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“Don't Over-react!” Organizers Demand Police Grant Right to Assemble After Mesherle Verdict
by Jonathan Nack
Friday Jul 2nd, 2010 1:58 AM
Tony Coleman speaking at press conference called by Oakland General Assembly for Justice for Oscar Grant, on Broadway and 14th Street, Oakland, on July 1, 2010.
Photo: Jonathan Nack
“Don't Over-react!” Organizers Demand Police Grant Right to Assemble After Mesherle Verdict

by Jonathan Nack
July 2, 2010

OAKLAND, CA – Activists in the movement for justice for Oscar Grant are organizing a mass gathering and speak-out for the evening of the day in which the verdict in the murder trial of BART Police Officer Johannes Mesherle is announced. The jury in the case, which is being tried in Los Angeles, is expected to be sent out to deliberate on Friday and a verdict could come down anytime after that.

Organizers are asking people to come to Broadway and 14th Street in downtown Oakland, at 6 pm the day of the verdict. They are demanding that the Oakland Police Department (OPD) not “over-react”.

A press conference was held at that same location on Thursday, July 1, at 11 am. It was called by the Oakland General Assembly for Justice for Oscar Grant.

Tony Coleman, of One Fam, and the New Year's Movement for Justice for Oscar Grant, began the press conference by speaking personally. “My son was Oscar Grant's teammate,” said Coleman. “He's 22 years old. He's a Black young man. It could have been him on the BART. I'm proud of my son for coming out here and, feeling angry enough, and feeling enough passion and compassion, to come out here and stand want to stand with the people.”

“We're asking all the people, if you feel that way, don't pent it up inside. Come out here. We're providing a space,” said Coleman.

“It's an alternative to other forms of expression. So, if you want to go out and do other things and all like that, that's on you, but if you want to come out and participate in a speak-out, and deal with other brethren about what we can do to move forward, then come out here to 14th and Broadway,” said Coleman.

Coleman said that it will be organized as a speak-out and a sharing of ideas to determine what are the next steps forward for justice for Oscar Grant and his family.

“We have a message for OPD – Let us have our space. Do your job, but that doesn't mean going overboard and hitting on these youngsters. They may be a little hot, they may be a little angry, they may be talking. Don't over-react!”

“They have a right to be mad. They have a right to be fearful if this officer is let go...that they cannot ride the BART with their friends,” Coleman concluded.

He warned that some non-profits are spreading the wrong message about protests following the verdict.

Responding to talking points being circulated as a message from the City of Oakland, Coleman said that, “the City is paying certain non-profits to spread this hysteria about violence...All the talking points, all six of them, are about property damage...about what the young people are gonna do, not the violence cops gonna continue to do, if this officer is found not guilty.”

Coleman said that Oscar Grant's mother, Wanda Johnson, wants Officer Mesherle convicted of murder in the second degree. “This fits Murder Two.” he said.

Also speaking at the press conference were Micheal Walter and Tony Shaw, who reported on their experience attending part of the Mesherle trial in L.A.; Reverend Henry Williams, of the Humanity Baptist Church; and Karissa Cole, of the Gang Prevention Task Force, and the Oakland Community Action Network.

“The police were in there provoking us and saying things to us, acting disorderly, not us, and it ended up with us getting banned from the courtroom,” reported Shaw.

Walter said, “we had an awful lot of support between the Oakland coalition for justice for Oscar Grant and the L.A. coalition for Oscar Grant. They really stepped up and played a big part in bringing notoriety to the case down there. Making sure the people in L.A. are standing with us, and fighting with us, to find justice.”

“I want to see justice. I want to see something happen for our young people, said Rev. Williams. “We want to teach Black history to our children, because they don't know nothing about who they are and where they came from,” he said.

Cole said,”everybody is talking about peace, but we're still waiting on our justice. Jim Crow is still in effect, it never died, it just changed the way it looked...This is bigger than what it seems. We need justice for not only for Oscar Grant, but for all the people of color in Oakland.”

