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Indybay Feature
Mon Jan 14 2013 (Updated 01/15/13)
Courtroom Chaos for "Comrade Jack"
Mon Jan 14 2013 (Updated 01/15/13)
Oakland Courthouse Blows Up After FTP March Arrestee Taken into Custody
Four people were arrested and one was tased by sheriff's deputies after protesters became boisterous in an Alameda County Wiley Manuel courtroom on January 8th. Of the courthouse disruption, Bay of Rage writes: nearly 100 people gathered at Oscar Grant Plaza to say goodbye to Jack. Jack was arrested on January 7, 2012 during the very first FTP march in downtown Oakland. This march was called as a response to OPD and the local Oakland state apparatus' repression of all rebellious elements in Oakland with brute force in the wake of Occupy Oakland. After clearing the encampment at Oscar Grant Plaza twice, a struggle over territory in Oakland's downtown became a near daily event. Some would try to hold on to Oscar Grant Plaza as a zone where struggles could be coordinated and actions organized. A twenty four hour vigil continued even as the camp was gone. After many brutal arrests and regular brawls with pigs over control of downtown turf, a Fuck the Police march, that ended up becoming a weekly tradition for months, was called for the first Saturday of January. It was at this demonstration on January 7 that Jack was arrested and given bullshit charges – multiple felonies for assaulting a police officer and a made up “possession of an explosive device” charge that would eventually be dropped due to lack of any evidence. A year long court battle eventually resulted in Jack taking a plea deal: 1 year at Santa Rita Jail (though with “half-time” and “good behavior” he'll be out in six months) and multiple years of probation.

Together with our comrade and his family leading the way we walked quietly in the street some eight blocks to the court house. About 50 of us somberly filed into the courtroom. Jack was called before judge Carrie Panetta (daughter in law of former CIA director Leon Panetta) who rambled about the length of his sentence. She banned our friend from ever making contacts with “his victims” (as though pigs can be victims!) otherwise known as officers of the Oakland Police Department. After agreeing to the year long sentence, with only half to be served, the judge ordered the bailiffs take Jack into custody. Almost immediately dozens of people were clapping and hissing. Screams filled the air. “Burn the prisons!” “Fuck the police!” “Death to pigs!” “Hang the Judges!” “Pig Fuckers!”“Brick by brick, tear this court to the ground!” People stomped on the ground, cursed the judged, and brought smiles to the dozen or so inmates being sentenced that day. It was a modest yet appropriate response to a system that tears loved ones away from each other and reproduces the laws that defend the horrors in this world Jack was resisting in the first place.

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