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Community members and family of Sahleem Tindle, a 28-year-old father of two, killed by a BART Police officer in January, packed a BART meeting March 12 to demand that justice be served. Tindle’s family passionately protested the lack of action by BART following Tindle’s death on Jan. 3 outside the West Oakland BART Station. Tindle’s family and legal team are calling for the city of Oakland to arrest and charge the involved BART officer, Joseph Mateu, with murder.
Last week I noted that there had been a rash of police shootings all over the Bay Area and some of y’all thought I was literally seeing or making up things. Well over the Memorial Day weekend we had three people shot by Bay Area police in two days. Three police shootings in two days is a lot. Ten police shootings in six months by two police departments is a lot. One doesn’t have to look to places like Texas, St. Louis or Louisiana or other Trump-loving states to see questionable police shootings. A lot is happening right here in the Bay Area.
Relations between the OPD and the community are and have been tense for a long time. The fact that the OPD is still, after 13 years, being monitored by the federal government, with the sad reality of the current sex scandal and the slaughter of the police in Dallas and Baton Rouge – this translates into a climate of low morale, paranoia and dysfunction. All this is made clear by the overreaction of the OPD in its unjustified arrest of Omar Shakir Sunday morning.
Oscar Grant’s Uncle Bobby, aka Cephus Johnson, speaks about the recent police execution of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Phil Castile in Minneapolis. We talk about the role of new media in exposing these two cases. He also discusses Obama’s response to the police executions of Black and Brown people and his inaction. We also discuss the Dallas sniper killing a number of police officers last night in response to the rampant police terrorism plaguing the Black communities of the U.S.
March 21 marks the seventh anniversary of one of the biggest events in Oakland history and in the nation’s fight against police terror in recent times. I am talking about the police murder of Lovelle Mixon two months after the videotaped police execution of Oscar Grant. Mixon’s fearlessness, audacity and strength in the heat of battle against the police, who have been rampantly killing Black people in Oakland’s Black community with impunity for decades, created a snowball effect of frustration and courage, which, in combination with the half a dozen rebellions in downtown Oakland surrounding the Grant case, pushed the tide of popular opinion in California towards the conviction of Mehserle.
The activism in Oakland today parallels both the activism to end police brutality in Oakland in the 1940s and 1950s and the Black Panthers’ activism beginning in 1966. A new source of activism has been added today: the victims’ families. “Policing in the 21st Century: Where Do We Go from Here,” uniting police victims’ families with Black Panther Party veterans will be held Saturday, Feb. 27, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at First AME Church, 530 37th St., Oakland; it’s free and open to the public.
Local barbershop owner Derrick Jones was shot and killed by two Oakland police officers on Nov. 8, 2010. 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.
At approximately 7:30 Monday morning, the Oakland Police Department Headquarters was blockaded by protesters demanding an end to racist violence against the Black community. One person climbed the flagpole directly in front of the OPD Headquarters to fly a banner in honor of Black people murdered by police. Minutes later, a group of about 30 Black protesters occupied the space in front of the police department and called for an immediate end to the war on Black people.
A Berkeley-Oakland march protesting police violence following the murders of Mike Brown and Eric Garner ended abruptly late Wednesday night, Dec. 10, after an undercover police officer pulled a gun on protesters and arrested and assaulted the Black man who blew their cover. From the Frantz Fanon quote on several banners to the faces in the protest crowd, the march Wednesday night was largely Black and other people of color and was Black-led.
The Constitution guarantees every American the right to a fair trial and to face his or her accusers. This right has been denied to African Americans, who make up a larger and larger part of the prison population under America’s “New Jim Crow.” In the case of Kerry Baxter Sr., the California Superior Court system here in Alameda County blatantly ignored his rights.
“Fruitvale,” the award-winning movie about the last 24 hours in the life of Oscar Grant, is set to debut in mid-June in Los Angeles. I caught up with the Bay Area’s own Ryan Coogler to talk about the film. I had some questions about why this film did not include the life and death of Lovelle Mixon and would it be able to be used as a weapon against police terrorism. Read Ryan Coogler’s answers in his own words.
The Blueford family and the Justice 4 Alan Blueford coalition (JAB) held a vigil for Alan on the one-year anniversary of his murder by Oakland police officer Miguel Masso. JAB has based itself deep within the Afrikan community that birthed it and has brought together many organizations and individuals to fight for justice for Alan and to stop continued police violence.
Perhaps you’ve heard or read the name Raheim Brown Jr. He’s the 20-year-old Black man who was beaten then shot and killed by Oakland School Police Department Sgt. Bhatt. What real justification can there be for officers – who were hired to secure a school dance on a school campus – to venture from their assigned duty posts and beat, shoot and kill innocent youth?
Oakland may seem like a local anomaly with its big increase in homicides in 2011-12 and the anti-crime hysteria which now engulfs it. But Oakland is just a prime example of the intertwining of crime and criminalization under capitalism, in which the ruling class divides working people one from another and targets particular groups for victimization.
In a letter titled only “Last Resort” and addressed to “America,” Christopher Dorner makes clear his grievances, his objectives and the rationale behind his actions – a chilling declaration of war on the Los Angeles Police Department. The LAPD has long played a vanguard role in white supremacist policing in the United States.
Hundreds turned out for Oakland City Council's Public Safety Committee meeting on Jan. 15, 2013, to oppose paying $250,000 to bring “supercop” William Bratton and his "stop and frisk" and other zero tolerance police policies to Oakland. The bid for Bratton’s consult seems to be simply Oakland throwing good money after bad.
Oakland’s mayor, chief of police, and city manager announced their intentions to contract with William Bratton as a consultant to the Oakland Police Department. Oakland has become the epicenter of anti-brutality campaigns, so those who want the brutality to continue are bringing in their big guns. Join the Justice for Alan Blueford Coalition and allies on Tuesday, Jan. 15, to tell the Oakland City Council that we reject Bill Bratton and his racist, fascist policies. Meet up at 5:00 for a rally with the meeting at 5:30.
With election results in, Oakland residents sent a clear message against gang injunctions. Voting out the most strident and vocal proponent of the use of gang injunctions – Ignacio de la Fuente – and voting in injunction opponents Dan Kalb and Lynette Gibson-McElhaney in Districts 3 and 5 respectively.
A now famous quote from Ernesto Che Guevara says, “At the risk of sounding ridiculous, the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.” The legacy of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense has proven this repeatedly, even though the city in which the party was born continues to shower those who struggle within her boundaries with the most heinous disrespect.
On Oct. 12, Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan announced that 44 of his officers would face some manner of punishment for their abuse of Occupy protesters last year. Some have hailed this decision as a sign that the Oakland Police Department is finally going to start holding its officers accountable. A look at the recent decisions by Jordan and the OPD, however, dispels any such hope.