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DA Nancy O'Malley’s Frivolous Prosecution of Activist Prince Bason
by Jaime Omar Yassin
Wednesday Mar 20th, 2013 10:48 PM
Prince is being held on $25,000 bail, which may change depending on whether the DA adds or drops charges at his arraignment on Thursday, March 21st, 2pm at Wiley Manuel Court in Dept 112.

DA’s Frivolous Prosecution of Black Activist Comes on the Heels of Back to Back Exonerations of Black Oaklanders

Last year on May Day, a boisterous but mostly peaceful demonstration promoted by Occupy Oakland and other groups, was aggressively attacked by an OPD assault force. There really is no other way to describe the events [I wrote about that day here, and that attack in "Part 2"].

As the march, which had surged around the city center and lake, came back to Oscar Grant Plaza to plug back into the rest of the day’s events at around mid-day, the police suddenly rushed the crowd from behind, causing panic. In the ensuing confusion, the OPD targeted several individuals. As you can see from these photos, they were offensively brutal in the arrests–but in the case of Prince alone, they went the extra step of tazing him. I think that given that he was the only African American arrested that day, its definitely arguable the extra force was racially motivated.

I was in the crowd that day and absolutely no one posed a threat to any police officer. All of the protesters brought to the ground and arrested, were quite literally just standing there, except for one woman, who was rushed from behind and yanked from a bicycle.

Now, nearly a year later, Prince, has been picked up on a warrant for a charge generated by the arrest. Like so many arrested during actions of civil disobedience and protest, the district attorney has stacked charges on top of the initial ones, and failed to notify the accused of their arraignments.

For those like Prince, who already faced several charges, it didn’t occur to them that they would have to check in with the district attorney to see if even more charges would be stacked on. Despite the fact that the city and county complain about lack of legal resources and funds, they nevertheless generate extra arraignment hearings; knowing as well that these will likely result in warrants.

This behavior is typical of a DA focused on spectacle prosecutions for the viewing benefit of a law and order constituency. The DA almost never “dropped” charges against protesters, for example, throughout the last year and a half;’ rather they kept the charges open, and in some cases brought the charges months later. Again, this generated warrants, creating potentially dangerous situations for activists, given what we know about the habit of police of shooting first and asking questions later.

The DA”s behavior is even more absurd when considering the fact that the office has still not responded in any way to the recent exoneration of two Oakland residents who were arrested and convicted under the shoddiest and most racist police, judicial practices imaginable; no investigations, no studies, no reports about the fact that OPD and DA actions could produce such startling outcomes as the loss of a combined two decades of freedom for two wrongly accused Oakland citizens. Despite years of complaints and evidence that police and prosecution work are sorely racially biased when they are not incredibly lazy and incompetent, the DA continues on its course, with not a complaint from the City Council nor Mayor.

The DA also lacks the time to do all but the most cursory review of the shooting of Alan Blueford, reviewing police files and interviewing Miguel Masso, but doing no investigation of their own. Satisfied, the DA closed the book on Masso only five months after was opened.

What does the DA have time for? Politically motivated frivolous prosecutions against activists like that of the “Ice Cream 3′, who were disappeared into the county’s jails on bogus “hate crimes” charges that were eventually dropped. The DA had the time to target Chris Moreland, who committed the crime of embarrassing OPD Chief Howard Jordan with the truth about his violent police force. The DA has time for harassment of political activists who’ve been through the system like ‘Ghetto Prophet’, who spoke loud and proud at a recent Justice for Alan Blueford action, and hours later found himself being arrested on bogus charges. And the DA has time to prosecute activists like Prince–a father to be who nearly a year ago, helped create a farm out of UC-owned mismanagement and blight in Albany. It’s quite clear that one of the county’s overriding motivations is to intimidate activists like these and others. Remarkably, almost everyone of these people disappeared into the local justice system were people of color, African Americans targeted because of their activism.

The math is simple and striking here. The DA and police want Oakland’s marginalized people to develop an ingrained fear of speaking openly about the city and county’s malfeasance. And they want the natural outcome of that fear to be the ceding of political activism and the public sphere to the socially connected and affluent, so that the mayor and council can always describe uprisings as the work of “unconnected outside agitators”. So that the city’s poorest and most marginalized people will even begin to believe that getting out in the street is something that only rich, white people will do. Something that only the white, affluent people can do.

