Why was Johntue Caldwell, Oscar Grant’s best friend, murdered?


by mesha Monge-Irizarry, Idriss Stelley Foundation

Oscar Grant’s best friend, Johntue Caldwell, 25, was shot dead in his Cadillac on July 15, 2011, a mere 30 and a half months after Oscar’s BART police assassination.

Johntue Caldwell, godfather of Oscar’s daughter, Tatiana, was one of the terrorized Black youth on the Fruitvale BART platform on Jan. 1, 2009. He leaves behind two young sons.

Young African American brother Johntue was unarmed and killed in cold blood at a Hayward gas station at around 5:35 p.m., when “someone” walked up to his car and fired several times at him. His assailant has not been identified or located yet. Hayward police Lt. Roger Keener told the Chronicle that police do not believe this was a random act.

Another young Black brother bites the dust – coincidence or cause and effect?

A year ago, Johntue had filed a $5 million federal lawsuit on the basis of his mistreatment by BART Officer Marysol Domenici, who hurled a racial slur at him and touched a taser to his face seconds before Johannes Mehserle shot an unarmed, handcuffed Oscar Grant, who lay on his stomach, pleading for his life.

That lawsuit is still pending, but the litigant is now dead.

This case is tragically reminiscent of the fate of two Bayview Hunters Point Black plaintiffs who were shot during their pending federal lawsuits against the SFPD:

1) Tyrelle Taylor, one of the kids brutalized by SFPD on Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2002 on Kiska Road in Hunters Point, was 14 years old when an officer was caught on tape telling Sue McAllister, mother of one of the brutalized children, “As long as you people are here, we will act like this!”

Tyrelle had filed a federal lawsuit against SFPD. Three years later, he was “coincidentally” re-criminalized and shot in the back five times by San Francisco police officers. Tyrelle miraculously survived the assassination attempt.

For more information, refer to the yahoogroup that the Idriss Stelley Foundation has been maintaining for young Tyrelle since the SFPD shot him.

2) Marcus Law, who was also 14, was shot dead in a drive-by shooting in 2006, three years after his brutal assault by SFPD, at the very street corner where the first assault was perpetrated against him by the racist thugs in blue.

A couple of Black youths who witnessed the shooting flagged a patrol car and cried out: “Hurry up! They shot him from a white van that drove off that way!” The officers glared at the youngsters and slowly drove in the opposite direction towards Third Street.

At the time of his death, his federal lawsuit was pending. For more information, see my article in Indybay about his murder.

A burning question remains: Why do African American youth end up dead during pending federal lawsuits that allege excessive police force?

Immediate thoughts after reading the terrible news

A week after my only child, Idriss Stelley, became another African American victim of a SFPD assassination on June 12, 2001, my car was followed in Bayview Hunters Point by an unmarked white Lexus when I left home after 11 p.m.

It was raining heavily but I started speeding, scared out of my wits. I kept turning quickly on the deserted streets while the Lexus remained about 50 yards behind me at all times. I finally made an abrupt turn and immediately parked inside a private garage and lay down on the front seat. The stalkers did not see me, passing by me at full speed towards Third Street.

Since then, there have been two break-ins in my home office near Candlestick Park in Bayview Hunters Point, where only my hard drives were stolen. My pitbull was drugged each time.

The contents of my freezer were spread on the kitchen floor but no valuables, other electronics, cash or credit cards were missing.

One week after that first incident, Bayview reporter Ebony Colbert’s home was invaded, her dog drugged and her hard drive stolen, just days after her “Mayor Newsom doesn’t like Black people” article was published in the San Francisco Bay View.

In December 2005, my cousin Zaida Jimenez was murdered by an “intruder,” suffering one shot to the heart at close range with a silencer.

I was in my basement and did not hear the shot but heard people screaming, so I went upstairs and found Zaida dying on the kitchen floor in the arms of one of her children.

Sweet Zaida was my age, height and skin complexion.

Police alleged that gang leader, “G-Force,” who had just been released from federal prison, came to reassert his territory but “hit the wrong house.” He was conveniently killed by SFPD two days later.

I knew G-force, who we called “the king of jerry curls.” He did not match the description of the “large Black man with dreadlocks” seen running out of my house.

I confronted former Police Chief Heather Fong about this deception and she promised to keep the murder investigation open, but the killer – a trusted source who urged me to “get the fuck out of Bayview” after the murder, whose identity I must protect – is a large, female police informant who dresses like a man with a dreadlocked wig. She is still roaming the Bayview.

