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Six years ago, on Jan. 1, 2009, Oscar Grant III, 22, was shot and later died of bullet wounds received when Johannes Mehserle, then a BART police officer, fired his gun at point blank range into Grant’s back – after Grant and his friends had been taunted with racial epithets and assaulted by Mehserle and other BART officers on the scene, while Mehserle’s partner, Tony Pirone, held Grant down with both hands and a knee on his head and neck.
The father of Oscar Grant III, whose shocking death at the hands of a transit police officer was memorialized in the award-winning film “Fruitvale Station” was denied damages yesterday by a federal jury. The jury found that the father – who had been in prison all of his son’s life – failed to show he had a close familial relationship with his son and failed to prove the officer intentionally harmed his son for reasons “unrelated to legitimate law-enforcement objectives.”
On Sept. 8, 1985, Oscar Grant Jr. found himself in jail for a murder he did not commit and has since been held in prison for 28 years. An innocent Grant suffered for decades the dehumanizing conditions of prison and was deprived of raising his son, Oscar Grant III. His reality took a more horrifying turn on New Year’s Day 2009, when from inside prison Grant Jr. learned the news that a police officer had deliberately killed his son on a train platform in Oakland.
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.
“We’re going to JAB the City of Oakland Police Department in the ass until they do what they’re supposed to do.” – Jeralyn Blueford, Nov. 10, 2012, on the steps of Oakland Police Department headquarters. On Tuesday, Dec. 18, at 7 p.m., join Angela Davis and Alan’s parents for ‘Honoring Alan Blueford’ on what should be his 19th birthday: Laney College Theater, 900 Fallon, Oakland
Anthony “Tony” Pirone, the police officer who had his knee on Oscar Grant's back while Grant was laying on the Fruitvale BART platform in Oakland as Officer Johannes Mehserle shot and killed him, is seeking arbitration with BART to be reinstated to his previous position with the BART police. Many consider Pirone as one of the main instigators in the events leading to Grant’s murder.
On Tuesday, May 15, the bereaved family members of Alan Dwayne Blueford eloquently addressed those members of the Oakland City Council who were present, seeking justice in a case that is looking suspiciously like a criminal assassination of the 18-year-old student in his senior year at Skyline High School. He was due to graduate in June.
DeBray “Fly Benzo” Carpenter. He was busted on Oct. 18, 2011, by two of SFPD’s finest, John Norment and Joshua Fry, for (gasp!) participating in a community organized rally while playing a boom box in Mendell Plaza in the heart of Bayview Hunters Point. For speaking out against police brutality, especially the SFPD murder of Kenneth Harding last July, he was brutally arrested, tried and now is barred from Mendell Plaza by order of Judge Jerome T. Benson.
The Oakland International Film Festival is Friday-Sunday, April 6-8, at the Oakland Museum of California, 10th and Oak Street, Oakland. Visit http://www.oiff.org/2012schedule.pdf. This year’s headliner is one of the most controversial independent films ever made, “The Spook Who Sat by the Door.” Watch it again here.
Shouting “Inside, outside, we’re all on the same side” and “Here comes Oakland,” five full buses and two vans left Oakland to meet up with marchers from as far away as Portland and Seattle who had already arrived at plantation San Quentin for one of the largest anti-slavery rallies in California history.
AT&T Park shook so hard I thought I was on a pogo stick the night Barry Bonds crushed a 3-2 Mike Bacsik pitch into right center to go past the great Hank Aaron and crown himself Major League Baseball’s all-time home-run king. He circled those bases to a deafening hometown roar.
In the Bay Area, the veneer of police impunity seems to be thinning even as high-profile cases of police shooting unarmed Black men – in Oakland and nearby Vallejo – continue to occur. Guy Jarreau Jr. was shot and killed by Vallejo police Saturday, Dec. 11. Facing the officer with his hands up, “Guy didn’t have a gun,” said witnesses.
Angry and grieving family members rallied at the Fruitvale BART station to mark the 15th National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. One speaker, Norman Curry, spoke of how his mother was shot point blank by an officer who called her by name, “Anita (Gay).”
POCC Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. will be hitting Northern Cali Nov. 7-13 for the 40th anniversary of the assassination of his father, Deputy Chairman Fred Hampton of the Illinois Black Panther Party, and Defense Captain Mark Clark. Come out to support Chairman Fred, Block Report Radio and the SF Bay View - 7 events in 7 days, in Oakland, Sonoma, Stanford, Pleasant Hill, Santa Cruz, San Francisco.
The Prisoners of Conscience Committee is embarking on a six-month tour and education campaign around the planet called “You Can Kill a Revolutionary But You Can’t Kill the Revolution.” The purpose is to educate and re-inform people about the 40th anniversary of one of Black and colonized people’s “September 11ths,” the “Massacre on Monroe,” where the U.S. government by way of the Chicago Police Department assassinated 21-year-old Chairman Fred Hampton and Defense Captain Mark Clark of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, at approximately 4:35 in the morning on Dec. 4, 1969, on the West Side of Chicago.
A victory in the campaign for justice for Oscar Grant III was celebrated today after the presiding judge, Superior Court Judge C. Don Clay, concluded the preliminary hearing in the trial of Johannes Mehserle by ruling that the former BART police officer will stand trial for murder. June 18 is the date Mehserle is scheduled to appear back in court and declare his plea of guilt or innocence before the full trial begins.
The female BART officer that was on that platform even stated in her testimony that she supposedly feared for her life, and she just knew that she was going to have to shoot somebody or kill somebody that night. Those were her words in court. The judge said: "Hold up. Wait a minute, who were you going to shoot first?"
Johannes Mehserle's trial begins Monday, May 18, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Alameda County Courthouse, 12th and Oak Street, in Oakland. A strong community presence has been requested by the Oscar Grant family and allies. A teach in to prepare for the trial is Sunday, May 17, 1-4 p.m., at Humanist Hall, 390 27th St., Oakland. And wish Tatiana Grant happy birthday. She turns 5 on May 16.
Everybody out Monday, May 18, 8am-5pm, when the cop who killed Oscar Grant goes to court at 12th & Oak, Oakland, and Thursday, May 21, for Minister of Information JR Valrey's next hearing in the trumped up felony arson case from Jan. 7, when he was covering the first of three Oakland Rebellions protesting the police murder of Oscar Grant.
George Jackson said, “If terror is going to be the choice of weapons, there must be funerals on both sides ... And let the whole enemy power complex be conscious of that!” Or, as Brother Imam Malik Khaba (formerly known as Jeff Fort) put it: “Ain’t gone be no killing, without killing.”
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