Fruitvale Station, Trayvon Martin and the Value of Human Life in America

This is a powerful, must read essay from Shamako Noble who is the founder & ED of Hip Hop Congress..he gives keen insight and great historical foundation in the piece.. Please take time to read it, reflect on it and share…

First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the socialists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Catholic.

Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.

~Martin Niemöller

Sword of the West Shamako Noble

Sword of the West Shamako Noble

Some people have described this as our generation’s Emmett Till moment. Still, others have simply given up hope.

This weekend marked the release of Fruitvale Station, a film created to share the story of Oscar Grant. Oscar Grant III was fatally shot on New Years Day, 2009. The shooting was caught on film via camera phone, and shared with the world at large. The outcome of this case was that the officer responsible, Johannes Mehserle, was sentenced to only two years, minus time served. He served that time hidden safely away from the rest of the inmates in the Los Angeles County Jail.

Ryan Coogler

Ryan Coogler

Creator of the film, Ryan Coogler, comments on CNN.com that he would have been the same age as Oscar Grant if he were alive today. He is 27. Oscar Grant would have been 27. Trayvon Martin would have been 18. In an interview with CNN, Ryan reflected, “What gets glossed over is that we’re human beings too, like everybody else, young African-American males. Our humanity can often be found in our relationships with the people who are closest to us, and those relations aren’t often shown in headlines and whatever types of media you see us portrayed in. I hope the people can see a little bit of themselves in the character if they sit down and watch the film, and have a little bit of insight.

“This devaluing and dehumanization has taken place in sectors of the United State’s economy and society for centuries. Many of the gains that have been made in an effort to combat this have been rolled back, while others have never been addressed at all. What is difficult for most people (white people in general as they have been without this fear for centuries) is to imagine that one day, they will be the parents in that court room. And given what we’ve learned with Edward Snowden, Guantanamo Bay, and the increasing violations of the civil liberties of ALL “American’s” across the board, having a courtroom is an assumption.  Without greater understanding of that, and the reality that one day, the parents in that court room will be white, fighting for a child having been killed by a drone,a mercenary or a National Guardsman’s and no one will care, because as we’ve seen before in history, there won’t be anyone left to do anything about it.

At the same time, as I write this, jury members who have spent weeks listening to the testimony and evidence have determined the fate of not just Zimmerman, but also of the now infamous Stand Your Ground law and once again, the entirety of race, and class relations in the United States of America. Many pundits and legal professionals who have observed the case made extreme efforts to communicate to the public that this case is not about race. One would be hard pressed to find any Black people in the United States, or people of color for that matter who could possibly agree with that.  That, would simply be contrary to the whole of our known experience. Not that it can’t happen.

Well, perhaps hundreds of years of racial tension, the reversal of Section 5 of the Voting Rights act, and countless young black deaths at the hands of law enforcement that never reached the light of day have made not seeing this travesty of justice as difficult, if not impossible.

As my brother and colleague DLabrie, artist, President of RonDavoux Records and Deputy Director of Hip Hop Congress (www.dlabrie.com) shared on his Facebook page, “This case is about race among other things! Was I born yesterday or maybe I forgot everything i ever learned about race in america JUST THIS ONCE. NAW FAM EVERYTHING in America is about RACE!! Especially with all this Black Death since the beginning…If you think this has nothing to do with race MOVE OUT of the good ol’ U S of A TODAY because you ain’t learned.

nwa original-225”When N.W.A. said “Fuck the Police,” They were speaking to a real and material history for many in America. A history that was playing out in the streets of Los Angeles among many places. It spoke to a history of law enforcement as the legal and sanctioned arm of repression and murder. “Slave Patrols,” sanctioned bodies of 3-6 (white) men assigned to capture and punish escaped slaves, were established in 1704 in South Carolina. They had badges, and were considered perfectly legal bodies of operation.

KRS-One drew the parallels between the relationship between law enforcement and communities of color when he referenced the officer/overseer connection. The reality is, that “law enforcement” has been a often deadly force to Blacks, Latinos, Native Americans, Poor people in general and those not under the protection of white supremacy. The same force that was utilized by a half-latino Zimmerman, who walked free as a result of this protection.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A572eclLc68

Hip Hop said, “Fuck the Police” during a period and in an area of the country where history has shown time and time again, that the the “law enforcement” agencies, far from being the servants and protectors of Black and Brown communities, were another force of repression, destruction and death. When songs like “Batteram” which depicted military occupation tactics in an American urban city, long before a drone program was even being considered in the public arena were released, they spoke to a reality that virtually every person of color knows, the same reality that Black mothers and fathers now struggle with sharing with their kids. The reality that they must look their child in the eyes and somehow get them to understand, “They will kill you and there will be nothing we can do about it.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cm1Li2Wbqo4

Christopher Dorner

Christopher Dorner

Looking at the LAPD and other cases, and several decades later you have Christopher Dorner, a Black police officer who took what some consider to be the wrong approach to what many consider to be the correct problem. Christopher Dorner, who was an officer himself, echoed the same sentiment that N.W.A. yelled out loud in 1988. “Fuck the Police.” And while he didn’t have the most coherent argument in the world, he said the exact same thing Ice Cube did. Cops feel like they have the authority to kill a minority. Even though today we know the term minority is outdated and inaccurate.

If we were to listen to Public Enemy who told us to “Fight the Power” around that same time period, we would know that we could not even consider that with having to deal with those who operate as the first line of defense often “occupying” and patrolling our communities, just as they did when the verdict was read. Hip Hop, as a cultural and social movement struggling to emerge as a political one, has always known this. And that’s a part of what makes it dangerous. It’s ability to tell this truth that much of America can not comprehend or fathom, and get young white folks to flip over police cars to the beat.

The interesting thing is, the very fact that there are any people out there, who think that this case is not about race, indicates that the race and class divide in America remains very real. In fact, while many find the timing of this movie and the conclusion of this case to be well timed, our friends over at Fox News have commented on how the “marketing” of this movie on the back of a high profile case can only be considered in poor taste. It’s reflective of a dynamic that has been emerging quite frequently throughout this trial.

It’s a dynamic that says very clearly that some people in America don’t have the option or the convenience to say something like, “let’s not bring race into this,” knowing that in America race is always right in the middle of it. In other words, those who are willing to make that statement are either too unaware or dishonest to have a conversation with some whom have experienced and know otherwise. Perhaps the universe does a great justice by allowing us to have a reflection on the impact of the lack of value of Black life as shown in something like Fruitvale Station as this deeply painful reality continues to play itself out in real life today.

