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The Oakland school police killing of Raheim Brown Jr.

March 6, 2011

In this Block Report, Minister of Information JR interviews the parents of Oakland school police murder victim Raheim Brown Jr. Lori Davis and Raheim Brown Sr. talk about the police killing their son as well as who their son was before he was brutally murdered by campus police.

Witness contests Oakland school police story on murder of Raheim Brown

by Jesse Strauss

Raheim Brown
On Saturday, Jan. 22, 20-year-old Raheim Brown was shot and killed by the Oakland Unified School District’s police force outside Skyline High School. Police statements and media have reported that Brown tried to stab an officer with a screwdriver, and a second officer shot Brown five times – once in each arm, once in his chest and twice in his head – in defense of his partner.

On Thursday, Feb. 3, outside the OUSD headquarters, Brown’s mother, Lori Davis, spoke at a press conference. Calling the killing an “assassination,” she was horrified by the excessive use of force by school police officers. Davis believes that Sgts. Barhim Bhatt and Jonathan Bellusa, the two cops identified at the press conference as the two involved in Brown’s killing, should “never to be able to work in another police department ever.”

Tamisha Stewart, the only civilian witness to the killing, who was in a car with Brown outside Skyline High, spoke for the first time publicly about the event. The screwdriver Brown was accused of using as a weapon, according to Stewart, was being used in an attempt to hotwire the car, and it “never left the ignition.”

While hotwiring a car might be cause for police attention, it is not cause for five bullets, including two to the head. Stewart added, “There was nothing that Raheim did that he deserved to die.” According to statements at the press conference, after Brown was killed, Stewart was beaten badly and jailed for almost a week.

An Oakland teacher’s union representative also spoke at the Thursday press conference, saying that the union had voted to “support fully an independent investigation” into Brown’s killing and the OUSD Police Department.

Brown was one of three people killed by police in a single week in Oakland. Earlier this year, Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts called on the FBI for an external investigation into the November police killing of Derrick Jones. As initial police statements contrast sharply with Stewart’s account of Brown’s killing, further investigation into this case might also be warranted.

Raheim Brown’s family is asking for financial support in order to claim his death certificate from the coroner as well as to pay for funeral and burial costs, which will total over $4,500. The Coroner’s Office refuses to release the death certificate without a $320 payment. Donations can be made to a Wells Fargo account in the name of “RPOS Raheim Malik Brown” to account number 5104210850 and routing number 121000148.

Families of Oakland police victims plead for support, DA refuses prosecution

Two months after Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts announced an FBI investigation into the November police killing of Derrick Jones, the Alameda County district attorney told Jones’ family that she had decided against prosecuting the officers who shot Jones eight times as he was running away, unarmed. According to Jones’ family at the Oakland City Council meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 8, the DA has not received any reports from the police department’s Internal Affairs office or the FBI.

Bruce Nash, one of Jones’ family members, explained that as of Tuesday, “We have no clue in terms of what’s happened with the FBI report,” and added that it seems like “this is a murder that’s been swept under the carpet.” Moreover, he was “very disappointed in what was stated today by Ms. O’Malley” and asked for support from the City Council by finding all Internal Affairs and FBI reports in order to be informed about how to proceed as a grieving and upset family.

While council members spoke in support of accessing these reports, none were aware whether any had actually been completed. Councilmember Nancy Nadel cited the California Police Bill of Rights, which limits criminal liability of officers, in explaining why the family hasn’t gotten any reports, and called the Police Bill of Rights “part of the problem.”

Jones’ mother supported Nash’s request to the City Council. “I’m stressing for you guys to help. Something needs to happen with these police officers. They’re killing machines.”

Also present at the meeting were both parents of Raheim Brown, the 20-year-old man shot five times including twice in the head by Oakland school police on Jan. 22. Brown’s mother, Lori Davis, explained that Sgt. Jonathan Bellusa, the officer who initiated the gunfire that killed her son, had previously been charged at least twice for excessive use of force including another case that resulted in another man’s death. Davis brought a plea similar to the one from the Jones family to the City Council: “I need your help making sure this officer gets investigated.”

Closing out the meeting, Jack Bryson, the father of two of Oscar Grant’s friends who were with Grant when he was killed, said, “What I’m seeing now is there’s a genocide on Black and Brown men.” As Grant’s case is over two years old and by far the oldest of the three, Bryson has tried time and again to find support, but as he articulated on Tuesday, “All three families are grieving and no one is stepping up to do nothing.”

In support of these families, a slew of local and national organizations held “A People’s Hearing on Racism and Police Violence,” which gave space for victims and their family members to offer public testimony about their experiences. To learn more and watch videos of the hearing, visit http://peopleshearing.wordpress.com/.

Bay Area journalist Jesse Strauss can be reached at jstrauss@riseup.net. These stories first appeared on Indybay, the first at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/02/05/18671237.php and the second at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/02/09/18671614.php.

 

9 thoughts on “The Oakland school police killing of Raheim Brown Jr.

  1. Victoria Nicole Brown

    There is a genocide of Black and Brown peoples in our city, and not a damn is being done about it. It's looking more and more like our police force is here to "harrass and occupy" instead of "Protect and Serve". Where can we go, how can we feel safe when we can't trust officers of the police force to effectively perform their job without using excessive force or abusing power; with an incompetent legal structure that offers no help to thse suffering families ?

    Reply
  2. ruben

    we can't as a race make negative statments, cheer when police are murdered or when oj simpson was declared innocent. the family who lost thier son by oj, the pain they are going through, may never go away, but having money and affluence, dictates action. an overwhelming number of sympathizers for them have risen up and spoken, disinfranchizment has taken its toll. just look around you. we had our laughs and made statements that the four police who lost thier lives in oakland deserved it. i knew what was coming when i heard it. jobs, welfare, education and lives being lost. the statis quo needs an excuse an we gave it to them. now we are screaming genocide and racism, all the while, stepping into thier traps. we all must first ask ourselves, police, families, government and individuals, how we would feel if someone killed, raped or caused harm to one of our own. everything is so political, we tend to loose the human aspect of life untill it occurs to us. don't condon black on black killing, black on white killing, police killing or any crime.

    Reply
    1. @dreamofsafety

      Genocide and racism are relevant though, as much as you are correct that the deaths of police don't help the situation. There's so much resentment built up, in fact, because of genocide and racism that people are happy to see police die, which is a sign in itself of something breaking down.

      Reply
  3. butch

    Whats get me is this, why does it to this point? Parents are failing their kids. The father was incarcerated, the mother was not laying down law. Why this young man was in a stolen car is beyond me. I do not understand why we are not raising our kids.
    The police officer probably encountered a kid with a smart mouth and over reacted. This is sad on all levels. This woman has all these kids, and is not taking responsibility or ownership in this situation.
    The police officer needs to be disciplined

    Reply
  4. Kaila

    Portray themselves? Um you need to take a way at the media portrays them. How the images projected about them are sterotypes.
    I think you're the ignorant bitch here matt.

    Reply
  5. how bob

    People,Black,Brown or other ,are portrayed in a negative way by the constant images in Hollyweird movies and false reality tell-a-lie-vision. Only the Bigoted whites in oUr society get portrayed as Narcissistic gods and hero`s !
    The pork-lice Cowards-boys in blue only due what they have been brainwashed to do ,and that is Over-react and Stereotype!
    Take care ,you Anus!

    Reply

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