We say no.


One last thing. Despite the fact that it shouldn’t matter by half if Prince were the most unpleasant guy I’d ever come across in my travels, I have to say it’s extremely shocking to see someone like that brutalized and maligned by the police for standing around at a constitutionally protected activity. I worked alongside Prince one morning at the Farm Occupation in Albany converting the ad hoc rickety chicken coop into an ad hoc rickety petting zoo for a bunch of kids. He was one of the warmest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with, and someone who’s had to overcome some pretty serious obstacles on top of it. The reality that this father-to-be may have to miss his child’s birth because he’s in jail on this bullshit is beyond tolerable.

Here’s a clip of Prince talking about his participation in the great Occupy the Farm action in Albany last year around this time. Its worth listening to, to get an idea of the kind of positive energy and enthusiasm that the DA seeks to silence.

On Tuesday, March 19th, 2013 the Oakland Police Department sent ten officers to Prince’s home to make good on their warrant. With their rifles drawn, the officers surrounded his home before entering and removing him from his bedroom in handcuffs. Prince’s warrant came from a court date where a third charge, PC 69, (threatening an officer) was added by the Alameda District Attorney’s office without notice.

With his first child expected to be born within the month, Prince needs all of our support so he can be home and ready to embark on fatherhood, rather than battling the legal system because he decided to stand up for what he believed in. A better world for the next generation, is that too much to ask?

During the 2012 Mayday protests in Oakland, the OPD switched up it's normal crowd control tactics and sent in 'snatch squads' to remove people who they perceived to be planning unlawful actions. Without any warning, groups of officers marched in formation directly through the crowd in search of their targets, as you can see in the below video. Prince was one of the activists to be targeted and arrested early in the day. More than three officers assaulted Prince, before one used their tazer to bring him down. It's more than clear that there was no reason for any of these arrests to be made, as no illegal activity (on the part of the protesters) was taking place. Prince was held for 72 hours, brutalized, and released with no charges. The DA quietly filed charges later, and issued a warrant for his arrest.

Two of the officers involved in Prince's brutal arrest on MayDay have been identified as Officer Fukuda and Officer W. Burke.  Officer Burke was seen on Mayday, multiple times, pointing his rifle at people in the crowd, and waving it around carelessly. Officer Burke was also fired at one point, for falsifying search warrants, but was rehired in arbitration.

He is currently facing three felonies and a misdemeanor from his arrest at the May 1st General Strike, and is in dire need of support for bail, commissary, legal fees, and communication costs of Global Tel Link. 

Prince is being held on $25,000 bail, which may change depending on whether the DA adds or drops charges at his arraignment on Thursday, March 21st, 2pm at Wiley Manuel Court in Dept 112. 

Please donate, tweet #FreePrince, come to his court dates, visit him in jail, and write him Letters:

Hasheem Bason BIT300
Santa Rita Jail 
5325 Broder Blvd.
Dublin, CA 94568

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Zachary RunningWolf
(runningwolf.zachary [at] Friday Mar 22nd, 2013 11:21 AM
Prince is being targeted and Railroaded because he is a strong Black man that will not back down to Police intimidation. Being also arrested on that day which I never saw the presence of Labor Unions on their day (May 1st) and it would be a good jester of Labor to come to Prince's side. The Labor Unions also borrowed 11.000 dollars from Oakland Occupy for the Port closure with the promise of paying back now would be a good time. I fur their encourage our own anti repression group to use the necessary funds to get Prince out as I was left in Santa Rita for entire month last year. Anybody thinks that they can continue play with Oakland Occupy's money and warriors must understand banishment (by the Elders) is now installed for the entire city and you can get throw out or ask to leave and you will leave.
The system knows with everybody gone, we have no funds to bail people out. So the system can make examples out of anybody they want to make an example out of. I will never step foot into the protest movement every again until I see a radical improvement in activist organizing. That does not mean just having a large presence of folks dedicated to being present at every protest but dedicated and ready to resist the police state GREEK STYLE when ever the threat of the police state presents it self.

Police attack everyone at once in Oakland not because activists fight back, but because THEY DON'T.

Look at the police in Greece. Notice how they always keep a distance from a crowd throwing rocks, bottles and molotov cocktails and everyone in the crowd is always protected and able to come back another day. Can you see it?