Occupy-Wall-Street signThe emergence of Occupy Wall St. was a significant moment in American movement history. It represented an objective section of the American population who have been dispossessed by the current structure of the system. Foreclosures, student debt, layoffs, the attack on workers rights, and many other elements of a system slowly beginning to eat itself alive drew large sections of the United States middle class into a conversation that they have not seen themselves as a part of for decades.

Organizations like Move to Amend, which has swelled to well over 200,000 members since it’s inception only years ago, speak to a population who feel as though the decision around Citizens United, which gave corporations unlimited say in elections via campaign donations, is unconstitutional and contrary to the true spirit of the American Way. Struggle and controversy has most recently emerged over the U.S. Drone program and NSA spying that whistle blower Edward Snowden hipped us to. In other words, there are many sections of the country that are waking up to the reality of American life as experienced by people of color since the creation of this nation.

Occupy represents an objective movement of some parts of the country to fight against some-thing,or some-one. Maybe Wall St.. Maybe corporations. But here’s what we know. We know that the government spied on them. We know that the police peppered sprayed and whooped their ass. We know that the police, FBI, Homeland security, and various other law enforcement agencies did not hesitate to tear apart their camps, city by city, piece by piece.

Listen to our Intv w/ Malik from Occupy the Hood By Clicking the link Below

We also know that the Occupy resulted in the creation of “separate” people of color movements. Groups like Hip Hop Occupies, The All People’s Revolutionary Party, and Occupy the Hood were just a few of the groups that emerged out the process of recognizing that although the objective movement of this population could be considered a positive thing, it still was not aware of it’s own whiteness and it’s impact. The whiteness of Occupy and groups like it often prevented it from successfully fusing with the many groups, social movements and leaders who’ve been in this fight for many decades. The legacy of white supremacy, patriarchy and it’s grip on the American psyche often makes it impossible for those who are all collectively impacted by the history of capitalist and colonialist oppression to authentically and collectively come together and work towards collective, objective justice.

A brief study of history reveals to us that this was in fact intended, for many different reasons. Nelson Perry, in his book ‘The Negro National Colonial Question’, “White supremacy grew with the Anglo-American expansionism. So long as there was no real economic use for white supremacy in the U.S.N.A. or rather, in the English Colonies, it did not develop. It was only with the need to clear the Western parts of the original colonies that the concept of White Supremacy arose. With the development of chattel slavery in the South, a new rationale other than bringing the African’s here to make them Christian’s was needed; then the concept of White Supremacy slowly emerged. In practice is mainly based on color discrimination, i.e. ‘the whiter you are, the better you are.’”

One of the critiques levied at the Occupy Movement most often was that it did not consider nor reflect the experiences and challenges that have been faced in social or political movements and moments before it arose. But objectively what could not be denied was that something was amiss in America, and herein lies the problem. In the American race/class conversation, it is virtually impossible for people to be objective. And as a result, the point that the filmmaker of Fruitvale Station is trying to communicate is lost. That point, is that ALL human life is valuable. And that ALL LIFE is valuable. Period. End of discussion. It can only be in a backwards system not designed first and foremost for the respect of ANY human life, in which one has to prove beyond the “shadow of a reasonable doubt” that an unarmed 17 year old was not murdered by the older, more paranoid, armed man that is pursuing him.

poorpeopleinamericaThe racial history of the United States often shows us that the structures and socialization process of white privilege and white supremacy are not only far from gone, but are alive and well. While many of us view institutions like the KKK and Skinheads as outdated, the reality is quite the opposite. Just one visit to website’s like www.stormfront.org reveal that not only is white nationalism alive and well. It’s becoming smarter. It’s blogging, creating social networks and expanding it’s base among white workers (and those not working) as a solution for the challenges we now face as a country. As a part of the 2010 March to Fulfill the Dream, a caravan organized by the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, I traveled to cities like Selma, Mobile, Birmingham and many of the historical landmark cities of the Civil Rights movement.

I witnessed the City Council of Selma being taken over by an overt White Supremacist with the support and votes of the all Black City Council and the support of the local Chamber of Commerce. I spoke with young and old homeless folks who spoke of the Klan’s strength in local and state government, where they held judgeships, state and local positions of power, and where the family lineage of Klan power had found a way to adapt. Far from experiencing an environment where the Klan had been overcome, I was treated to a South where the Klan, or at least it’s new formation, was winning. And nobody in this country was talking about it. Or was even aware of it like that. The progressive movement was behaving as though we were really on top of it. Meanwhile, the South continued to be the South. In the era of technology and global public marketing and connectivity, it is obtuse that no one knows it is happening, and yet  that is the situation we find ourselves in.

James Baldwin

James Baldwin

Sadly, as James Baldwin once pointed out in ‘The Fire Next Time’ “As long as you think you’re white, there is no hope for you.” My understanding of why he said that was not to belittle white people, but to address the fact that both history and science teach us that technically there is no such thing. Because of this divide, corporations continue to privatizing every element of everyone’s life, “private security” who may or may not even have to use the “justice system” continue to grow, and the struggle for humanity and the rights that come with them (food, water, shelter, health care, education, etc.) continue to be lost by all,as we fight for pieces of a pie that was clearly not designed for us to all eat anyway.

History has taught us this lesson again and again, over and over. And yet, here in America, our social and cultural construction, our general commitment to the structures of white supremacy, capitalism and neocolonialism are such that smart people, reasonable people, people who are otherwise concerned with and committed to freedom, equality and justice have missed entire key sections of history and the lessons that we can learn from that history.

The underlying causes and purpose of movements have been overlooked for the simple reason that they have embraced a myth that was designed for a simple economic purpose; to separate the darker slaves from the lighter ones, to make chasing those who were running away from earlier forms of slavery, imperialism and indentured servitude easier by distinguishing those who could blend in from those who could not.

Therein lies the danger. It was never truly the case that the forces who would consider themselves the rulers and great determinants of this country and now throughout the process of globalization, the world, really cared about or valued white life any more than they did Black, Latino, Asian, Child, Woman, Student, LGBT or endangered species. Historically, it has always, and it continues to come down to who owns what, which is always a much smaller number than any particular race, religion, gender or creed.

For all of my brothers and sisters who don’t think this is about race (and it is not just white people), or who at least want to believe that they can somehow magically keep it out of the discussion, reflect on this. If it’s not about race, then that only leaves one other possibility for what this is about, which is the overall value of human life for those of us who don’t possess the power to make that determination for ourselves. Trayvon Martin, no matter what color he is, did not deserve to die. Drones are robots that don’t have to care about what color someone is. The continual protest of Obama’s Drone program, and the potential executive kill list that goes with it is a huge issue for many in United States who feel like their human rights are being infringed upon, even threatened.