For more info. on the gathering and speak-out planned for the day of the verdict: , or write to info [at]

A video of Tony Coleman speaking in front of the Courthouse in Los Angeles prior to commencement of trial of Office Johannes Mehserle, interviewed by Davey D, Davey D TV:

New video released by the Court of the shooting of Oscar Grant, which was taken by a passenger on a BART train stopped at the station:

A copy of the Press Release by Oakland General Assembly for Justice for Oscar Grant is at:
§Reverend Henry Williams speaking at press conference
by Jonathan Nack Friday Jul 2nd, 2010 1:58 AM
taken at press conference called by Oakland General Assembly for Justice for Oscar Grant, on Broadway and 14th Street, Oakland, on July 1, 2010.
Photo: Jonathan Nack
§OPD Police talk to Tony Coleman following press conference
by Jonathan Nack Friday Jul 2nd, 2010 1:58 AM
taken at press conference called by Oakland General Assembly for Justice for Oscar Grant, on Broadway and 14th Street, Oakland, on July 1, 2010.
Photo: Jonathan Nack
§Justice for Oscar Grant poster
by Jonathan Nack Friday Jul 2nd, 2010 1:58 AM
Photo: Jonathan Nack

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by ntuit
Friday Jul 2nd, 2010 6:16 AM
They look like some alien invading force with all their weapons and paraphanelia. I guess the aliens are here to negotiate with the humans who are upset when the aliens kill one of the humans without any cause. Can't they put down their guns, their tasers, the communicaiton devices etc and talk like a normal human being? They are some sick, twisted beings from outside of Oakland - you know they mostly all live somewhere else, in some other planet.
by ?
Friday Jul 2nd, 2010 6:53 AM
Here in Garbage USA, labor watches TV shows called trials and waits breathlessly for verdicts, which cannot possibly provide any justice whatsoever. All of these trials are staged and the juries carefully picked, all costing the taxpayers millions of dollars in this latest spectacle. This latest jury has at least 2 with connections to the police. All it takes is 1 dissenter for a hung jury. And if there is ever any conviction, the defendant spends time in jail at taxpayer expense with no rehabilitation, tax dollars we need to feed the hungry, house the homeless, establish socialized medicine, provide decent schools, etc.

IN THE REST OF THE WORLD, LABOR ORGANIZES GENERAL STRIKES AND SHUTS DOWN THE CAPITALIST PRIVATE PROFIT SYSTEM THAT IS THE CAUSE OF ALL OUR GRIEF. There would be no police state if we had a serious labor movement. If I were the mother, I would take the millions of dollars offered in settlement in the civil case and set up a labor strike committee to shut down any given city victimized by police brutality for at least 24 hours by having the workingclass stay home as that is what a general strike is. WHEN LABOR WITHDRAWS ITS HAND, NOTHING MOVES, AND THERE ARE NO PROFITS. THAT IS HOW WE WILL END THE POLICE STATE.
by oaklandresident
Friday Jul 2nd, 2010 9:00 AM
Poster "eastbayresident" (EBR) could have almost caused a rift with the suggestion that independent business owners could vigilantly defend their spaces. but now has clearly chosen an uncritical side. let's call a fascist a fascist.

now (EBR) is saying, go ahead and let the "ghetto" destroy itself because apparently the "ghetto" is full of "failures" who deserve the conditions they are forced into.

"thugs will die"
"thugs will attempt to access 'white' areas, where they will met with resistance and/or shot. "

also, there's some off point comment about how "Paco" will take your job.

"We've listened to 30 years of whining, and yet you continue to whine and blame others for your massive, pathological failures." says EBR.
This great patronizing "listener" thinks they know shit about Oakland, just like the cops that also don't live here.

All this Racism, Brutality, Occupation, and Righteousness reeks of fascism to me.

