Police don’t want to be tried in Oakland for murder of Oscar Grant


An interview wit’ Grant’s friends’ father, Jack Bryson

by Minister of Information JR

At Oakland’s Grand Lake Theater on Aug. 20, at the kickoff of Cynthia McKinney’s Triumph Tour, an update on the Oscar Grant case from the family’s perspective was an important part of the program. Here, Jack Bryson, his son Jackie and Oscar Grant’s Uncle Bobby pose for Bay View Arts Editor Wanda Sabir. – Photo: Wanda SabirThe videotaped police murder of Oscar Grant is still on the minds of many in the Bay Area who watched it on television New Year’s night and for two weeks after. Nine months later, a date of Oct. 6 has been set for Johannes Mehserle, the police trigger-man, to plead his case on why his defense team thinks that they need a change of venue for his murder trial.

Although Mehserle is the only one of the five police murderers there that night who has been charged with anything, his defense had been trying to get the charges dropped to no avail. The change of venue hearing is on Tuesday at the Alameda County Courthouse, 1225 Fallon St., in Oakland. The press conference starts at 11:30 a.m. and the hearing begins at 1 p.m. We hope to see as many people as possible there.

I sat with Jack Bryson, the father of two sons who were with Oscar Grant on the night that he was murdered on the Fruitvale BART station platform in East Oakland. Read the Q and A interview and learn about some of the nuances in this important historical case in the Black community that is taking place in Oakland in the midst of the Black president’s first term.

Why hasn’t Obama responded to the videotaped police execution of Oscar Grant like he did rapper Kanye West’s outburst at a recent video awards show and the police harassing Professor Skip Gates at his house – and this was a police murder caught on tape? Let’s hear from Jack Bryson …

M.O.I. JR: Mehserle’s lawyer was trying to get the case dropped. What’s going on?

Jack Bryson: Michael Rains, Mehserle’s lawyer, said that he did not get a fair pre-trial. He said that he didn’t let some witnesses testify and he didn’t get to let the taser expert testify and he feels he didn’t get a fair trial. So he filed some forms and he was trying to get the charges dropped.

M.O.I. JR: Since we last gave an update on what we are calling the Oscar Grant case, a number of people have resigned. Can you speak to the people that have resigned that are very closely connected to this case?

Jack Bryson: Chief Gee – he has resigned. He said he will resign in December.

M.O.I. JR: And Chief Gee is the chief of the BART police that murdered Oscar Grant, as well as he is the head of the investigation, right?

Jack Bryson: Exactly. The cover-up. Not the investigation.

M.O.I. JR: Yeah, you right; correct me: the cover-up.

Jack Bryson: Yeah, he’s in charge of the cover-up, and he still has not done the right thing to fire the rest of the officers. Myers Nave (a private law firm hired by BART to investigate the murder of Grant) came out with a report, and it didn’t favor what the police officers did. It said that several state and federal laws were violated by these officers, and not one thing that they did on that platform was correct. And when that report came out, then Chief Gee turned around and said that he doesn’t believe in what that report says, and he still stands by these officers.

M.O.I. JR: I know that it was released a few weeks ago. What did the report say? And who is Myers Nave?

Jack Bryson: They (the BART Board) felt like they couldn’t get a fair investigation through BART internal affairs so they hired Myers Nave to do an investigation, and it came back and said that nothing that night that these police officers did was right.

M.O.I. JR: Give some the readers some examples.

Jack Bryson: No leadership. The way they approached the young men – they should have took each young man one by one and questioned him. The way that they came out with their tasers. The way that they treated Oscar and the (other) young men too. And it also talks about how, after Oscar was murdered, five of his friends were detained. And they were detained for six hours in handcuffs, and that was way too long.

M.O.I. JR: They were in handcuffs for six hours?

Jack Bryson: Six hours. I know that my two sons were in handcuffs for six hours and three other young men. And then they were left in the cars for two hours too, still handcuffed.