Trayvon-Martin-brownStories like Trayvon Martin and Oscar Grant speak to the experience of people in America who have always had that experience, with or without drones. In fact, the Los Angeles police department, one of the most infamous law enforcement agencies in this country responded to the great migration of African American’s from the South into Southern California by hiring racist police officers from the very same places. At what point in human history will we choose to value all human life, no matter where it comes from as not only equally valuable, but beyond discussing in terms of value.

At what point will we value that life, regardless of the circumstances, “beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt.” We could debate and discuss the definition of value all day, but for the sake of this conversation I will say this. There are certain things we simply do not view in terms of value because for use these things are beyond that conversation. In other words, while we’ve been trained or conditioned to think of all things in terms of their use, cost, price, or some other form of measurement, we all know and have experienced that which exists beyond this context.

Water bottles may have a value, but water does not. Water is beyond value, because without water we simply cannot be. Air cannot have a price tag placed on it, because the ultimate cost of not having air, or having clean air is that many of us will suffer, if not simply pass on. Indeed, while it is important to think of that which we, as humans, produce in terms of value, it is not practical to think of that which is beyond our productive capacity in the same terms. And yet, that is how we’ve learned to think of ourselves. As price tags. Given what slavery has done to the collective consciousness of this country, this should come as no surprise. But that doesn’t make the cost of it any less painful.

Sometimes we refer to things as priceless. But even that assumes that the term price is the standard. Black people came into this country with a price tag on their neck-and insurance companies backing that cost-attached to the noose that could be tightened at any moment, for any reason. Hundreds of years of that, doesn’t just suddenly get reversed. Especially without sincere and consistent efforts at reconciliation.

Voter suppression signThe Voting Rights Act, however, can and does get reversed. Roe vs. Wade, however, can be. The gains of collective bargain and workers rights pretty much have been reversed. The entire concept of freedom and liberty is pretty much out the door, if that hasn’t been noticed yet. Many of us have never viewed ourselves as having enjoyed that liberty, but an immanent question remains. What does that mean for ALL of us? Not just those who are immediately and obviously impacted, but also those who, know it or not,are  in the line of fire. At least, that is what history has taught us if we are paying attention.

Our planet is not ‘valuable. Without our planet, we cannot exist, and as such no discussion of value can even take place. It’s very existence is a question of something beyond value as is the life that it produces. At least before some societal or otherwise human imposed structure says something different. History has also given us an opportunity. These things are not set in stone. Our collective decisions, the ones that we make as communities, as movements, as whole’s larger and more immoveable than individuals, can change the course of motion. What decisions, on the wake of this most heinous, and yet not unexpected tragedy, will we make next.

The reality is, that it doesn’t have to be this way. On the very same day that this verdict arrived, the family of Steve Salinas found some justice when the San Jose police department was ordered to pay 1 million dollars in restitution for his death by taser some many years ago. They were assisted by the support and leadership of the organization Silicon Valley De-Bug (www.siliconvalleydebug.com) There are organizations, like the Women’s Economic Agenda Project in Oakland (www.weap.org), that are working to tie together the struggles of workers, mothers, youth, unions, educators and all of us who are impacted by the ideology of the 1 percent, to form solutions that leave nobody behind. And there is still the unfortunate reality of Marissa Alexander, a woman that was given the mandatory minimum of firing warning shots against her abusive husband. She’s still in there. This, as 30,000 prisoners and California, and thousands of other prisoners strike against the inhumane conditions that Michelle Alexander refer’s to as, “The New Jim Crow.”

There are many collectives and individuals working towards a different vision right as we speak. What remains unknown is if we will successfully grapple with the demons of the past and the challenges of the present quickly enough to secure a brighter future for generations to come and a safer place for all of our children, today!

written by Shamako Noble

For contact:

Shamako Noble

shamako@hiphopcongress.com

408-624-2999

 Relevant Art & Culture Pieces to check out:

Kanetic Source(Ozomatli) and Rahman Jamaal examine the issue “Stand Your Ground” http://youtu.be/SHBIdPpnM8o

DLabrie short film/video “It Ain’t EZ” feat. San Quinn, Keyanna Bean, Davey D & the Def Professor, showing historical context on the struggle relevant to what’s happening now and a actual artist lead protest for Trayvon & other victims all to a Revolutionary song !! http://youtu.be/5yNUjJMP46A

Keyanna Bean “First Lady” of RonDavoux Records breaks it down real deep in this piece, “Watch out for your Neighborhood Zimmerman” https://soundcloud.com/adopefemalemc/watch-out-for-your

Pro-Dash and the Netwerx give us some insight in “The Skin I’m in.” https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F53864325

https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F53864325

Hip Hop Congress All Stars song THE VERDICT (Oscar Grant) http://dlabrie.bandcamp.com/album/the-verdict-oscar-grant-single

 More info check out:

http://hhcongress.tumblr.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shamako-Noble/152963869275?ref=hl

www.facebook.com/HHCNational

www.twitter.com/ShamakoNoble

www.twitter.com/HipHopCongress

www.twitter.com/RDVpromo

 

Fruitvale, the Movie About Oscar Grant is Powerful, Haunting and Moving

Oscar Grant FruitvaleJust saw the movie ‘Fruitvale‘ which is about Oscar Grant. It focuses on the last 24 hours of his life.. I gotta say it was a very powerful movie..I was moved to tears… Thank you film maker/ director  Ryan Coogler. Thank you Forest Whitaker. Thank you Octavia Spencer and to all the other actors and actresses etc who brought this important story to life..

This is a haunting & moving film that needed to be done..It brings out Oscar Grant’s humanity and in doing so it reminds us of the humanity for many of the others who have died needlessly at the hands of the police.. I found myself thinking about Sean Bell, Ramarley Graham, Rekia Boyd, Amadu Diallo and countless others..

For 18 long months people in the Bay Area organized, protested & gave a lot of themselves to bring about some sort of justice around Oscar Grant’s murder. In the mist of all that intense organizing Oscar became a symbol..He became the iconic picture of him smiling and wearing his skull-cap..