Zaida’s murder remains a ‘cold case’

Since 2008, I have twice been delivered anonymous death threats at night under Idriss Stelley Foundation’s office front door: Once at our former Third Street and Palou Avenue location in Bayview Hunters Point and once at our current location, at 2940 16th St. in the Mission District.

So, is the murder of Johntue Caldwell a “gang-related crime” or a covert police assassination to shut down his pending federal lawsuit?

Johntue was a father and a son who had his life stolen from him and his dreams shattered. Pictures of young brother Johntue and messages from his grieving friends can be seen on his Facebook page.  A candlelight vigil for Jontue was hosted at 6 p.m., Friday, July 16, at the corner of West Tennyson Road and Calaroga Avenue in Hayward, Calif., where he was killed a day prior.

Mesha Monge-Irizarry, mother of Idriss Stelley, who was murdered by San Francisco police June 13, 2001, heads the Idriss Stelley Foundation, the foremost Bay Area agency dedicated to police accountability. Contact her through the foundation’s bilingual crisis line at (415) 595-8251 or through Facebook.



  1. Thank you for reporting these terrible events. Seems as though what is wrong in our community will stay that way unless we do something. The first thing is to connect the dots as the SF Bay View does here.

    George Pope
    San Mateo

  2. Ridiculous. I live near western addition – and a female friend of mine was mugged 6 months ago, and then again 2 weeks ago. Not doing anything wrong, just trying to get home (both happened around 4pm in broad daylight) both times surrounded and attacked by "African American youths". You want to hold the police force accountable, why cant you do the same for your community?

  3. When are we going to stop playing the role of victim and start owning up for the savage behavior taking place in our community by OUR OWN PEOPLE! I hold bias media, such as this one, responsible for helping to "aid and abet" the ignorance running rampant in the Bayview. I grew up on 3rd and Ingerson and am truly disgusted by the disrespectful, shameful genocidal destruction at the hands of my own damn people. Where's the "outrage" for that? I've lost countless friends and two cousins-murdered NOT by the cops-but by young brothers just like that boy in the story above. Unfortunately, I have relatives who still live in Hunters Point that I visit only on VERY SPECIAL OCCASIONS and trust me–it's not the damn Police I fear when I go there!

  4. 100% agree. This paranoid spew is irresponsible. Its easy to want to believe that there some larger conspiracy (cops on steroids) or shadowy force at work because its easier than truly trying to change the behavior of people you are close to, who you are also more likely to forgive.

    In the case of your son, if cops were about to confront me in a theater and they asked my girlfriend if I had a gun, she would not say "No. I didn't see one on him when we left the house " Because the 2nd half of that sentence introduces an element of doubt. If any individual had to go into that theater its understandable why they would be on edge. That was a bad situation made tragic. You would probably forever deny that your sun was exposed to weapons and guns, or even that he ever carried them around – and you can deny deny deny because there is no physical proof. Well you know what? There's no proof that these individuals were killed by cops either

    Cause and effect? The cause being the lawsuit against cops and the effect these individuals being murdered by cops? Well – what causes the cops to get involved in the first place? Perhaps behavior – maybe that behavior is what gets them killed.

  5. Here we go again…..Whitey gets blamed for every black murder. Hey, wasn't Oscar Grant a "great kid who never done nothin' wrong" according to his family? I guess this pimp in his gold Cadillac was doin' nothin' wrong either? Someone whacked him because of either drugs or gangs. Face it, 90% of the blacks in Cokeland and Hayward are guilty of some crime.

  6. Im so sorry for all the unfortunate events that have taken place for you, Johntue and Oscar were close friends of mine, and after reading this it really makes me wonder who is responsible for this heartless act.

    I think its sad how the media portrays them, and how people tend to judge them after reading articles. No one but the people and family who knew them really know their true character.

    Prayer and Love to you.

  7. the same thing happened to the father of deandre brunston immediately following the settlement payment to the mother of deandre brunston. deandre was shot 81x by l.a. sheriffs and the county offered the mother a settlement to avoid trial, while the brunston side (auntie keishia brunston and her brother, danny ray) refused the settlement. the weekend after the check was cut, danny ray was gunned down in front of his apartment in compton. keishia lost her nephew and brother and is subject of constant threat.