The art of rioting is actually a low level act of war against the state and against capital by militant radicals, anti-capitalists and anarchists.

It is now is our que to rise up.

Saturday Mar 30th, 2013 2:30 PM
_ Is this america or NORTH KOREA ?

___ overtime-abusing _ drugged-up _lying, falsifying, fabricating dirty cop terrorists with "police powers" COMPLETELY out-of-control____

___ also watch out for "5150" FORCED PSYCHIATRIC DETENTION - DRUGGING __ IT could lead to a psychiatric-drug induced suicide death.

___ IS THIS AMERICA OR NORTH KOREA ?????? 3-30-2013 sat
by Anarchist
Sunday Mar 31st, 2013 5:40 PM
Anyone thinking America is JUST NOW starting to turn tyrannical is either young and new, blind or flat out dumbed down brainwashed. As if America was ever free and all we need to do is restore it back to how things used to be and everything will be fine for the oppressed. America has always had an oppressed segment of society and just for that should be burned down. RESTORE IT BACK TO WHAT TIME I would like to ask some Tea Party people and newbies? WHEN HAVE THINGS EVER BEEN GOOD? THINGS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN THIS WAY! Police incarcerating and killing poor people of color and targeting them for getting political? That is nothing new. It does not shock the already informed. And with nobody rising up, all it does is numb you to it so that it doesn't shock you anymore and becomes just an everyday occurrence to you.

In any ghetto you go, you have the same social relations. You have the same social relations in all of AMERICA where you're either really poor, middle class or super rich and depending on what status or category capitalism fits you into is how the police treat you. And that's real talk. Same with the Judges and DA's. They're all fucked up. Send them all on a rocket ship into the sun. /joke

But really. We could have built our world/better society if the police weren't so enthusiastic about putting down all our little rebellions. And our rebellions were VERY little> Oscar Grant riots/occupy.

So not only do we need to grow to be big but we need to use our size and growth in numbers to force out the police state to build our new world because anything short of a forceful overthrow won't remove the empire unless you just want to live with it, NOTHING ELSE WILL WORK! We've already tried peaceful protest. That reformist approach gets a lousy F- For FAIL!

But we need to replace the old world with a rational world where predictability and sustainability and equal opportunity are top priority. Until everybody's needs are met as a means to an end for conflict resolution we will not stop building and improving our new world.

Once we've established a non-hierarchical system of conflict resolution via the spread of equality, we can apply other models of conflict resolution to things that are minor in comparison to financial related crimes of desperation. The greedy nature of capitalists will remain and so will their violent nature to maintain or restore their archaic barbarian way of life. While free from the empire, we will never be free from their violent revenge attacks. Their bitter souls over the loss of their empire will torment them night after day into attacking our new way of life and turn us against each other.

A strong anarchist society is always vigilant and never EVER lets its guard down. Everyone is a soldier because there is no army and no police force just as there is no middle class, poor or rich. Everyone is community. The way it's supposed to be and should have always been and fuck anyone who disagrees with it and fight anyone who attacks it.

Let us not kid our selves into thinking America was ever great knowing the brutal history of slavery and the systemic serial killing of millions of the natives. The system of slavery and war didn't end with the Natives or chattel slaves. It only evolved into a corporate police state nightmare that no one can find the power to wake up from or find the courage to resist. And if anyone does find the power to resist, most sit back and watch.

Slavery continues to this day in the form of the prison and military industrial complex and the capitalist wage slavery system as a whole. Equal wages should be given to end the disparity if we are going to have money as means to trade and do business with anyone.

There are degrees of slavery in the American global capitalist system. The worst of their operation starts in the 3rd world where American corporations plant them selves to exploit peasants. The next level is in America it self where and other developed industrialized nations where people are paid minimum wage and are forced to work a second job that pays nothing or end up doing things that are illegal to pay their rent on time.

This game of cut throat economics must end either by collapse or sabotage.

This is why America has the largest prison population and with most people committing crimes of desperation being poor people color on top of racist police who profile them everyday, it's no wonder why black men reportedly make up 40.2 percent of all prison inmates. 1-3 black men end up in prison.

If you feel like rising up against an unjust system regardless of its rule, that is perfectly normal. What's not normal is feeling completely empty and not caring.