Oscar Grant w/ his Daughter

Oscar Grant w/ his Daughter

Fruitvale reminded us that Oscar was a father, son, a fiance and a friend. The movie shows Oscar was not perfect and at age 22 like so many was still growing and still connecting..This is important when you consider how much we’ve been dehumanized in both the news & on TV. I can easily see that for some seeing Oscar not being depicted as a stereotypes or in over simplistic one-dimensional caricature will be hard for some to accept…. Our inhumanity is so ingrained seeing ourselves outside that box will be a breath of fresh air for many of us and problematic for others.. I’m glad they broke the mold..

The movie also crystallizes how inhumane and vicious the police were that night on BART and how they behaved and lied in front of hundreds of witnesses… They not only all needed to be fired, but they also needed to be charged and carted off to jail.. It’s still astounding that for 7 days after Oscar was murdered those officers walked around free with no charges brought against them until the community erupted..The lead officer Tony Pirone was especially insidious in his behavior..He was the one who punched Grant in the face and called him a bitch ass nigger just before he was shot.. Officer Marysol Domenici who was first on the scene lied and exaggerated about the scene was fired but later reinstated.

Fruitvale will also be important to see as the Trayvon Martin trial unfolds.. Trayvon’s humanity was snuffed by vigilante George Zimmerman & scarred by media and I think as we see the humanity in Oscar shown in the big screen many will be able to draw parallels to other  situations. Again it was a powerful and necessary film..whats stands out to me is the close relationship Oscar has with both his mother and his young daughter Tatiana.. His love for her is priceless.

Lastly many have asked if the movie focused on the intense organizing and unrest that followed in the wake of Grant’s murder..The film doesn’t touch on that. It shows the last 24 hours of Grant’s life. To be honest, I’m glad Fruitvale left that part alone. There’s no way that story could be told and be done justice. My fear if the film makers had attempted to tackle that there would be important aspects left out..

Several protesters lie face down on the ground in front of of riot

Several protesters lie face down on the ground in front of riot police emulating Oscar Grant before he was shot

The Oscar Grant Movement will forever be special for the Bay Area. It was large, multicultural and involved folks from all walks of life and various political stripes with a lot of important moving parts. Many gave much of their time, effort, blood sweat and tears and managed to find ways to come together, have impact and keep the pressure on long after national media stopped reporting on this… The OGM is a story onto itself and ideally it should be one told by the community in a variety of ways, documentaries, plays, books and a movie where all those who played key roles are seriously consulted and their stories not compromised.

The movie ends in such a way that the important stories around OGM can be picked up where Fruitvale leaves off..  Once this film drops I hope those seeing it in other parts of the country reach out to not only to the Grant family members, but also Oscar friends who were on the platform with him that night, and members of the community who were involved in the organizing and allow them to fill in the gaps and give this movie additional context. Salute to the film makers this was a job well done..

-Davey D-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxUJwJfcQaQ

Explosive Report from MXGM Reveals: Every 40 hours Police in the US Kill a Black Person

Some of the families of loved ones slain by police in Northern California

This past weekend at Everett & Jones restaurant in Jack London Square, there was a gathering of more than 10 mothers and members of their family who have all lost sons, daughters and husbands to police violence over the past 2 years…It was sobering, powerful and healing. It was also shocking to see so many families and hear story after story of how they lost loved ones to police terror. We heard from the mothers of Kenneth Harding, Derick Jones, Derrick Gaines, Rahiem Brown Jr, James Rivera and Oscar Grant..all gunned down by police.

The families came together for the second anniversary of Oscar Grant Verdict Day.. This was the day that a jury in Los Angeles, handed down their controversial decision about Johannes Mehserle, the killer cop who shot an unarmed handcuffed Oscar Grant in the back at point-blank range in front of hundreds of BART subway riders in Oakland, Ca on New Years morning 2009. Millions of people all over the world saw the shocking video and just knew that Mehersle would go to jail for a long time over his egregious actions.

On July 8th 2010, the LA jury came back with a verdict of involuntary manslaughter which left thousands of people who had gathered in downtown Oakland stunned. Adding insult to injury,  the Grant verdict was overshadowed by another ‘controversial decision’ being made that day-What basketball team NBA star Lebron James would choose. Many in the national media gave their time and attention to James and the NBA while folks in Oakland and the Bay Area were left pondering the injustice that was served before them after 18 long months of organizing and jumping over legal hurdle after legal hurdle.

Many that day walked away thinking that while the verdict was unjust that hopefully police got the message and would change their ways. There would be more caution and concern exercised by police departments, not just in Oakland, but all over the country.  This weekends gathering was proof that if anything the Grant verdict emboldened police to act with reckless abandon.

Unarmed Rekia Boyd was shot in the head by a Chicago Cop

Instead of a decline in police violence we seen a marked increase. Since the Grant verdict day, we’ve seen an outrageous 680 thousand people stopped and frisked in New York with over 90% of those stops being Black and Brown men with less than 5% resulting in any weapons recovered. Stop and Frisk led to the shooting death of unarmed Ramarley Graham We’ve seen police shoot a motorist Hernendez L Dowdy in Memphis, Tn after someone falsely accused him of car jacking.  We’ve seen police in Pasadena shoot 19-year-old Kendrec McDade falsely accused of stealing a computer. We seen an officer in Chicago shoot an innocent bystander named Rekia Boyd after he mistakenly thought the man standing next to her had a gun.. We seen police in White Plains New York shoot unarmed army vet, a senior citizen named Kenneth Chamberlain Sr.. who accidently set off his medical alert pendant. The officer at the center of the killing has a sordid history of brutality and racism. .. We seen Oakland police shoot high school senior Alan Bluford in the back and then lie about the self-inflicted wound the officer suffered. He shot himself and blamed Bluford. OPD has still refused to officially identify the officer.

We could go on for days citing story after story along with the fact that in many cities all over the United States police brutality incidents and police killing civilians are on the rise..For example, in Los Angeles which was supposed to have drastically reformed their police department, we seen a huge increase in police shootings. The department tried to blame it on citizens attacking them more. That assertion has since been disputed.Whats crazy about LA is that police pushed to get the city council to support a law that will keep officers records sealed from the public.

The bottom line is this.. Police are out of control and when it comes to Black people they are even more so..Today the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement released a Report on Extrajudicial Killings …Its pretty detailed and extensive.. It shows that since Jan 1 2012 , they have documented 110 Black people being killed. That amounts to one Black person being killed by police every 40 hours.. Since the shooting death of Trayvon Martin police and shot and killed over 80 Black people..This is outrageous and unacceptable..

Here’s the official press release and links to the report..

“Report on Extrajudicial Killings of 110 Black People since January 1st, 2012.”

Every 40 hours in the United States one Black woman, man or child is killed by police, and by a smaller number of security guards and self-appointed vigilantes.  These are the startling findings of a new Report on Extrajudicial Killings of Black People released July 9, 2012.

