Oakland police shoot Oscar Grant’s cousin


by Jorge Rivas

Oakland Police shot and seriously injured Tony Jones, 24, late Sunday. Jones’ mother says he is a cousin of Oscar Grant, whose murder by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle on New Year’s Day, 2009, sparked a movement for justice that presaged the Occupy movement.

“I talked to my son. My son said ‘Mama, the officers [are] lying. They watched me get out of the car. They watched me walk. They started speeding up and I took off running across the street and when I took off running and I heard the gun go pow, pow, pow,’” Jones’ mother, Betrina Works-Grant, told KGO. “He said he was running with his hands like this [at his sides]. The police shot at him and shot him in his back. They never said they [were] the police.”

“He said he was running with his hands like this [at his sides]. The police shot at him and shot him in his back. They never said they [were] the police,” said Jones’ mother, Betrina Works-Grant.

Jones “knows what happened to his cousin, Oscar Grant, and he is a young guy. He’s 24 years old. Maybe he wasn’t thinking properly by running, but that does not give them the right to use unreasonable force to shoot him in the back,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported, quoting Jones’ attorney, Waukeen McCoy, who said the shooting occurred at 11:45 p.m. in the 2000 block of 62nd Avenue.

According to Reuters: “McCoy characterized the Jones case police brutality, saying an unidentified woman was giving Jones a ride from his mother’s house to his girlfriend’s house when police stopped the vehicle because they suspected it of being used in another crime.

“Jones, an unemployed Oakland resident, got out of the vehicle, and police allowed the vehicle to leave the scene but followed Jones in a patrol car, McCoy said.

“‘He started running because it got to close to him,’ said McCoy. When Jones ran, a police officer shot him, said McCoy.”

“Maybe he wasn’t thinking properly by running, but that does not give them the right to use unreasonable force to shoot him in the back,” declared Jones’ attorney, Waukeen McCoy.

KGO reports: “While police have not identified Jones by name, they say a passenger with a gun ran from the vehicle and was shot by an officer. Jones’s mother and attorney deny he had a gun. …

“For several hours, attorney Waukeen McCoy says he was denied the right to meet with his client at the hospital, going so far as to take a picture of the Oakland officer he says refused entry after Jones requested to see his attorney.

“‘We believe what happened is that the Oakland Police Department is hiding the fact that they shot him in his back while he was retreating from them,’ said McCoy.”

The news comes on the heels of the San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, formerly the police chief, announcing BART police officer “acted lawfully” when he shot and killed a knife-wielding homeless man on a train platform.

“Officer (James) Crowell only fired at (Charles) Hill after recognizing an imminent threat of serious bodily injury and commanding Hill to drop the knife,” the report said, according to the Bay Citizen. “Officer Crowell fired at Hill in self-defense.”

In August 2011, Colorlines.com published a two-year long investigation that identified 16 Oakland police officers still on duty who were responsible for more than half of the department’s officer-involved shooting incidents in the past decade. These repeat shooters operate behind a wall of secrecy, built over decades and sealed with a 2006 California Supreme Court decision blocking public access to personnel records.

“The use of deadly force by a police officer is of great concern in the African American community.” – John Burris

Reuters concluded its story on Tony Jones with a statement by John Burris, attorney for Oscar Grant’s family, who confirmed the relationship between Jones and Grant and added, “The only parallel is that he was shot by a police officer, and the use of deadly force by a police officer is of great concern in the African American community.”

Jorge Rivas, multimedia editor and pop culture blogger for Colorlines.com, where this story first appeared, earned his B.A. in Raza Studies from San Francisco State University. Follow him on Twitter at @thisisjorge. Bay View staff contributed to this story with information from additional sources.



  1. just another example of the fascist police state violence against people of color! they fuckin shot him in the back! i say FUCK THE POLICE!

  2. Do real reform and help the campaign to Recall Mayor Quan, they only need 19,000 signatures total, don't complain, get out in the field and/or make donations to these referendums underway. Apathy causes the punishers to be in charge of the government.

  3. the notion that changing from one mayor to another will solve the problem is an example of parlimentarian liberal apologist discourse. the problem of racism within the pigs is endemic to the system. the only true change will come from on the ground activism. that is to say the liberal apoligist discourse will just maintain the status quo and change nothing. this discourse pretends to a radicality that in the end merely maintains things as they are and works for the powers that be. true change requires ending the authoritarian fascist system that in this case is free market capitalism. as far as not engaging in parlimentarian discourse is equivalent to apathy is again apoligist in the sense that only parlimentarian discourse will solve the problem thus excluding any action that will truly bring change whuch would have to be outside of parlimentarian discourse. thus FUCK THE POLICE!

    • Cop lover. You want to have sex with the police!

      tonyruzzapolitic and a cop, sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g

      first comes love, then comes marriage

      (take note _then_ comes fucking)

      and a baby carriage

  4. the FUCK THE POLICE! is a political statement with a radical content. turning it into the notion of fucking the police which is to say having sex with the police is merely a liberal apologist discourse meant to undermine the radical content of the phrase. thus this discourse engenders the worst tactics of the peace police . is this not some subtle attempt to aligning oneself with the police state. thus protecting and maintaining the status quo while all the while pretending to some peace love and happiness false radical discourse. how does undermining the radical content of the phrase FUCK THE POLICE! which has a history from the black panthers to the n.w.a. song FUCK THA POLICE. engender working toward any true change? the phrase is a rally cry toward true change. thus undermining the phrase is merely a liberal apologist discourse meant to stop any true change which would mean the end of free market capitalism. the liberal apologist discourse will merely engender band-aid measures it will never end poverty or the inadequacies of the system . how can band-aid measures possibly solve the problems of two billion people below the poverty line or the assault and violence perpetrated against those in sweat shops. it cannot!

  5. it's not worth even responding to Werwolf. since his reply fits into the liberal apologist discourse i describe and he or she clearly is a member of the peace polce. what he or she is saying isn't even an argument but rather a nursery rhyme at best and a joke at worst. this kind of response is a perfect example of the undermining of radical content by liberal apologist reactionaries. FUCK THE POLICE!

    • I'm not the liberal apologist. You are.

      I reject liberalism. You embrace it.

      Hence the unintentional double meaning of 'fuck the police.'

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