22 months after Oscar Grant: OPD ‘justifiably’ murder unarmed Black barbershop owner in East Oakland

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by The People’s Minister of Information JR

Twenty-two months after the police murdered Oscar Grant at the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland Jan. 1, 2009, local barbershop owner Derrick Jones was killed in cold blood on Nov. 8, 2010, after an allegation was made that he beat a woman in his barbershop. Without an investigation or a trial, the unarmed Derrick Jones was executed by what some are starting to call the Oakland chapter of the Blue Klux Clan, aka the police.

Hundreds marched behind this banner 30 blocks from Derrick Jones’ barber shop to the Fruitvale BART Station, where supporters of Oscar Grant and Derrick Jones, who was murdered only three days after Oscar Grant’s murderer, Johannes Mehserle, was given a slap-on-the-wrist sentence, amounting to only seven months with credit for time served and “good behavior,” rallied together against police terrorism. – Photo: Felix Barrett
Hundreds marched behind this banner 30 blocks from Derrick Jones’ barber shop to the Fruitvale BART Station, where supporters of Oscar Grant and Derrick Jones, who was murdered only three days after Oscar Grant’s murderer, Johannes Mehserle, was given a slap-on-the-wrist sentence, amounting to only seven months with credit for time served and “good behavior,” rallied together against police terrorism. – Photo: Felix Barrett

Five years later, this case is finally on the conveyor belt of cases to be heard at the federal appellate court on June 10. Attorney Ayanna L. Jenkins Toney will be arguing the case on behalf of the Derrick Jones estate. Here is what she had to say about the Derrick Jones case and the rampant police killings that are going on around the U.S. currently.

M.O.I. JR: Can you tell us what happened to Derrick Jones? When and where?

Ayanna L. Jenkins Toney: Derrick Jones was shot and killed by two Oakland police officers who had a history of excessive use of force complaints after a female flagged them down, alleging that he had just beat her inside of his barber shop, Kwik Cuts, in November of 2010. He was unarmed. He was shot at nine times with seven bullets hitting him, fatally wounding him. He died at the scene.

Outside Derrick Jones’ barber shop on Nov. 11, 2010, three days after his murder, 200 friends mourned the tragic and senseless loss of their friendly neighborhood barber who looked out for everybody. – Photo: Felix Barrett
Outside Derrick Jones’ barber shop on Nov. 11, 2010, three days after his murder, 200 friends mourned the tragic and senseless loss of their friendly neighborhood barber who looked out for everybody. – Photo: Felix Barrett

M.O.I. JR: How did the Oakland Police Department respond to an OPD officer shooting an unarmed man?

Ayanna L. Jenkins Toney: The killing was ruled justified.

M.O.I. JR: How did the media respond?

Ayanna L. Jenkins Toney: Several articles were written. Google Derrick Jones or my name or go to https://localwiki.org/oakland/Derrick_Jones. [In the Bay View, read “Derrick Jones didn’t have to die.”]

M.O.I. JR: There is an upcoming hearing where you will be arguing on behalf of the Derrick Jones estate. What is this case about?

Ayanna L. Jenkins Toney: The federal district court judge excluded key witnesses and evidence prior to trial.

M.O.I. JR: What is your opinion on all of the recent police and vigilante shootings of young unarmed Black males around the nation? Is this new? Or is it just finally finding the light of day?

Ayanna L. Jenkins Toney: In my opinion it is completely barbaric and threatens to tear apart the very fabric of our nation that depends on law and order. I do not feel that the killings are a new phenomenon at all. The African American community has been witness to this type of brutality for years. The only thing new is smart phones and social media.

M.O.I. JR: What can the community do to assist you in the Derrick Jones case?

Derrick Jones with his little daughter, Demi. She grew up at Daddy’s barber shop, where he cared for her every day while her mother worked.
Derrick Jones with his little daughter, Demi. She grew up at Daddy’s barber shop, where he cared for her every day while her mother worked.

Ayanna L. Jenkins Toney: Bring awareness. The federal appellate judges who are hearing the case on June 10 represent OUR government. Case law is the only thing that will cause the federal government to take action on the citizens’ behalf.

M.O.I. JR: On the same day as the Derrick Jones case, there is another case involving a police shooting in Las Vegas. Do you know the details in that case?

Ayanna L. Jenkins Toney: Yes, there are actually two other cases involving police shootings scheduled to be heard: one occurring in San Francisco with a homeless wheelchair bound crack addicted man who was caught on street video cameras. He was not killed but he was wounded badly.

The other, the “Vegas case,” involved a mother calling the police because her son was acting erratically and threateningly. Officers arrived and shot him instantly.

Both of the other victims had knives, although the video footage showed that the wheelchair victim actually threw his knife before the officers shot at him.

The People’s Minister of Information JR Valrey is associate editor of the Bay View, author of “Block Reportin’” and “Unfinished Business: Block Reportin’ 2” and filmmaker of “Operation Small Axe” and “Block Reportin’ 101,” available, along with many more interviews, at www.blockreportradio.com. He can be reached at blockreportradio@gmail.com.

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