What motivated the round-the-clock research for this new Report?  More than two years ago, on New Year’s Eve, police killed two innocent men: Oscar Grant in Oakland, Adolph Grimes in New Orleans and shot Robert Tolan in a Houston suburb. Based on research started in 2009 after those murders, we learned there were a lot more killings that had not yet been uncovered. Then, after Trayvon’s murder, there was a huge public outcry and a few headlines about more killings. More grieving families and more calls for investigation. Further research became urgent and it demonstrated that Trayvon’s death was not an isolated tragedy. Between January 1, 2012 and June 30, 2012, at least 110 Black people were killed by police and their “deputies”.

“Any one of these people killed could have been my son or your husband or daughter”, says Arlene Eisen, member of the Malcolm X Solidarity Committee and co-author of the Report.

Rosa Clemente of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement elaborates, “Nowhere is a Black woman or man safe from racial profiling, invasive policing, constant surveillance, and overriding suspicion.  All Black people – regardless of education, class, occupation, behavior or dress – are subject to the whims of the police in this epidemic of state initiated or condoned violence.”

The Report, produced by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM) and the “No More Trayvon Martins” campaign, is part of a larger effort. Kali Akuno, MXGM member and report co-author explained, “The Report shows how people of African descent remain subjected to institutionalized racist policies and procedures that arbitrarily stop, frisk, arrest, brutalize and even execute Black people. The killing will continue despite calls for investigations and lawsuits. We urge people to read this Report and join us in demanding that the Obama administration implement a National Plan of Action for Racial Justice to stop these killings and other human rights violations being committed by the government”.

To read the report visit www.mxgm.org. For information on the petition visit http://www.ushrnetwork.org/content/webform/trayvon-martin-petition.

Jasiri X

On Tuesday July 10th we will be doing a special broadcast on 94.1 fm KPFA at 8am PST.. www.kpfa.org This broadcast will include members of MXGM as well as family members who lost loved ones to police violence.. There will also be information on upcoming actions to take place around police violence. We will also be premiering a new song from Pittsburgh rapper Jasiri X called Riot which addresses the police violence and this report..

Serious Injustice from Coast to Coast: Family of Oscar Grant & Marissa Alexander

The Grant Family, Uncle Bobby, Oscar Grant’s Mother-in law and Grant’s mother Wanda Johnson

Yesterday I attended  a press conference where the family, friends and supporters Oscar Grant came to speak out about something hideous. The family, like everyone else in the Bay Area found out through local news reports that the person who murdered Oscar Grant, former BART cop Johannes Mehserle went to court to file an appeal. There’s a strong possibility, given the way things have been MIS-HANDLED in court, the walking psychopath may have his felony record expunged and be reinstated as a police officer… Yes you read that correctly..

During the press conference, Grant’s family cited the state law for victim rights which clearly notes the family was supposed to be notified of any appeal by Mehserle appeal.. The Alameda County DA Nancy E O’Malley admitted her office ‘made a mistake’ in not contacting them..That in turn enraged the Grant family and supporters even more..

‘How many mistakes are people in this justice system who are supposed to protect the people, going to make? asked Cephus ‘Uncle Bobby’ Johnson..

During his remarks he read a list of mistakes made all throughout the proceedings including the big blunder by presiding  judge Robert Perry who said he ‘made a mistake’ in giving the jury instructions hence he had to reduce key sentencing components to Mehserle’s sentencing..

You can hear the press conference at the link below

As this heart-wrenching press conference was unfolding, we got word about another grave Meanwhile in Fla a sista named Marissa Alexander just got sentenced to 20 yrs for shooting a gun at ceiling to protect herself from an abusive husband who had a restraining order and had beaten her while pregnant.. When he violated the restraining order and attempted to beat her again,Ms Alexander who legally owned a gun shot the gun into the ceiling to scare him away.. Florida where Ms Alexander is from has the infamous ‘stand your ground law‘, but it was disallowed as a defense.. Alexander was sentenced to 20 years in prison.. her three kids have not seen their mother since the incident a year ago.. Talk about injustice..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htVE9qrzyWk

Mobile Carriers are Moving to Charge per page view as Net Neutrality Vote Awaits

For the past 5 years.. we’ve been relentless about getting information out to our community about Net Neutrality. We’ve written lots of articles and posted up lots of videos on the subject. We know it’s not a sexy subject and for many its hard to understand, yet it’s the most important thing effecting Free Speech. In a nutshell, large corporate interests are on a mission to suppress the flow of information from the masses.

The topic of Net Neutrality being confusing, boring and off-putting has been deliberate. There’s lots of money.. we’re talking billions of dollars if Net Neutrality is deaded. This is why the  big telecoms like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast have spent almost a billion dollars lobbying  to get rid of it.

There’s also huge opportunity to make a small handful of anointed people and organizations gilded information gatekeepers or the beneficiaries of huge sponsorship for conventions and other projects provided they saddle up with the telecoms and use their political and social capital to make this a non issue, keep folks in the community confused or in some cases aggressively advocate.

For years one of the strongest supporters of Net Neutrality was Google.. They had promised to never be an ‘evil company’. A couple of months ago they stunned everyone when they sat down with Verizon, one of the strongest proponents of ending net neutrality.. The pair came up with a proposal to bring before the FCC in a last-minute attempt to scuttle a vote by congress on the issue.

In the proposal Google said it was important to keep Net Neutrality in place on PCs, but it was every man  or this case every company for itself in the wireless world.. They proposed getting rid of this protection.  Their proposal drew widespread criticism and set off a firestorm of protests including one that drew several hundred in front of their Mountainview Headquarters. Google insisted that their proposal would work great. Some wanted to believe.

Here we are the day before a historic vote by the FCC to decide whether or not to keep Net Neutrality and now the longer game plans of the telecoms are coming to light. They are already drawing up pricing schemes to start charging cell phone users usage by the page view and by the use of certain features  like using Youtube, Twitter or Facebook. We’ve already seen companies saying they are dropping unlimited data packages. This is why.

The argument these telecoms have put forth has been too much bandwidth is being used.. Thats BS.. What’s their seeing is all these new , faster, more efficient applications being used and the potential for a handful of companies to score big..

we encourage everyone to check out this article laying out some of the details..from Wired Magazine

Sadly deading Net Neutrality goes beyond money. It’s also about maintaining power and influence which has led companies like Google to quietly do things like create a tier system for news and information. Long time Tech columnist Zennie Abraham of Zennie62.com pointed this out a few weeks ago when he pointed out that ‘legacy’  (corporate) news outlets were pressuring telecoms and companies like Google to separate their product from blogs who were beating them to the punch in covering and uncovering many stories.

