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Both the Richmond and BART Police Departments sent taser advocates to the Oct. 6 Berkeley City Council hearing, but neither is an exemplar of responsible taser use. BART Officer Johannes Mehserle claimed to have mistaken his gun for his taser after he shot and killed Black teenager Oscar Grant, and Richmond officer Kristopher Tong tasered Black teenager Andre Little in the testicles. KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to Berkeley Copwatch co-founder Andrea Pritchett about the hearing.
Mansour Id-Deen speaks wit’ The People’s Minister of Information JR about the Berkeley police stopping Black motorists at a disproportionate rate in violation of our human rights. “The disparity is unbelievable,” says Id-Deen. Blacks are stopped more and often “for no reason.” We also speak about “progressive” Congresswoman Barbara Lee securing over $2 million to hire 18 police officers in her district, which includes Berkeley and Oakland. She needs to pay “more attention to local issues and have conversations with local leaders,” Id-Deen says, to make “a better decision.”
A collective of community folks organized with the family of Asa Benjamin Sullivan recently launched a people’s investigation into the killing of Asa by San Francisco police in 2006. Asa Sullivan was killed when SFPD responded to a “well-being check” at his residence then tracked him into an attic and shot him 17 times.* Police cannot be allowed to kill people and then claim that person was responsible for his own death and call it “suicide by cop.”
Berkeley Copwatch co-founder Andrea Prichett spoke to KPFA about justice for Kayla Moore and organizing for the long haul, to make police obsolete. Berkeley Copwatch has been taking action against police violence in Berkeley since 1990. The Copwatch organizing model and investigative techniques have spread across the U.S. and elsewhere in the world. This week Berkeley Copwatch posted a list of local campaigns to create real change in Berkeley.
Along with family members of Kayla (Xavier) Moore, Berkeley Copwatch has been trying to investigate the Feb. 13, 2013, death of Kayla Moore in police custody. We are troubled to see that Berkeley police officers are not only keeping track of us and our activities with regard to Kayla’s death, they are attempting to intimidate us.
Xavier Christopher Moore died Feb. 12 during a situation we believe was instigated by the Berkeley Police Department, at her apartment on the fifth floor of 2116 Allston Way, the Gaia Building. The BPD’s press release of Feb. 13 says that they responded to “a disturbance call” at Moore’s apartment. Media reports have said this call was related to mental health.
Hundreds of Oakland residents turned out to voice their opinions about the City Council hiring William Bratton as a $250,000 a year consultant to help bring down an escalating crime rate. They accuse him of instituting “stop and frisk,” a program that they say is the blue print for racial profiling. Bratton’s background suggests there may be a lot more to be concerned about than stop and frisk.
In another step to privatize Berkeley’s 75 occupied public housing town-homes, billionaire Stephen M. Ross, CEO and founder of The Related Companies and 95 percent owner of the Miami Dolphins, is in talks with the Berkeley Housing Authority (BHA) to buy Berkeley’s occupied public housing through one of his companies.
It is a sad commentary when the management of KPFA Radio, a nonprofit dedicated to social justice in my hometown of Berkeley, Calif., calls the police on a staff member who volunteers her time, donating talent and skill to bring the mission of that organization to bear.
As I read the post about what happened to Nadra Foster, I broke out in a cold sweat and my heart started to beat faster and faster. I experienced painful flashbacks and felt that burn of tears welling up in my eyes. I knew this would happen again.