M.O.I. JR: And this is right after the murder of Oscar Grant, right after they saw their homeboy cold bloodedly murdered in front of their face?

Jack Bryson: Correct. And they were screaming and hollering for them to call an ambulance, and Tony Pirone (one of the other cops on the scene that night) was hollering at them, from what I heard, telling them to “shut the fuck up! I’m not calling nobody.”

M.O.I. JR: Can you speak about the resignation of Tom Orloff, the district attorney of Alameda County?

Jack Bryson: I’m confused on that one. I don’t know if he resigned from the pressure or if this was something that was in the makings or …

M.O.I. JR: Well, it sure is a cold coincidence.

Jack Bryson: Or maybe he doesn’t want to be the first D.A. to send a police officer to trial for murder. I don’t know. That’s what I was hearing, you know, that he didn’t want to be the first D.A. to send a police officer to trial for murder.

M.O.I. JR: How do you feel as a father, as someone who has spent a lot of time with Oscar Grant? But also your two sons could have been shot by these very same police officers. How do you feel when it is basically being entertained that they are trying to move the venue for the trial?

Jack Bryson: You know, every time I see that video (of Oscar being murdered), it’s really disturbing to see what all of those young men had to go through – and, as a father, seeing your two sons being assaulted, especially my oldest son, who was assaulted by Johannes Mehserle before he murdered Oscar Grant. You watching him just punching on my son, then handcuff him, then go to Oscar Grant, and the next thing you know Oscar was murdered.

You know life hasn’t been the same since Jan. 1. Man, it’s hard because Oscar and them young men were tight. And, like you said, it could have easily been my son or any of the other young men, but it was like he chose Oscar. You know, it’s so unfair, especially to his mother.

M.O.I. JR: Do you look forward to the trial where this can be exposed or are you just looking forward to it being over?

Jack Bryson: Both. First exposed and over. Oscar might be able to change history, because this is not the first time. It’s like when I was watching a video of Fred Hampton when you had it at the Black Dot Cafe, and it’s kind of similar how the police were covering it up with how the bullets didn’t match with how they said that they (the Chicago police) did it, and the way Oscar was killed.

But Oscar had a video. And they’re still trying to say that he was doing something, and he wasn’t doing nothing, him or the young men. Imagine if Fred Hampton would have had a video. Imagine if Sean Bell would have had a video … Emmit Till. You know, all of these are connected, and they were treated the same way. That’s why it is important that we get a victory in this case. Then it might slow down the officers that feel that they can continue to do this to Black and Brown young men.

M.O.I. JR: Is there any last thing that you want to say to the audience of the Bay View newspaper?

Jack Bryson: Yeah, so far Chief Gee has resigned and Tom Orloff has resigned and Johannes Mehserle is going to trial for murder. So that’s kind of like three victories. But BART still has not met the community demands of Tony Pirone and the other officers being fired. I don’t know why they are holding on to them.

M.O.I. JR: So let me ask you this: So basically those officers are still at work?

Jack Bryson: They are on paid vacation. Yeah, they’ve been on paid leave. And I don’t know what they are waiting for. And Tony Pirone is the accessory to murder. He is the one who started all of this. He was also the head leader (among the cops) in this.

This all started at 2 o’clock in the morning. And Johannes Mehserle got to the platform at 2:09 a.m. and at 2:11 a.m., Oscar Grant was dead. But right before Oscar Grant was murdered, Tony Pirone called Oscar Grant “a bitch ass nigger.” He socked him, then he threw him on the ground, and he asked him, “Who is a bitch ass nigger now?” Then he called him a “nigger”; then Johannes Mehserle shot him.

M.O.I. JR: Real klanish, huh?

Jack Bryson: If I came to your job or you came to my job or anywhere else, that would not be tolerated nowhere else. And, you know, for Chief Gee to still say that he still stands by his officers – they did nothing wrong, with Oscar Grant being called a nigger before he was murdered – and so for Chief Gee to say that he still stands by his officers, to him and the other officers, that was not wrong. So that’s everyday life to them.