Zennie pointed out that almost overnight thousands of blogs not only lost their traffic, but revenue as Google moved to place corporate backed news operations on the front page of their search engines and blogs and other entities in a another section not readily available or known to the general public.  What’s crazy is that you cant even pull up the several columns that Zennie actually wrote on his own blog. It only shows up on outlets that picked up the story such as Seattle PI which links to this story.

Overnight you found topics that were almost exclusively driven by bloggers disappear only to see corporate back outlets take their place. So take a topic like ‘Oscar Grant‘. You look up his name in Google News and all you see are the mainstream media who was the subject of harsh criticism and even protests by community members for with holding crucial information, demonizing Oscar, being embedded with the police during protests and in recent days being a cheerleader for Johannes Mehserle, the former cop convicted of killing Grant. Almost overnight we no longer saw in Google search engines outlets like Indy Bay which was by far the most popular go to place for Grant information.

The Final Call which covered this extensively disappeared. My two sites disappeared as well as Youth Radio, Oakland Local, Oakland Seen, Block Report, Black Hour and about half-dozen other sites that were doing round the clock coverage.  What get eliminated from the discussion is the investigative work by these independent journalist that discovered Mehserle’s violent past which was pretty much ignored by Mainstream Outlets. What was missing were the stories of innocent people arrested and roughed up by police  who were out during the protests and were umbrelled as rowdy destructive people..

The blogs and independent stories told the harrowing stories experienced by people like Civil Rights attorney Walter Riley and community elder who was arrested in front of his office or Joseph Anderson a journalist who was recently arrested without warning while actually on the air reporting. Those and many other stories disappeared.

Suppression and omission of information is what’s going on as we move in a direction of deading Net Neutrality. If the FCC votes to give control to these corporate giants we can expect to see this increase even more.  Today its the bloggers doing politics, but soon if not already it will be independent artists, whistleblowers and any number of folks who feel they need to get information out  but find themselves handcuffed. This is happening now.. We hope folks pay attention to tomorrows vote there’s a lot at stake.

Be the first to know. The SavetheInternet.com Coalition has set up a streaming website where you can witness the vote as it happens, beginning at 10:30 a.m. ET, Tuesday, Dec. 21:

Watch the vote on Net Neutrality:www.SavetheInternet.com/FCCmtg

Join us online to watch the vote and connect with others. We’ll be hosting an online conversation with hundreds of other Net Neutrality supporters who are working together to protect the open Internet.

Let the FCC know that we’re watching: www.SavetheInternet.com/FCCmeeting

If you plan to be in Washington on Tuesday, you can come to witness the vote in person. It’s open to the public. I will be outside the meeting with other Free Press staffers to meet with Net Neutrality supporters and pass out information. Come see us and get an “I Support Net Neutrality” sticker to wear into the meeting:

What: FCC Meeting on the open Internet
Where: Room TW-C305
445 12th Street, S.W
Washington, D.C.
When: Tuesday, Dec. 21, 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time

(If you plan to attend in person, please come early. We expect a full room.)

More than 2 million people have urged the agency to create real and lasting Net Neutrality protections. We can’t let FCC commissioners turn their backs on us and vote with Comcast and AT&T.

written by Davey D

Oscar Grant Update: Bay Area is Stunned as a Lying BART Cop is Reinstated

Marysol Domenici

Last week an officer who blatantly lied under oath was given her job back.. We’re talking about Marysol Domenici who was one of the first officers to on the scene at the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland, January 1 2009 when an unarmed Oscar Grant was shot in the back by convicted former BART cop Johannes Mehserle.

Domenici was fired after an independent investigating law firm Meyers Nave concluded she had lied about what took place the night of Grant’s murder. Domenici who had been on 15 months paid leave at the time of her firing, appealed via arbitration with the ruling she be immediately reinstated with back pay. The arbitrator, William Riker insisted that the prior investigation was flawed and that he saw no evidence that Domenici was untruthful.

Rulings like these have given people more and more reason to have little confidence in the justice system. What has taken place over the past two years around the killing of a Oscar Grant is something all of us involved with social justice issues will have to study for years to come. How can one be so meticulous in following every ‘proper’ step to seek justice only to see it thwarted at every turn?

To hear an arbitrator say that Domenici didn’t lie is beyond outrageous. Here’s a few things that are glaring.

During the preliminary hearings Domenici under oath emphatically stated that Oscar Grant had grabbed her arm. However when a video was shown it showed Grant holding on to the arm of his friend Jack Bryson.  When confronted with the video, Domenici recanted her statement.

Under oath Domenici claimed that there were 40-50 people on the BART platform, the scene was chaotic and she feared for her life.. Those were exact words-She feared for her life. However, when a video is shown.. there is NO ONE on the platform.. Where were the 50 people?  Not only that Domenici trained Black belt fighter which suggests a discipline and methodic approach toward dangerous situations, claimed she feared for her life, yet never called for back up..She also said that she would’ve used lethal force and killed somebody.

During the actual trial when Domenici took the stand she was confronted with her lies about 40-50 people being on the platform.. She tried to switch it up and say the train that was packed with passengers returning home from New year’s celebrations was ‘an extension’ of the platform. Yes, the train was packed, but no one was rowdy or jumping our confronting officers.

Domenici also claimed that Oscar friends caused his death by not co-operating. She made the claim they had struggled against her, but when questioned she noted that Grant’s friends didn’t struggle. What was crazy was Domenici had pulled out a taser and had pointed it at the heads of some of Grants friends threatening to shoot them which was not only against department protocol but also deemed unconstitutional by the 9th circuit court.

For folks in the Bay Area who have followed this case, from day one there was a call to have all the officers on that BART platform charged with crimes after Oscar Grant was murdered. While it was Johannes Mehserle who did the shooting, Domenici and her partner Tony Pirone who was also fired and now appealing, set the hostile climate that led to Grant’s death.

By deliberately exaggerating and making it sound like things were out of control, anyone the officers grabbed that night were likely to be subjected to harsh treatment. This is what happened to Grant and his friends.  Even after he was shot, he was handcuffed because the officers claimed the environment was hostile.