"The verdict is not the issue; the riot is the issue." says EBR. Well, for a lot of us in Oakland state violence is the issue. The cops are the issue. The verdict is just some peoples idea of justice. This is way more important than some broken windows and burning trash cans. The police are preparing for a riot, why not criticize them? More police violence could incite rioting again because, that's the fucking issue in the first place! The riot is an uncontrollable expression of rage. Any attempt to control such things may temporarily stop a little property damage but will only fan the flames of rage.
by ttttt
Friday Jul 2nd, 2010 9:25 AM
you cant have a general strike when the unions are in bed with the politicians, corporations, and cops.
in california the nurses wouldnt strike because a judge told them not to.
dont expect all of the unions to engage in an illegal strike because someone got shot.
by oaklandresident(ofmany)
Friday Jul 2nd, 2010 9:28 AM
after writing my critique i noticed all of the "eastbayresident" posts had dissapeared. now i am the only blabbering idiot on here. oh well.

cheers to all out in the streets tonight. protect yourself, let your rage out.
by eugean17
Friday Jul 2nd, 2010 11:25 AM
To "?" and "ttt"

One the one side you can not glorify the labor movement in other countries. Yes the level of class struggle is displayed in larger strikes and some times more militancy, but the working class is still saddled with a reformist/ pro capitalist leadership that seeks to keep the struggle inside the bounds of simply pressuring for reforms, as opposed to fighting for the class independence of the working class and a fight for power. This points to the flip side shown by "ttt's" comments. The fight is to go into the labor movement and fight against the existing misleaders, who kneel before the sanctity of the profit system and the courts that defend it. We need revolutionaries in the unions that fight on principle for the independent action of labor, fighting on the side of all victims of capitalist repression as part of the fight for socialist revolution. In the USA, central to that fight is the struggle against anti black racism and working to break the existing illusions in Capitalist democracy, that are expressed in the union tops support to the Democratic party. This is the job of a revolutionary internationalist working class party, one that will seek to unite the masses of poor and minority people behind the great social power of the working class. As US imperialism is dragged down by its failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, as the world capitalist economic crisis sends millions and billions of people around the globe into even deeper poverty, the time is now to take up the study of the great revolutionary leaders, centrally Marx, Engles, Lenin, Trotsky as well as others who crystalized the lessons of past revolutionary struggle and bring those lessens into new struggles to lead us to a socialist future of real equality for all, base on a global society of material abundance. ie. communism.
by Oakl@ndian
Friday Jul 2nd, 2010 12:41 PM
If there is a riot, hopefully the Oakland citizens know well enough to take out Police satellite dishes, the LRAD if it makes an appearance, cruisers and any other symbols of oppression and leave what is awesome about Oakland, such independent small businesses and really anything that is not a symbol of wealth or power alone. This is about state repression! Don't give the media or the cops what they want. Fuck Corporate Media, Fuck the Police.

