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Unnamed young Black man killed by Oakland police

October 6, 2011

by Anita Wills and Cynthia Morse

This is the gate where the young man was shot by OPD and died. Witnesses say he was unarmed, his hands in the air. The yard where police say he tossed a gun is a half block away. Police threw him to the ground, placed a knee in his back and handcuffed him without administering first aid, letting him bleed to death for four hours before an ambulance arrived. – Photo: Anita Wills
On Sept. 28, three members of a subcommittee of the Oscar Grant Committee – Jabriel Ahkile Anita Wills, Gerald Sanders and Sharena Curley – went to 99th Avenue and Cherry Street in East Oakland. The purpose of the visit was to investigate the media’s conflicting reports about a police shooting there.

The news outlets had not reported that the young man was African American or his name or an accurate depiction of the shooting. The witnesses and neighbors we spoke to were friendly and openly shared their perceptions of what happened.

According to those neighborhood witnesses, white Oakland police officers chased an African American man appearing to be about 20 years old from the corner, up 99th and south on Cherry Street toward 100th Avenue. Before he reached the corner house, he tossed a bag and put his hands in the air.

Once his hands were in the air, the police shot and killed him, one bullet piercing the gate where the young man stood and another going through his side. As he was bleeding, the police threw him on the ground, placed a knee in his back and handcuffed him without administering first aid.

Witnesses stated that it took about four hours for an ambulance to arrive. While the victim was on the ground bleeding, one of the officers went through his pockets and threw what appeared to be a wallet and other items to another officer, who then took off.

This shooting took place on Sunday, Sept. 25, but the young man’s family was not notified until the following Tuesday and had not received the body.

Gerald and Anita spoke to a Hispanic man who witnessed the incident. He stated that the police confiscated his cell phone after he took a picture of the shooting. He said the police asked if they could enter his home and he said yes and then gave them the cell phone.

This is Cherry Street between 99th and 100th Street. The young man ran up the street towards the corner as police chased him – that is, south on Cherry Street. The blue house and fence near the corner is where the 11-year-old Hispanic boy saw the shooting. Police said that the man they shot pointed a gun at them and then tossed it in the yard of the house near corner. Yet they shot him in front of the gate in the foreground, which is about half a block away from where they claim to have found the gun. – Photo: Anita Wills
When the phone was returned, the pictures had been deleted. However, the police told him they had a recording of the event and gave him a CD. He stated that he has not watched the CD as he has no computer or equipment to view it.

The media reported that the policeman recorded the killing of the young man with a pager-size video camera worn on his chest, the first time in the Bay Area a fatal police shooting was recorded by an officer’s wearable camera, according to the Chronicle.

Sharena and Anita spoke to the mother and grandmother of a boy who saw the shooting from his bedroom window. The 11-year-old Hispanic boy told his mother that he saw the man put his hands up and then saw the police shoot him. When the boy returned to school the following week, his school principal pulled him out of class to talk to a social worker about the incident.

It turns out that the person interviewing him was from the Oakland Police Department and was grilling him without a parent present. The boy’s mother stated that the police told her they found the gun the suspect allegedly tossed when they chased him. She stated that she had not seen a gun but believed what the police told her.

An African American woman who witnessed the killing saw the young man toss a bag over a fence before putting his hands up. She stated that the young man ran from the police south on Cherry Street toward 99th Avenue – Cherry Street runs north and south and 99th Avenue runs east and west. His back was to the police until he stopped and surrendered, she said.

The young man had no time nor ability to toss a gun where the police claim it was found. The young man stood in front of a gate which was at least half a block from the yard where they claimed to have found the gun.

Several witnesses stated that they heard four shots and watched as the young man fell forward. We believe three of the shots hit him, and one went through the gate, leaving a large dent. After shooting him, the police put him in handcuffs and placed a knee in his back, as he bled from his mouth.

According to witnesses, representatives from the police department have visited and interviewed them. An African American man was sent to interview one of the African American women who saw the shooting. She and her mother spoke about the shooting and stated they saw the man with his hands in the air.

They said that a representative from the police department came by and argued with them about their version of the incident. Other witnesses also believe the police are pressuring them into changing their stories. According to witnesses, the officers appeared to be white males.

While mainstream media have given this police murder very little coverage, it has sparked a media debate not only locally but in the Huffington Post and the Christian Science Monitor over whether a police officer should be allowed to see the recording made by his wearable video camera before he writes his report on the incident it recorded – and whether he should be allowed to see the video at all. – Photo: Liz Hafalia, SF Chronicle
Eleven days after the killing, neither the media nor the Oakland Police Department has released the victim’s name. We spoke to a brother of the victim, who did not want to talk to anyone. He believes the version of the shooting the police gave him.

He would not give us a name for the victim and said the police told them that he had aimed a gun at the officers. The police are supposedly pursuing another person, although they have not put out a description or name of that person.

Another African American woman, who lives closer to the south end of the block – where the young man ran from – stated that she saw the police talking to him before he ran. She said he ran by her home, and she did not see a gun but a bag in his hand.

She stated that she was traumatized by seeing the police shoot him after his hands were in the air in the surrender position. Almost all of the witnesses who saw the shooting spoke of being traumatized by the experience.

The Oscar Grant Committee would like to know why the police are hiding the identity of this African American man who was shot by an Oakland police officer. There are still lingering questions about the true details of what happened that night when the police used deadly force.

The young man’s reputation has been vilified by police and media statements that he was holding a gun. Our investigation shows that he was not holding any weapon and had no time to dispose of a gun.