BART says the ruling to reinstate Domenici is out of their control. The ruling has left many in the Bay Area asking some hard questions: 1-How could Marysol Domenici be reinstated in the face of all her wrong doings? 2-Why has she not been charged with perjury? By all accounts she lied on the stands. Her sworn accounts do not coincide with what was shown on videos? They also change from the preliminary trial to the trial?  Why hasn’t Alameda DA Nancy O’Malley hit Domenici with perjury charges?  The statute of limitations have not run out? If not O’Malley should this question be brought to the feet of California’s new Attorney General Kamala Harris?

Many are vowing to keep pushing in the upcoming New Year. Thus far two years have hard work have been stomped on by a far right conservative judges, Robert Perry and now this arbitrator who says he found nothing untruthful. All one has to do is read her statements, look at the video and can see it clearly. It’s clear for some the admission that cops could do something so egregious is unfathomable and thus even in the face of something this glaring, they give the police benefit of the doubt. That has got to change in the New Year.

-Davey D-

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

 

 

Police Files Reveal FBI, Homeland Security & Secret Service Heavily Monitored Oscar Grant Protests

Below is a story about the huge amounts of surveillance that going on during the Oscar Grant protests.Some might say we shouldn’t be surprised about the strong presence of FBI, Homeland Security etc at Oscar Grant protests over the past couple of years.. That’s being a bit dismissive. The word is not surprised, but we should be concerned and be asking alot of questions. We should also note all this surveillance is connected to something much larger. Is this part of the ongoing efforts to monitor any sort of political protestor.  On many levels the US in terms of suppression has become like some of the very countries we often criticize and have even fought in an effort to bring Democracy and openness.

Many of us were well aware there were police informants and undercover officers who were embedding themselves in the Oscar Grant Movement. The very first rallies had folks who were riding for the police. Most folks who have long organized knew to expect that and on many levels worked hard to find various ways to counter and eventually a couple of the informants were identified and publicly outed.

However, with the Feds doing all this surveillance says something else. Why monitor protestors vs investigating the police who killed Oscar Grant?

There was no denying with the thousands who showed up at marches, rallies townhalls that police brutality had struck a chord in various communities. Black, Asian, Latino, whites.. When you have that many people come together and express outrage, one would think this should set of alarm bells and lead the Feds to ask themselves;  ‘What’s  going on with police in the Bay Area that so many people are out protesting’?  Are there any discernible patterns of police wrong doing? ‘Is there any sort of coverup or collusion going on?’ For starters we can look at all the potentially damaging material that convicted officer Johannes Mehserle was allowed to keep covered up thanks to the police man’s bill of rights.

People seemed to forget that an unarmed man was shot in front of hundreds of people while he lay face down on a subway platform restrained. Moments before being shot he was called a ‘bitch ass nigger‘ by an officer who was later fired when it was discovered that he and his partner had lied and covered parts of the incident.. Were the Feds investigating and monitoring that? How widespread was the coverup.. We do know that there was a police agency NOBLE that investigated and concluded there was negligence on the way BART handled things and recommended sweeping changes.. Shouldn’t the FEDS have been concerned about that verses protestors?

It’s also interesting to note that the focus seemed to be concerns about property damage. Not to justify broken windows, but all of us have been to Big Game events where Cal plays Stanford and stores have been ransacked and windows busted damn near every other year.. Have the feds been investigating that?

Judge Robert Perry

The conduct of Judge Robert Perry who is now the subject of a recall needs to be investigated. Here’s a judge who has a long history of covering for the police. Here’s a judge that told the family during sentencing that they should be happy the Barack Obama is in office. He intimated that Obama was an indication we progressed beyond race..

Again the feds are investigating things on our behalf and with our tax dollars. Most of us would like to see those tax dollars used to investigate the reason our justice system is broken and whats it gonna take to fix it.

-Davey D-

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Police files reveal Federal interest in Oscar Grant protests, “Anarchists”

December 15, 2010 | 9:29 AM | By Ali Winston

http://informant.kalwnews.org/2010/12/police-documents-reveal-federal-interest-in-oscar-grant-protests-anarchists/

Documents recently obtained by The Informant reveal the significant involvement of state and federal law enforcement in monitoring the various Oscar Grant protests in Oakland over the past two years.

According to internal Oakland Police Department documents about the July 8th protests that followed Johannes Mehserle’s involuntary manslaughter conviction, agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency, United States Secret Service, and the California Department of Justice were assigned to monitor crowd activities.

Thirty-three federal, state and local officers were assigned to video details posted in buildings surrounding Frank Ogawa Plaza and throughout the crowd of several hundred demonstrators. Among them were personnel from the Secret Service, the state Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, and Bureau of Intelligence and Investigation who took video of the protest. Some DEA and Oakland Police officers recorded the protest, while others dressed in plainclothes provided intelligence from within the crowd to OPD’s Emergency Operations Command Center at 1605 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

The documents indicate FBI involvement in monitoring the Oscar Grant protests as early as January 2009. A police report included in the case file of Holly Noll, a 24-year-old activist who plead no contest to charges of assaulting a police officer, shows the FBI was providing intelligence to OPD on the movements of “black bloc” anarchists in Downtown Oakland on the night of January 14, 2009, when the latest of several protests agitating for Johannes Mehserle’s arrest erupted into property destruction and clashes with police.

Oakland Police Officer Scott Seder’s report from that night indicates specific FBI interest in “anarchists.” The report reads as follows:

“OPD [Oakland Police Department] radio announced a communications order stating the FBI advised groups of anarchists, described as MW [male, white], 17-25 years old, wearing black and red clothing, were en route to the protest and planned to commit acts of violence and vandalism adjacent to the main demonstration.”

Jose Luis Fuentes, an attorney at Siegel & Yee, the law firm that is defending those arrested in the July 8th protests, believes the involvement of state and federal agencies in intelligence-gathering is part of a larger effort to scrutinize political protest. “They’re trying to build a case against ‘black blocs’ or anarchists as domestic terrorism,” said Fuentes. “The federal government wants to know who’s protesting. They’re documenting who the agitators are — This is all COINTELPRO resurfacing.”

The Counter Intelligence Program, or COINTELPRO, was an extensive federal operation that ran from the 1950s through the 1970s that monitored political activists, sometime using law enforcement to harass and discredit everyone from the National Association of Colored People to the Ku Klux Klan, who federal authorities considered dangerous.

But law enforcement personnel who worked the Oscar Grant protests say federal involvement had nothing to do with a political ideology and everything to do with keeping civilians and critical infrastructure sites safe and preventing disorder.

Oakland Police Captain David Downing, who was in charge of “Operation Verdict,” the police response to the July 8th post-verdict protests, says the handful of federal agents were nothing more than extra eyes among the several hundred law enforcement officers working on July 8th.