by no non-profit
Friday Jul 2nd, 2010 12:56 PM
I woke up this morning to read another parade of non-profits falling over themselves to denounce anarchists as "out-side agitators" who will ruin their "organizing" in the wake of what is almost sure to be a miscarriage of justice. If it was not for white and black youth taking matters into their own hands last year there would have never been a trial. We stuck together, across traditional divides, and moved the cause of justice forward. That is why there is even a trail.
Now church leaders, political leaders and otherwise well meaning non-profits are lining up to attack what has been the goal of the left for a generation ... to toss aside co-opted leaders, cross racial divides that are built up by our enemies, and take the future into our own hands.
The trouble is in part that our cause is justice, and the well meaning "leaders" of the non-profit industrial complex prefer peace at the expense justice.
"Listen to your leaders", "avoid white activists", "don't let your emotions boil over."
What shit. The white (and Asian, and black, and native, and Latino) anarchist men and women from Oakland, and around the Bay are NOT OUTSIDERS TO THIS STRUGGLE!!!
If some youth take the train from San Francisco to Oakland to express their outrage, people interested in justice, interested in breaking racial divides, interested in creating equality and real, not forced peace, should being falling all over themselves to THANK THESE PEOPLE.
Well that is not covenant for nonprofit workers, because they fear that their constituency will learn what we already know. YOU CAN ALL BE YOUR OWN LEADERS. Not just some of you who have been anointed through some non-profit leadership pogrom, but all of you - all of us - together.
You don't need non-profits to tell you how to behave any more then you need the cops to tell you how to behave.
They have their bottom line at heart, there political capital at heart, the security of their JOBS at heart, and to preempt the backlash for whatever many happen, they have started pointing fingers elsewhere already.
The Anarchist I know plan to be present. To the best of my knowledge there is no master plan beyond that. However, we will not be pushed around by those who have already dissed us all over the media this past week, and we will not be fooled into thinking a prayer circle will change shit.
And those in the nonprofits who have made us the bad guys instead of the racist, murdering cops, FUCK YOU ALL FOR SELLING US DOWN THE ROAD PREEMPTIVELY AND SHARPENING RACIAL DIVIDES IN OAKLAND BY PAINTING US AS OUTSIDERS! We stand with Oakland, not you anyway.
A voice of one of the many -- Oakland Anarchists!
by just do it
Friday Jul 2nd, 2010 2:10 PM
here's the download
by Posted by Mike Rhodes
(editor [at] Friday Jul 2nd, 2010 2:50 PM
ACLU Statement in Anticipation of the Mehserle Verdict

The shooting of Oscar Grant by BART police officers in January 2009 remains a tragic reminder of the need for serious efforts to rebuild trust between law enforcement and communities of color. No matter the verdict in the Mehserle trial, the need to rebuild community trust in law enforcement will remain. In too many American cities, racial tensions between the community and law enforcement run deep. Police oversight remains a critical issue in truly ensuring both public safety and public trust.

No doubt, Oakland residents and other people following the trial will have a wide range of emotions. Following the verdict, community members need to be able to peaceably exercise their First Amendment rights to demonstrate and to express their opinions about the ruling.

Any police response to demonstrations must respect the rights of the people to peacefully exercise their freedom of speech, no matter who they are or the reason for their protesting. It's important to be mindful that violence is never protected speech, but it is also important to remember that neither the mere possibility of violence, nor the bad acts of a few, can justify the blanket suppression of peaceful demonstrations and protests.

by Val D
Sunday Jul 4th, 2010 6:52 PM
To the "anarchist." YES YOU are an OUTSIDER! You want more broken windows and smashed cars? For what? Come volunteer YOUR car and YOUR windows. Like that's gonna happen. YOU don't live here. YOU don't work here. YOU won't suffer at all when we ain't got shit because of YOU. Guess what-- my girl had her car destroyed last year & so she lost her job taking care of kids. Her deaf daughter paid the price too. THEY are on food stamps & go to the food bank. DO YOU?? THEY GO on the bus to get boxes of cans without a car. WILL YOU give them YOUR car for that trip?? Why can't you just throw paint like the people who protest animal fur coats? Why do you have to permanently ruin the lives of so many poor people who LIVE HERE??!!
by oakland resident
Monday Jul 5th, 2010 8:29 AM
To Val D and all those who criticize the "anarchist community"

Yes Oakland is the town I was born and raised in and raise my children in.

Yes I collect food stamps along with many other poor people that live here.

Yes I ride the bus with my children and receive food from food banks.

And yes I am accountable within my community. I organize and have a deep sense of injustice of the world we live in.

No I am not White, a hipster, or even own a bicycle...

Stop assuming that we are not a part of the community and that we have no right to protest in our own town!

If this is not a crucial time to be in the streets, than when is?

Who you are to tell m
As the speakers have said...Justice DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED!