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A young man shown on video in a physical confrontation with BART police has been acquitted of four counts of battery on a police officer, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced Thursday, Dec. 16. Jurors deliberated two days before finding Michael Smith, 22, not guilty Wednesday afternoon of the four counts. Jurors deadlocked 9-3 in favor of acquittal on two additional counts of battery on a police officer and one count of resisting arrest. Prosecutors on Friday are expected to announce whether they will dismiss the remaining charges or retry Smith.
On Dec. 15 in Oakland, a protest was planned, held and led by students on the issue of police brutality. It was held at the Fruitvale BART Station where Oscar Grant had unfortunately lost his life at the hands of BART police officers. Over 200 students gathered to have their voices heard – and they would not take no for an answer. Youths who are angry with what is happening made hardcore and inspiring speeches.
Ishmael Reed is one of the most read writers of his generation, along with Toni Morrison and Amiri Baraka, living in America. In 1962, Reed co-founded “East Village Other,” a well known underground publication at the time, and was a member of the Umbra Writers Workshop, which helped to give rise to the Black Arts Movement. He has published nine novels, four collections of poetry, six plays, four collections of essays and a libretto. He currently lives in Oakland, and I approached him one day while he was visiting KPFA’s studios to ask him what he thought about the state of affairs between the police and Oakland’s Black community, with the backdrop of the police murder of Oscar Grant and, in a separate incident, the police murder of Lovelle Mixon, after Mixon allegedly killed four Oakland police officers.