Posts Tagged ‘Oscar Grant’
On Friday, former BART cop Johannes Mehserle was given a jail sentence of 2 years for the ‘involuntary manslaughter’ of Oscar Grant. Subtracting time served and ‘good behavior’, Mehserle will be back on the streets in as little as 7 months.
Community members took to the streets in protest, and after the cops sealed an entire city block off, calling it a ‘crime scene’, 152 people were arrested. That is more arrests than ANY other Oscar Grant-related protest as of yet.
Most arrestees have been cited on misdemeanor charges and released. Those folks all have mass arraignments in the first week of December. We will be calling for a mass show of court support for those days. Stay Tuned.
Six people continue to be held, and each have arraignments scheduled for this coming Tuesday, November 9th. Please come to court to show support for people who stood up for justice, spoke truth to power, and continue to be punished for it. The following are their court times and departments (rooms, all at Wiley Manuel Courthouse @ 661 Washington Street in
9am, dept. 107 – 1 person
2pm, dept. 107 – 1 person
2pm, dept. 112 – 4 people
Finally, Raquel Sharp is being charged criminally with a misdemeanor as well as civilly (being sued) for events on the night of Mehserle’s verdict (July 8th). Raquel has asked for as many people as possible to show up to her pre-trial TOMORROW morning, 9am in Department 104 at Wiley Manuel Courthouse on the corner of 7th and Washington streets in Oakland (661 Washington).
Support the Oakland Rebels! Stay strong!
-the Oakland 100 Support Committee
PS-As always, we’re fundraising! All donations directly support people who’ve been charged with crimes related to protesting for justice for Oscar Grant and against racist police brutality. More information and online donations can be made here:
OAKLAND, California – As of 9pm November 5th, around 153 people have been arrested around East 18th St and 6th Ave in Oakland following the sentencing of Johannes Mehserle. The former BART cop was given 2 years for involuntary manslaughter – minus time served – for the murder of Oscar Grant. Mehserle may be released in as little as 7 months. The judge presiding over the trial decided not to apply a firearms enhancement charge, which would have increased the sentence to as high as 14 years. The police immediately declared the organized march unlawful and began trapping the crowd for mass arrest. At least one National Lawyers Guild legal observer has been arrested. During the march, protesters smashed shop and car windows, and one man was arrested for allegedly unholstering an officer’s gun and pointing it at him.
According to several observers, police did not issue a dispersal warning (and allow protesters to leave), but in fact corralled protesters and even some observers and then serially arrested them. One witness that had followed the crowd through out the course of the evening explained that as the marchers left downtown Oakland, they began to head towards the Fruitvale BART station where Oscar Grant was murdered. Repeatedly, police blocked the marchers off, riling the crowd. At one point, as the crowd passed Laney Community College, the police cut them off in an attempt to summarily arrest the entirety of the crowd. In response the bulk of the crowd tore down a temporary fence and scrambled through a construction site to circumvent an assured arrest. It was only later, after a string of antagonizing by police, did some marchers get arrested.
Update: Some, if not most, of those arrested last night are being released today. According to what the police at the jail were saying, the number of people arrested may be closer to 250 or even 300.
We have also gotten word that many of our comrades from Advance the Struggle have been arrested tonight, and we would like to express our solidarity with them, and with all who have been arrested.
Photos from JoshWolf/Indybay.
CALIFORNIA – BART police officer, Johannes Mehserle, shot and killed unarmed Oscar Grant in January of 2009 while Grant was laying on his stomach at the Fruitvale train station in Oakland. Mehserle was charged with involuntary manslaughter on July 8, 2010, followed by thousands in the streets and rioting that evening in protest of the lax charge. Mehserle is to be sentenced this Friday in Los Angeles.
In Oakland, organizers from the Oakland General Assembly will be holding a ‘Gathering in Honor of Oscar Grant’ starting at 2pm in Frank Ogawa Plaza (14th and Broadway).
OAKLAND, California – The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) local 10 has called for a community rally to demand justice for Oscar Grant on October 23rd at Oakland City Hall (i.e. Frank Ogawa Plaza). Local 10 is calling for all killer cops to be jailed.
RSVP on facebook.
As we prepare for sentencing in the case of Johannes Mehserle, we must also prepare to radically shift our strategic orientation, or risk becoming obsolete. Our objectives, our strategies, our relations with the community: all must change or the murder of Oscar Grant will become just another police murder, and our street rebellions “just another riot.”
The Oakland Assembly for Justice for Oscar Grant (OA) was created with the intention of being a space for radical democracy and communal struggle towards Justice for Oscar Grant, his family, and the Oakland community. Our goal when we put out the call for the first meeting of the Assembly was to form a body that could seek community justice for Oscar Grant as well as form a space outside of the state, non-profit, and liberal institutions.
Our thinking was simple: direct democracy instead of liberal leaders, community justice instead of white justice, and a radical movement instead of toothless reformism. Our analysis has been rooted in a recognition that our power lies in the streets, not in City Hall or the Department of Justice; in demanding justice and fighting for it rather than asking nicely. Our strategy has never been one of provoking conflict or putting others at risk, but instead one of recognizing the presence of justified anger, and attempting to transform that anger into radical systemic change. As Oscar’s family has insisted all along: this goes beyond Oscar.