M.O.I. JR: If people want to do something, what can they do? I know that there is a number of different organizations that you guys are affiliated with. Who’s doing what and which way would you send them?

Jack Bryson: I just say support Oscar Grant and every movement involved, but not only that: I would just tell everyone to support your community. You know, the power is in the people. The more you support your community and let them know that we’re watching, this is not going to continue to happen. Then we could be cool. Then we got some strength.

Email POCC Minister of Information JR, Bay View associate editor, at blockreportradio@gmail.com and visit www.blockreportradio.com.


  1. This is a comment I left a long time ago on another article at this site. Most of it still fits the situation though. Especially when you keep using the word murder. For this aritical I found it interesting that you said the officier was assaulting you son before becoming involved with Oscar. Yet you claim later that it all started at 2a.m, the officer arrived at 2:09 and at 2:11 Oscar was dead.

    I have just watched several views of the shooting. I have yet to come to any conclusions. A few of the details I noticed were that there appear to be 3 or 4 people in cuffs or some sort of custody on the floor or sitting against a wall. They would have been searched. Oscar was not, as he had his hands in front of his face as he “talked to the police”. From everything I had read I assumed he was handcuffed and laying prone on the floor with no one around him. Thus the assassination and murder rants. His hands only went behind him as the officers jumped on him. My thought is that as his head was moving toward the ground he brought his a hand or hands under him as would be natural to avoid you head slamming into the floor. Once your hands are out of sight of the police all bets are off. He had not been secured or searched before. This would expain a shooting, it doesn’t explain the officer not pleading this as the case though. The taser angle is interesting too. The image of the police issue X26 that I found on google images was a lot different than this one. Check it out and compare yourself. I haven’t read anything about the style of Taser or the duty weapon of the officer so I wouldn’t know what to compare.

    I’am very interested in seeing video from the train and station cameras that will hopefully add to the context of the situation. I’m fairly sure that the officer didn’t wake up that day and wait for an opportunity to kill Oscar, so the 1st degree murder or assassination claims should probably end, unless the entire population of Oakland would like to be held to the same standard and avoid all the legal defense costs.

    As much as people want to dicard any information prior to the shooting as irrelevant, I can’t. The officers were called because of a fight on the train, the train had to be stopped because of it. Its 2 am in the morning and we don’t know if drugs/alchohol were involved. From what I’ve heard this area is the sort where “looking at” or “bumping” the wrong person can instantly lead to violence, yet they expect the police to take direct threats with some superhuman morality and strength. They are just folks who do a very tough job.
    They aren’t particularly friendly to me either(suburban caucasian guy), they are just super suspitious of everything around them. Dealing with people who hate you everyday can have that effect on you. At this point it doesn’t matter who started it I would just avoid behavior and locations that garner their attention and I advise my children to do the same.

  2. My name is Danny Garcia. Pres. of National F.A.M.L.E. and all I can say is to Oscar Grant and family I feel your pain as I lost my brother Mark Garcia to his executed
    By the police offices in the S.F.P.D Mission Dept.

    And I know what lay ahead for you and all family if as a whole we the people don‘t stop the shooting, taster or beaten to death by all law enforcement

    Families and The Stolen Lives Project have documented a partial list of over 2000 people killed by all lawforcement in just the 90’s alone.

    How many More of Our Grandpa, Grandmother, Dad, Mother Brother & Sister have to be executed before we stop this maddest


    Oscar Grant was beaten and then executed no matter how System play it out!
    The New Year that promised “change that so many of you believe in”,

    Has not change everyday will be much too much the same if we the people don‘t stop the cover up and shooting, taster or beaten to death by all law enforcement

    Demand of FAMILE
    End police murders now
    Justice for Oscar Grant & family
    Convict the murdering cops and all his accomplices
    Enough is enough the whole Dam system is guilty
    The people anger is justified drop all charges against Demonstrators

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