  8. My only critique is of this statement:

    "So, is the murder of Johntue Caldwell a “gang-related crime” or a covert police assassination to shut down his pending federal lawsuit?"

    Since when was "covert police assassination" in a separate category from "gang-related crime"??

    Other comments: Thanks you for sharing this article. While I agree the cause and effect is not clearly established here, I also learned to connect the dots in elementary school. The police, uniformed or otherwise, were the only gangs who ever broke into MY HOUSE while growing up. If the police don't want to investigate, there will never be sufficient evidence to bring about justice within a reasonably doubt.

  9. maybe because he was up to no good….I am waiting for your take on the Kenneth Harding shooting. Before you blame the police for randomly "executing" black people…pull the criminal history of 3 that have been in the news of late…Oscar Grant, Johntue Caldwell and Kenneth Harding. I see a pattern don't you? They aren't innocent bystanders. Why waste your time and energy on thugs.

  10. Uh-oh. Wanda Johnson better be careful. Now that she has $1.3 million, her friends and relatives from the 'hood will most likely be gunning for her, too. I'd watch my back if I were her.

  11. Who cares if these blacks are dead? They would have ended up dead or in jail before they were 30 anyways. Like one of these animals would have come up with a cure for anything, or did anything of importance. Blacks are animals, not evolved. Every black could vanish from the planet & nothing bad would occur…actually, it would be a blessing to the world. Thank God for the dirty nature of blacks, they are killing themselves off by disease & thug life. HAHAHAHAHAHA! Thank you God so much for not making me a black animal! Yeah, that's MY Jewish God!

    Keep killing those blacks, BART. So what if you have to throw in a white guy in for good measure…

  12. I thank God all the time for not making me black. What a sorry excuse for lives they lead. Do they really think anybody cares about their dead thug kids? I am happy to see the deaths of these thugs. you are right, these "great kids" always have tons & tons of arrest sheets.

    Hey Meesha (wtf?), do you cry when you think about your dead thugs? I don't, I laugh when I think about all these dead thugs. I LAUGH AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  13. Hopefully You and your whole race will soon vanish
    it will be a definite blessing to see ALL Caucasoids disappear
    from earth the galaxy may you never reach any other planet in the Universe

    So you can destroy it by doing one of YOUR Stupid experimentations
    sending satelites in the Universe and your chemtrails, your need to control the weather bunch of damn morons

  14. Your dictionary defines Troglodytes aka Cavedweller that describes YOU
    a brute, animal, gorilla, ape, pig and Barbarian-savages from Caucus MT of Georgia, Russia

    Even A-rabs call you JEWS Sons of PIgs and MONkeys LOL

  15. I think Johntue Caldwell may have been targeted by someone who thought he had received settlement money, or maybe his criminal past caught up with him (cops don't think it was random for some reason we don't know yet)? Who can say at this point ? No one knows. Although, some people will "know" based on what they want to have happened.


  16. Why isn`t there protests in the streets over this latest young man that was killed or any other victims for that matter. Not trying to stir the shit but it just seems like a commuity only cares if a young man or woman is killed by law enforcement.

  17. I wouldn't doubt that the cops may have been the perpetrators of this crime. It is likely that they are not. It's not the first time to the dance for the thugs in blue and the biggest competition for them are the thugs in the hood. So naturally neither faction wants the other to play any reindeer games and thus creates the spectacle that is violent, murderous retaliation.
    We must remember the dead cannot speak, and will never know all of the facts. I do agree that as a society we need to condemn this kind of behavior and change starts at home.
    Out of respect for the dead, please refrain from psychotic racist rhetoric. It's harmful and just plain ignorant. and yes i'm looking at you ''cephus'' and ''shine''

  18. the violence committed against your friend by "african american youths" stems from the overarching violence of white supremacy. your ignorant and moronic statement stinks of privilege and is totally racist.

  19. yeah, hide behind the internet you coward. if you said that without the anonymous veil of the internet you would get fucking castrated and chopped into pieced for good reason.