During the past year, the Assembly has called for or supported a number of actions and events with both limited victories and limited defeats. We would like to remind folks of one important victory: the July 8th event on the day of the verdict that the Assembly called for, organized, and held down. Some have called this a defeat because those arrested were mostly people of color, but should we really expect anything different from the racist state? To claim that July 8th was a defeat because the police used it as an opportunity to target people of color is like claiming that the Black Panthers were a failure because the state chose to destroy them.
Rather than a defeat, we saw this day as a partial victory that expressed the spontaneous rebelliousness of a community that knows the difference between involuntary manslaughter and 2nd degree murder.
During this period, we feel that the OA has functioned as a liberated oasis which has encouraged the participation of queer and trans folks as well as woman and people of color but much more needs to be done on this front.
Taking Stock of the Present
It is in light of past victories and defeats that we must assess the present moment, which we see as a turning point in the Assembly.
We can either change or perish. We must move beyond the specific case of Oscar Grant as well as beyond merely being a space where organizers come together. In other words, our movement must broaden its scope to attack police violence more generally while deepening its organic relationship with the community.
No one group ‘owns’ the Assembly. It does not belong to us, or to anyone else for that matter. It has to belong to itself and make its own way. Raider Nation Collective has tried to set an example when it comes to moderating, facilitating, and putting forth proposals; but we need to be clear that we want this to be different: we want more trained facilitators, we want more coherent and principled discussion and debate over email and in person, and we want more prepared participation, with people bringing well-formulated proposals to Assembly meetings.
Furthermore, as an institution of popular, neighborhood power, the Assembly will not survive if it does not deepen its relationship with the community, and specifically young people of color. This is why we are in full agreement with Hannibal’s critique of the Assembly’s lack of young members of color and in particular young Black men. It is one of our main criticisms as well. This is why we, along with the vast majority of people in the Assembly meeting on July 15, 2010 voted for an outreach committee headed by Hannibal and other young Black men that would focus on bringing in more ‘Oscar Grants’ into the assembly. This is not your ordinary “outreach” committee, and should not be diverted toward labor outreach or any other task that departs from this primary demand.
For us, ‘Justice for Oscar Grant’ means freedom from police oppression for all people of color in Oakland but most specifically those young Black and Latino men who are disproportionately subjected to the violence of the police.
In the spirit of pushing forward within the OA, we will conclude by sketching out our vision for the coming months. Specific proposals are forthcoming.
Given our approach to understanding the power of the state and its operations, Raider Nation Collective does not believe that asking for concessions is the way forward. Frederick Douglass’ adage, “power concedes nothing without a demand” remains incomplete unless we remember the phrase which Douglass added to it, and to which his life was a living testament: “without a struggle, there can be no progress.” As a result, we do not believe that our energies are best spent in letter-writing campaigns which pressure federal intervention from the Department of Justice, or in popular justice tribunals which attempt to bring the moral weight of the United Nations to bear on policing in the United States. We would rather organize to fight than to ask nicely.
But here is what is important: within the Oakland Assembly, these differing strategies and tactics are not conflicting. We can and must move forward together with joint work. In that spirit, we will collaborate as much as possible with others in the months that come and play a supporting role at the ILWU event scheduled for October 23rd. However, we will be focusing our energies on plans for a Day of Action proposed for November 5th, the day of Johannes Mehserle’s sentencing. We hope that this day will bring together the anger that we feel at Oscar Grant’s murder (and those others killed before and after him) with the anger we feel toward the racist violence enshrined in Arizona’s SB1070 and the class conflict inherent in the state budget cuts. We hope, in short, that November 5th will be an expression of the same Black-Brown unity that the Oakland Assembly fights to build.
We hope November 5th will be a momentous day of unified struggles, of walkouts, of strikes, and a show of righteous force that will make the powers that be tremble. We have found our strength—now is the time to use it.
from Advance the Struggle, by rebelde:
The Oscar Grant movement and the 2009/2010 rebellions in Oakland have triggered a lot of discussion about violence versus non-violence. What are the correct tactics to fight against state violence? How do we get justice for innocent Black and Brown men and womyn who are brutalized and murdered by the police? These are the questions that continually ran through my mind at the 2010 protest/rebellion on July 8th in downtown Oakland. During the earlier part of the protest a lot of non-profiteers, liberals, and regular people were talking about this debate between violent and non-violent resistance, and largely condemning acts of ‘violence’. Youth Uprising (an Oakland non-profit) was passing out flyers for their community gathering, which said “violence isn’t justice.” All around there was encouragement to be non-violent and peaceful. There was also a serious racialization of violence by the media, the churches, and the local government and non-profits. Violence is characterized as something coming from outside of ‘the community’; beware of the ‘outside agitators’ that come in the form of white anarchists. Before the verdict was released I listened to my co-workers talk about these ‘agitators’ who were coming into Oakland from everywhere to wreak havoc in our city. It was alarming to see this panic and fear of anarchists being conjured up by the bourgeois media and the State. There is some truth to this statement that violence does come from outside of the community, but not in the form of anarchists, but in the form of racist killer cops. What’s really violent is living in a world where people die everyday from curable diseases and hunger; where working-class youth are deprived of an education by closing schools and building more prisons; where the police can kill innocent men and have it recorded on video and still not be guilty of 2nd degree murder! (more…)