town Hall for Justice for Oscar Grant III covers BART's militarized police and PR since january 1st, Mehserle's change of venue, a Raider Nation meeting intended to refocus the justice movement, and rape of women from Richmond, California to the Congo. Pastor Gordon Humphreys of Olivet Baptist opens the Town Hall.
Minister Keith Muhammad expresses thanks for No Justice No BART, New Year's Movement for Justice, Copwatch Oakland, Copwatch Berkeley. He declares that corruption in the management of people requires a stand for justice. He notes that the Town Hall is not backing away from justice for Oscar Grant because it was named in Mehserle's change of venue motion. Mehserle waved his right to a speedy trial and demanded extra time. The change of venue cites massive press but most of it is repeat articles in different newspapers and some that are really just about BART in general and perhaps fleetingly mention Oscar Grant. BART interim chief said to legislators that BART has had a PR nightmare since January 1st (and BART using Bay Bridge shutdown due to unexpected damage as a chance to send PR about number of riders etc.). Minister Keith notes that activists have been better informed on issues than BART's own board (and how well informed are State Legislators on bridge engineering?). The system is broke and Alameda Supervisor Keith Carson says the worst is yet to come. The city is broke, the Feds are broke. What about justice for the poor in times like this? Those in elected office are not smarter than us, but we are not organized in a way to demand the services that we need. The Oakland School Board President said that the educational system is designed to maintain the status quo, a status quo where over 50% don't graduate and many end up in jail. Rather than teach how to succeed in life, they teach how school fights begin a criminal justice career. Children should be taught civilized behavior and not reliance on police over family.
Minister Keith calls out that BART has refused to accept responsibility for the shooting of Oscar Grant (police wilding). The TSA at airports don't carry guns, so why does BART need them. TSA backed up by armed officers but unarmed themselves. BART police don't even ride trains, so they have to run to the trains rather than already being on them. BART can save millions by downsizing force and focusing on what situations they actually face. Unarmed security can do what needs to be done, to escort passengers; better lighting, and perhaps could increase security presence with more unarmed people, but they stay with the status quo. Stay informed and where Ammiano is with oversight (and having been involved in writing oversight leg. since 1992 BART police killing).
51:00 Sam and Jack Bryson
Report back on Raider Nation meeting on October 29th
Minister Keith continues by noting that the venue decision was expected the following Wednesday, and it appeared that the judge was ramming the decision without consulting with Oscar Grant's family. On the bogus JR Valrey case, Minister Keith notes that Farrakhan has said the righteous don't plea bargain, just as JR has refused to plea. The case was continued again at October 30th hearing. It's the same judge as Mehserle case -- Superior Court Judge Jacobson.
Minister Keith faults the District Attorney's office for not offering experts on polling or media or jurors in venue change hearing. The defense claimed threats to jurors and community safety but never proved such a thing (community leaders like Barbara Lee were responsible in their calls for justice).
In the recent Richmond gang rape of a teenage girl, will there be thoughts of a venue change based on news coverage and politicized statements? The case brings up serious issues that must be dealt with (i.e. civilized teaching referred to earlier). Teach the young principles and values. The victim is a caucasian girl. What can be done to discourage things like teen prostitution? A world where women are brutalized is a world in decline.
1:14:00 Ramona Tascoe, recently returned from Congo
She speaks on issue of rape and violence against women and related racial issues. 500,000 women have been raped in Congo by military forces. The culture of African men is not to disrespect women but multinational corporations devalue human rights. Ramona Tascoe tells about how the mineral colton is in East Congo, which represents 80% of the world supply of mineral needed for cell phones and other electronics (Samsung, Sony, HP, etc). Broken bottles are placed inside women after rapes. Same in Sudan, Darfur, and around the world. Struggle to fight issues in East Africa needs to be same as fighting apartheid in SOuth Africa with boycotts with companies who headquarter in Silicon Valley, Amsterdam, China, etc.
Can the venue order be appealed by prosecution?
We need to fight more than ever for Oscar Grant.
previous Town Hall for Justice on Venue Change, State BART Hearing, and Oakland Merchant Credit, 10/24/09: audio
Town Hall Meetings
Every Saturday 4pm - 6pm
Olivet Institutional Missionary Baptist Church
807 27th Ave, Oakland