  20. I am so shocked to read this!!! I am speechless. I wonder if the killer of Oscar Grant is behind this??!


  22. Listen, reading these comments is sickening, as is many of the comments made on articles written about murders of black/minority youth in “the ‘hood” period. The fact of the matter; YES, there are black and minority youth killing each other within inner city neighborhoods for many reasons (try being a positive influence instead of complaining and being negative…pot calling the kettle black that you will make an outcry about this article but not help in any way), BUT, in NO way does it excuse police for their actions.
    I am neither siding with this article nor disagreeing with it, HOWEVER, in general, there are MANY corrupt police officers out there who take advantage of their jobs and do not follow the laws themselves. Believe it or not, they are NOT all good people. If you think for a second that it is okay for them to choose who they “serve and protect equally”, you are VERY ignorant!!! That is the oath they took and they have a code of conduct to follow. It does NOT matter if they are working in the suburbs or a high crime area. They should treat everyone the same and with the same level of respect.
    A lot of police officers DO racial profile and treat minority youth different based upon their preconceived notions (whether you’d like to believe so or not) and I have witnessed this first hand. I live in a high crime area, but, guess what? I also have a Bachelors degree and am moving forward to pursue my Masters degree…IN a human services field might I add…to assist those who people like some of you posters look down upon. Some of you just complain and do absolutely NOTHING to contribute to this world. At least this woman has set up a foundation in her son’s honor to fight for what she believes in!
    Back to my point. I am very well educated and well-spoken. Just because I live in a high crime area, I have also been profiled and talked to disrespectfully by police officers before even opening my mouth because they think they know who I am simply because of where I come from Not only do they do this with minorities; they feel as if they can speak to anyone, however they want to at times.
    So, while you ask for people to be accountable for their “community”/ “black community”…make sure you are also accountable for yourself and your “community” which is this world. As a citizen of the world and United States, I am MORE than certain you would not like corrupt individuals (like many of the politicians we have running our country) running our streets in a position of authority!!!
    Police CAN be murderers too, whether or not that is the actual case here. If they cannot “serve and protect” all of humanity equally, as they took an oath to do so, then they should just hang it up for good! Some people DO indeed play the victim/”race card”, BUT, it’s not about that. It’s about doing what’s right in this world when you recognize the wrong. Also, if you are just going to complain about what’s wrong with the world and do nothing about it, you should also just hang it up. :-)

  23. Continuing on from my previous statement; Some of you like to act like the world is made of sugar and rainbows and bigotry does NOT exist. Get it together, educate yourselves, and wake up. If you can open your mouth to complain, you can also open your mouth to make the slightest difference about what you choose to complain about. Furthermore, the media shows us what it wants to show us. There are plenty of good things that go on in my neighborhood which is considered a high crime area. The media only chooses to show the negative so that those who are outsiders only get that glimpse of our world.
    So, how about many of you do your research before you speak. You THINK you know, but, have no idea. Also, programs that are out their to help inner city youth need funding. Don’t forget that piece. I’ve always been a youth advocate worker since the age of 14, but, do things such as that receive notice? Absolutely not. Youth programs are usually amongst the first to receive major cuts. Make a donation or sponsor a lost child if you are so tired of the things that you see…or again…hang it up and stop complaining from your chair!!!!
    Children don’t ask for the families or lives they are given…hopefully they can only gain the proper guidance in life, no matter race or ethnicity. Our caucasian youth, asian youth, hispanic youth, need just as much guidance as the black youth. HELLO…wake up and do something about it!!!!

  24. funny you would mention 3rd and Ingerson,the auor of this article, yours truly, live on Ingerson & Hawes since 1997. I do not fear my community. I am sorry for the passing of your 2 cousins and friends, but I lost more people, includng my only child, to police murders, than at the hands of my own people

  25. Sobering wow….. When I asked for feedback at the end of my article, I did expected cops to chime in as they never fail to do on company budget, time and equipment, but I was not prepared for the horrid rants against Brother Cephus and Wanda Johnson and the racist insults….Take your meds, boaz….

  26. Really, Mesha? That is total horseshit, unless you want to pretend that all every unsolved murder in our community is a secret police assassination. Are you counting Johntue in your list of "police murders?"

  27. Oh wait, my mistake. The pigs didn't murder Johntue; I just read farther down the page here and now I realize that Johannes Mehserle murdered Johntue for revenge.

  28. Everyone has their opinion but really the cops assassinated him really are you all stupid the cops don't give a shit about giving out your money it's our tax money they would be giving and it's our tax money that will keep giving it back to them this fool was a criminal and his past caught up with him and he lost its a sad game some win and some lose

  29. OAKLAND: Did a little research and you live or work in Oakland you are 6 times more likely to be killed in Oakland than anywhere else, 7.5 times more likely to be robbed, twice a likely to be raped, 8 times more likely to have your car stolen and the list goes on…. nothing good in the report.

