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San Francisco’s Black and Latino/a communities came together March 18 on the steps of City Hall to launch a united campaign to end police impunity in the officer-involved murders of Mario Woods, Alex Nieto and Amilcar Pérez López. The new Black and Brown United Coalition coalesced after the shocking March 10 exoneration of police in a federal civil trial in the killing of Alex Nieto, 28, by a jury on which no Blacks or Latinas or Latinos had been selected to serve.
Six years ago, on Jan. 1, 2009, Oscar Grant III, 22, was shot and later died of bullet wounds received when Johannes Mehserle, then a BART police officer, fired his gun at point blank range into Grant’s back – after Grant and his friends had been taunted with racial epithets and assaulted by Mehserle and other BART officers on the scene, while Mehserle’s partner, Tony Pirone, held Grant down with both hands and a knee on his head and neck.
Wait. Patience. Stay Calm. We’ve been waiting for dozens, hundreds, thousands of indictments and convictions. Every death hurts. Every exonerated cop, security guard or vigilante enrages. The grand jury’s decision doesn’t surprise most Black people because we are not waiting for an indictment. We are waiting for justice – or more precisely, struggling for justice. The young people of Ferguson continue to struggle with ferocity.
The father of Oscar Grant III, whose shocking death at the hands of a transit police officer was memorialized in the award-winning film “Fruitvale Station” was denied damages yesterday by a federal jury. The jury found that the father – who had been in prison all of his son’s life – failed to show he had a close familial relationship with his son and failed to prove the officer intentionally harmed his son for reasons “unrelated to legitimate law-enforcement objectives.”
The lyrics to B.B. King’s classic “The Thrill is Gone” was the first thing that ran through my head when I showed up at both of the rallies that were held to “protest” the release from jail of Johannes Mehserle on Sunday, June 12. The speakers seemed to be a tad bit angry but not focused enough to do anything significant that would put police murders on the national radar. JUST ADDED: Minister of Information JR leads a full hour of debate on issues swirling around the murder of Oscar Grant by Johannes Mehserle broadcast on KPFA Wednesday morning.
AT&T Park shook so hard I thought I was on a pogo stick the night Barry Bonds crushed a 3-2 Mike Bacsik pitch into right center to go past the great Hank Aaron and crown himself Major League Baseball’s all-time home-run king. He circled those bases to a deafening hometown roar.
Documents recently obtained by The Informant reveal the significant involvement of state and federal law enforcement in monitoring the various Oscar Grant protests in Oakland over the past two years. “They’re documenting who the agitators are. This is all COINTELPRO resurfacing,” says the attorney representing those arrested in the July 8 protests.
In the Bay Area, the veneer of police impunity seems to be thinning even as high-profile cases of police shooting unarmed Black men – in Oakland and nearby Vallejo – continue to occur. Guy Jarreau Jr. was shot and killed by Vallejo police Saturday, Dec. 11. Facing the officer with his hands up, “Guy didn’t have a gun,” said witnesses.
In the wake of the senseless acts of violence that have taken away the lives of Oscar Grant, Derrick Jones and countless other Black men, I’ve grown to feel numb.
Judge Robert Perry has sentenced former BART transit cop Johannes Mehserle to the minimum sentence of two years in state prison for the shooting death of 22-year-old Oscar Grant. Judge Perry gave double credit - 292 days - for his time served. Tune in KPFA 94.1FM or kpfa.org 4-6 p.m. for a special report on the Mehserle sentencing hosted by Minister of Information JR with Davey D and Sabrina Jacobs. Their guests include Cephus Johnson (Oscar's Uncle Bobby), Jack Bryson, John Burris and M1 of dead prez.
Community groups are denouncing an announcement today by the defense team for former BART officer Johannes Mehserle that they are seeking a retrial in the shooting death of unarmed Oscar Grant III.
Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums had a chance to shine last Thursday, after the verdict was announced in the murder trial of transit cop Johannes Mehserle for the Jan. 1, 2009, killing of 22-year-old unarmed Black man Oscar Grant. But instead of standing with the people, Dellums stood with his police chief, and together they proceeded to criminalize the entire community.
Oscar Grant's family told reporters Saturday that the letter of apology from Mehserle should have come much sooner and should have been directed to them personally. Mehserle's attorney, Michael Rains, told KGO-TV on Sunday, “I don’t think that when the family remains that hostile and that nasty and mean-spirited that Mr. Mehserle should be out there offering olive branches because they will not be received.”
More than one hundred people met in Leimert Park in South Los Angeles on July 8 to protest the verdict of Involuntary Manslaughter for Johannes Mehserle, the murderer of Oscar Grant III. The rally lasted more than three hours as organizers, activists and concerned citizens called for justice for Oscar Grant and for accountability and control of the police in Black and Brown communities.
Oscar Grant’s mother Wanda Johnson spoke unexpectedly, adding her thoughts at the close of the family’s press conference. “My son was murdered. He was murdered. He was murdered. He was murdered,” she said, calm but forceful, enunciating every word and looking straight into the dozens of news cameras that had gathered outside the courthouse.