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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Health, Housing, and Public Services | Police State and Prisons | Racial Justice
Cops arrest around 100 protesters in Oakland
Cops arrest around 100 protesters in Oakland around E. 18th St., and 7th Ave!
Cops arrest around 100 protesters in Oakland
by Lynda Carson -- November 6, 2010
Oakland - The November 5, 2010, light sentence of Johannes Mehserle to 2 years in prison with time served, had a big impact on my neighborhood the evening of November 5, as the neighborhood filled up with 100's of protesters fleeing from the violence of on-going police brutality, and threat of arrest by Oakland Cops.
An early quiet Friday evening in front of and near my residence turned into a bizarre type of escape scene one might see in the movies, with dozens of people running by, fleeing on foot in fear, and running down the sidewalk past my apartment in a state of sheer panic. It all reminded me of a scene from the movie, The Planet of the Apes.
Around 7pm (my neighborhood), near the corner of 8th Ave and E.19th St., was saturated with tons of speeding squad cars, loud sirens and 3 to 4 helicopters flying overhead in tight looped circles with bright blazing searchlights, turning nightfall into a dazzling brightly lit crime scene far down below.
Both men and women were running by, and some were in their teens, but most of them were in their 20's and 30's, and a few were older. A mix mostly of blacks, latinos and whites. Many were on bicycles.
I could see the look of sweat and fear on peoples faces as they silently ran by trying to find a safe place to hide, far away from the cops that were chasing them with guns, night sticks, tasers and a one way ticket to Santa Rita jail.
Some of those fleeing were looking for a place to hide in the bushes, in peoples driveways behind the parked cars, under the porches and near the sides of buildings along the street.
These were the same people who were protesting Johannes Mehserle sentence downtown Oakland earlier during the day, who ended up near Laney College and then were later dispersed and chased into my neighborhood by the large brutal police force, that had all the protesters on the run.
Some protesters were on foot alone or in groups silently running along the streets and sidewalks, while others were on bicycles and in cars speeding down the street away from the sounds of sirens, bright flashing lights and the cops that were in hot pursuit.
The air was wailing with sirens getting ever closer, until a squad car came blasting up the hill. Suddenly screeching to a startling stop as it blocked the middle of the intersection at 8th Ave, and E. 19th St.
Watching the protesters fleeing in all directions along the street at that point, the cop in the squad car spun his car around and quickly dashed back down the hill to join up with other squad cars, blocking the street a block away.
The bright flashing red and white lights of the squad cars were intense and bouncing of the windows and buildings along the street, as the local street cats scurried for the darkness of cover under the nearest cars to be found.
I did not know it then, but the cops had declared that my neighborhood was a crime scene because of the protesters, and they sealed off the whole area block by block with hundreds of cops on the streets, and in their squad cars, blocking many of the intersections and sealing off the whole neighborhood.
Whatever rights my neighbors and I may have had before the cops appeared and locked down my neighborhood, our rights seemed to have been tossed right into the trash bins of history at that point, as we were all at risk of being arrested because we all resided right in the middle of a crime scene.
As I stood on the corner of 8th Ave and E. 19th St, for half an hour to forty minutes, along with some of the protesters who were angered by the Johannes Mehserle sentence, I could understand why people feel that the system is broken, and there is no justice in this world.
Many of the protesters were out of breath by the time they reached the corner I was at, and were very happy that they managed to escape capture from the cops. Soon they were off and running again, in fear that the cops may still capture them.
At any time the cops may have come back and arrested us for standing out on the streets nearby, a block or two away from where a 100 protesters or more were being arrested nearby. It was a tense scene.
From our position, we could see numerous squad cars a block away, and could hear the shouts of protesters yelling at the cops as they were being rounded up, arrested and lined up to be taken off to Santa Rita Jail. The large police force that was menacing the whole neighborhood with their fascist police tactics, were serious about catching as many as possible of the protesters that were marching down the streets of Oakland, in protest of the light Johannes Mehserle sentence.
I too was angered and felt that Johannes Mehserle should have gotten a minimum of 14 years or more for executing Oscar Grant, at the BART Station on that fateful New Years Eve.
All in all, around 100 people or more were blocked off in the nearby streets, and cornered and captured by the police in my neighborhood, who then proceeded to arrest everyone that was targeted, captured and trapped by their brutal tactics. For many, there was no escape, and no place to run or hide.
For others, dozens of others reached the safety of my street and silently ran off into the shelter of darkness just out of reach of the fascist police state that was intent on hunting them down, as if in sport.
Additionally, some cops were cruising the streets in unmarked cars, but the protesters spotted them in a heartbeat, and started calling them "pigs" and told them to get lost, as they quietly drove by the numerous protesters milling around that appeared to be out of their reach.
Overhead, the noisy helicopters flew in circles for 3 to 4 hours this evening, while the neighborhood was in full lock-down, as a 100 or more protesters were captured and arrested around E. 18th St., and 7th Ave.
Lynda Carson may be reached at tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com