We will not be contacting the family again, as they are grieving the loss of their loved one. However, we want to know the name of the victim and what really happened that night.

Anita Wills can be reached at


14 thoughts on “Unnamed young Black man killed by Oakland police

  1. Cynthia Morse

    How many white parents give a moment to thinking of African American mothers watching their boys walk out of the house every day. The thoughts of danger and fears for their children are an integral part of their lives, not theoretical or "what if."

    How can those mothers communicate what it's like, to everyone in the white community. The power holders in that community are parents, too. Knowing the truth about the danger that young black men are in every day should make a huge difference in policy and actions–if those with the ability to understand and empathize have the guts to put those feelings into action.

    Do I have lots of hope this will happen? No. But loudly educating the community is the only way to find out for sure.

  2. Anita Wills

    The Oakland City Council is considering passing a Gang Ordinance to curve Violence. Yet, they have no control of the largest Gang in Oakland, the Oakland Police Department. California has passed laws to protect these assassin with badges who are picking African American Males one by one. It is like a Rite of Passage that you must kill at least one and move straight to the top. The taxpayers in Oakland are paying the price, when the City gets sued, the money paid out comes from taxpayers funds. This is what was happening in South Africa, under apartheid, before the people woke up. Better yet, this is why the Black Panther Party was formed in the first place, to combat Police aggression against Black Males. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

    1. seamus

      There is no official or unofficial police policy where killing a black male is necessary for promotion. It's just not there. However, murder for promotion is connected with professional development in gangs.

      If you regard the policy as harmful, why not address it comprehensively?
      (clue to subjective & possibly false application issue)

  3. ISF

    I followed this in the corporate press fron day one…
    The first police press communique contended that the young man dropped his gun while running fron police, then would have turned around, FACING them, running back towards them to pick it up…

    Once they realized this version of the "facts" was a bit too delirious to be credible,
    the second communique, a day later, contended somethibg different :
    the man would have reached for his waistband to take out a gun

    We are now at version #33, in which the young man would have toosed his gun.

    Pick your fave version ?

  4. mesha Monge-Irizarry

    The Chronicle article article published one day after the young man death did mention he was a Union City resident.
    Since the cops seized his wallet after he collapsed, they knew that much right away, and likely checked right away after killing him, in their database in the patrol car computer for any criminal record. Would he have had one, it would have been trumpetted in the KKKorporate press and through a police press conference right away.
    Which is probably why we still do not know the identity of the deceased,
    if he had a clean sheet, no way to vilify him as usual beyond the claim of an elusive gun and an alleged bag of dope thrown over a fence….

    I found last night a fourth "offical version" of this officer incolved shooting. contending the cops initially had a physical confrontation with the young man at which time they saw a gun on him,

    Cops, confiscated cellphine evidence, and Weapons of Mass Deception….

  5. guest

    ANOTHER scum bag bites the dust. One less welfare bum to support-well maybe his 20+ children with 20+ mothers………..

    1. Anita Wills

      Dear, "GUEST" or whoever you call yourself. I will call you UN-anonymous, because there are some many out there like you. All I have to do is put up the profile of a Serial Killer, to get an idea of who you are (hiding behind a Computer). Just wait until the Chicken's Come Home to Roost and they show up in your neighborhood (or Trailer Park). That young man was somebody's son, brother, and father. He had just as much to walk the earth as you do. It is too bad that some Police put themselves out as Judge, Jury, and executioner.

      1. guest

        My dear Anita, Funny how you mention chicken……………I have a masters degree in education and live in a 350,000.00 (thats thousand to you) home. I collect rare coins and antique automobiles. I sugest that you DO NOT come into my neighborhood, it might be dangerous on your part. Have a wonderful evening- anonymous ( I am impressed that you know how to spell!! :-)

        1. Anita Wills

          Yeah tell me anything, since you are anonymous. Your post speak for themselves don't embarrass the educational system by claiming you have a degree. You are so stupid thinking that black folks can't afford your neighborhood. My ancestors had money while yours were running around in the woods in Europe. My guess is your neighborhood is a double wide trailer in one of the many trailer parks dotting our community.

          1. guest

            Just the TRUTH mama and YOU and your "people" can't come into my neighborhood. Thats a FACT. I do have a masters in Edu. TOOOOOOOO bad for your "people" that you came from african monkeys. Isn't that animal abuse???

        2. Charley

          Dear Guest: #1 the average house in CA is $400,000 so you cannot afford to live in CA with your masters. #2 Chicken – with your degree you still go out in your backyard and ring your chickens neck while you molest your cousin. #3 Rare coins – every person in the world has a rare coin (idiot) #4 Antique automobiles – this only means you have a yard ful of junk cars you can't afford to fix or you picked up on the side of the road. If you have to make up a list of things you have, then you don't have them. With your Masters Degree what does — PWT mean – (have you forgotten poor white trash) # 5 Did you go to Penn State???????

  6. guest

    P.S. I'm 3000 miles away from San Fran scum like yourselves. No wonder Calif. is in the condition it's in. and again—- there are no "people" like you in MY HOOD- to coin a phrase that a colored girl would understand

    1. Charley

      You can be a million miles from San Francisco, and we will still be richer and have more money than where you are. You cannot insult a black female with using colored girl (that is a crown of glory for us), but how do you feel about being called red neck white trash with a masters degree from Penn State. Even with your $300,000, in California you would still live in the hood. Start talking about owning a house when you begin with $500,000.


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