    On the US crime index rating of 1-100, OAKLAND rates a solid 3 MEANING 97% of all other towns, cities in America to play on the words used in this article are safer to live work and play in.

    Johntue was as bad as those he hung with and met his likely end as so many in that corridor do. No tears here, On the streets you die like you live ……..

    Then all that crap about Mixon in another article …makes me want to barf. He was wanted on rape, out on parole and murdered four good men to "not be brought back into the machine complex" even though the biggest mistake was letting him out in the first place., 4 OPD doing their job, who somehow chose that hell hole Oakland to work in. They should have shot Mixon another 80 times in my estimation and then thrown his tired dead carcass in the alley to be eaten by the rats. It was a shame his mother was able to procreate having that animal come from her body.

    Hayward, San Leandro, Oakland. the roads are all connected….

  30. All Cali Niggers are shit. The liberal policies of California allow you and enable to act anyway you fucking want devoid of any personal responsibility. I no longer reside in California because I was becoming more and more angry, racist, and hateful towards niggers and wetbacks and violent. I had to get out before I started killing little bitch thug niggers and wetbacks. Now I know I should have stayed, Californias MUST be cleansed and all niggers snd ALL wetbacks and their children MUST perish from this earth. Death to ALL Cali niggers! You rotten pieces of shit created by the far left California Sacramento liberals. The state where I now reside I am free to carry a gun and shoot back at any thug shitbag to defend myself and I fucking love it. Fuck California and fuck you Cali niggers forever. When the race war finally comes you and your ugly fucking nigglet babies will be doused in gasoline and set ablaze and your disgusting shit color flesh will melt before the Master Race!!!

  31. White people are the product of a disease called Leprosy. During the early years of mankind, Huemanity (people of the Hue, of colour) were the only inhabitants of the world. Due too many factors the wrong these early Black people did, scientific mistakes and arrogance resulted in the eruption of red spots filled with white pus and the outbreak of the first disease known to huemanity (mankind), leprosy. This was the cause of the past to be so violently disrupted and the emergence of the European. An antidote was found in that when the whole body had turned ‘white’ the disease to the skin was cured, but the mind could not be cured. Therefore, black people and other people of colour need to realize that when dealing with the white race or the European or one third of the whole, they are dealing with an innate disease that makes the white animal dangerous to the rest of huemanity.

  32. Leprotic Man or the European is here for a short time. While here his nature is to spread the disease of exclusiveness ie whiteness which is a physically weak but (illlusionary) mentally strong structure. Futher explanation is that his mental strength is geared, primed for death and destruction because that is the nature of disease. Disease eventually kills the host and the carrier which is itself. As in the beginning, many huemans will die as a result of the ‘diseased’ link to Huemanity. But there is a cure and it is in the mind of the Original Man, whose direct descendants are still here. MAN-KIND BEWARE…YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED

  33. The above said that leads into the current situation of People of the Hue Black, Red and Whites (once you got the link you got free will to be part of the cure) – an understanding and acceptance of reality should bring you forth into the realms of what has to be done and then you will start to find the solutions which is fun, exciting, full of life and is completely opposite of the dreams of the ‘diseased’ mind as perfectly illustrated by the last eruption of pus on this page called Kill Cali Niggers.

  34. You Black people in Amerikkka and the west are unfortunately, the sacrifice demanded by the powers that be. A careful reading of the Scriptures as oracled and then brought down to you through the diseased (latent) mind of the cunning, liars, thieves and murderers who have an inbuilt DNA trait to lie, hate and manifest. Leprotic man knowing that he faces eventual extinction intends to pass his birthright on to the rest of huemanity out of greed and jealousy. Therefore, those that have been taken out of Mother Africa and stripped of all knowledge of themselves and made to drink of the poison cup, now spreading throughout the world will be used for the utimate purpose of a sacrifice to its leader Satan who offers them an eternal life of fire if they can deliver up. Leprotic man will have to flee from the land of the Native American back to Europe. Blacks may be allowed to remain as guests or as owners along with the Native Americans. Yep good times ahead after the destruction. Those blacks that refuse to find and retain their heritage will be suckers for the destruction coming. For everyone whose names are from the beginning only now being made manifest rest assured that reality is unfolding.


  36. Black, white, asian who cares your still going to burn forever for having hate in your heart. Fortunately god forgives. I really don’t think you hate people because of their color you hate them because you’re not like them and everybody wants to be something they’re not.

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