“Their only job was to be out there and videotape, be observers and feed information,” said Downing, who was in charge of Operation Verdict. The DEA, California DOJ and Secret Services agents were a fraction of the several hundreds of law enforcement agents from across Northern California who took part in Operation Verdict.

Much like several police departments provided officers to assist with crowd control, the state and federal agencies brought their investigative capacities to the table, as well as equipment. The FBI and DEA both offered helicopters for air support.

Documents indicate that anarchists were on everyone’s mind.

In a running police log from the July 8 protests and in emails exchanged between OPD command staff in the days prior, there is extensive mention of potential acts of property destruction and violence by “anarchists.” The log was later forwarded to the Department of Homeland Security’s National Operations Center. “They were interested in the event,” said Captain Downing.

During previous protests about the Oscar Grant case, media reports focused on property destruction allegedly perpetrated by “black bloc” anarchists.

“They’re a concern,” said Captain Downing of the Oakland Police. “They don’t really care about the cause other than using the mask of a large mob to engage in property damage.”

Defense attorney Jose Luis Fuentes remains convinced the intelligence gathered during Operation Verdict was part of a broader effort to intimidate political protest. The subtext is that, “If you’re going to protest and violate any law, we might prosecute you federally,” Fuentes said.

A November 16th primer on “Anarchist Extremism” on the FBI’s website describes the Bureau’s general policy on anarchists:

“Currently, much of the criminal activities of anarchist extremists fall under local jurisdiction, so they’re investigated by local police. If asked by police, the Bureau can assist. But we have a heavy presence at a major national or international events generating significant media coverage—that’s when the threat from anarchist extremists, as well as others who are up to no good, dramatically increases.”

According to an OPD investigative log, the FBI explored the possibility of charging some of the July Oscar Grant protesters federally.

FBI Special Agent Russell Romero contacted OPD on July 21 to set up a meeting about the July 8th incident. On July 27, Agents Russell Romero and Kari McInturf met with OPD investigators “to see if Federal charges can be brought.” Romero and McInturf obtained a list of all the July 8th arrestees and their charges from OPD. To date, no federal charges have been filed.

A Tale of Two Threats: Who Do the Police Let Live When Danger is Present?

Yesterday something strange and quite frightening took place in the San Francisco Bay Area. A distraught 51-year-old man named Craig Carlos-Valentino hoped in his SUV during the height of rush hour and drove from Antioch to the middle of the Bay Bridge which is one of most traveled spans in the country.  Accompanying him was his 16 year daughter.

Carlos-Valentino stopped his car mid-span and  called local news station KCBS where he announced that his car was wired with explosives and he had a gun. he then followed up his call to the police where he announced the same thing. Needless to say local authorities went nuts. They stopped traffic, alerted the bomb squad, the free way entrances were closed. People upon hearing this man had a bomb started turning around on the freeway and headed back toward Oakland. Local programming was interrupted  and everyone was on edge. We had a man on the Bay Bridge who was ready to blow things up.

Everyone was on edge because they remembered an angry man White supremacist named Byron Williams who back in July was stopped by police on the 580 freeway leading to the Bay Bridge. He was stopped by police for some sort of traffic violation and came out with guns blazing. Williams had on full body armor and had an arsenal fit for a small army. When all was said and done, Williams shot 3 officers and left the freeway strewn with bullets. Williams was on his way to San Francisco to kill liberal workers at the Tides Foundation.

Craig Carlos-Valentino

With respect to Carlos-Valentino and his bomb threat, everyone was on alert. There was a stand-off on the bridge during which this man tossed his gun, allowed his daughter to run off to the arms of police who were near by.  He threatened to commit suicide  and was talked off the ledge of the bridge, the whole time folks had no idea about his car. Did it or did it not have explosives?

Eventually Carlos-Valentino was taken into custody. We later learned this man was upset because his wife was cheating on him and was gearing up to leave him.

This man causes massive traffic jams and got all sorts of law enforcement involved to make sure he wasn’t a domestic terrorist. Later the police explained his ordeal and Mr Carlos-Valentino will live to see another day.

The key words here  ‘He got to live’. Police used caution. They explained away a man who potentially put thousands of people’s lives in danger as someone who was not real threat, but someone who was disturbed. In other words he was humanized.  We came away feeling sorry for this man. We don’t know if  Carlos-Valentino  was abusive, cheated or did anything wrong. He was just a trouble man who issued a bomb threat.

One has to wonder why such caution is not ever afforded to any number of people who have done far far less in terms of endangering the lives of others or themselves, yet wind up being killed by police.

We can look at Amadou Diallo reaching for his wallet.. Shot 41 times. The man had no criminal record and was un-armed.

We can look at the case of Sean Bell who shot 50 times drove away from a club where he held a bachelor party. Bell was unarmed, had committed no crime, but well-trained police thought he and his passengers had reached for a gun.

We can look at  the shooting death of 7 year old Ayana Stanley Jones in Detroit. Police busted into the wrong house looking for a suspect, beat her suprised  grandmother and shot Jones.

Last month Denroy Henry a star football player at Pace University was shot after being ordered to move his car from in front of club where a fight occurred. Henry who was not involved in the altercation, bumped a police officer with his car. End result was the cop unloading his gun into the car and killing an unarmed Henry.

This list can go on and on. One has to ask the hard questions, why can’t law enforcement show the same restraint they do so many others who arguably do far worse. Hell even Byron Williams is still alive and he shot down 3 cops. Why are these unarmed men and women always being killed by police?

Derrick Jones

This past Monday police were called to the Kwik Kuts barbershop in East Oakland owned by popular 37-year-old father Derrick Jones. Police say Jones was involved in a fight with a woman at the shop, not his wife and when they approached he ran away. Jones who was unarmed was shot 8 times by two officers, one of whom shot him twice while he lay on the ground.

Police said they thought the unarmed Jones was reaching for his waistband. Eye witnesses vehemently dispute the tale. Jones had his hands in the air and was shot by cops who many feel had a vendetta out for him.

According to neighborhood folks, Oakland cops never forgot or forgave the way Jones and his family stood up to police for their brutality and misconduct when he was 16 years old and was accused of stealing his own bike.  Disbelieving cops assaulted him and his 19-year-old sister . The family fought back and got two of the officers involved fired.

Over the years Jones was frequently stopped and harassed by police and so were many of his neighbors. As one shop owner who wished to remain anonymous explained, ‘Any excuse to smash on folks near the barbershop was used’.  Monday’s altercation was no different. This time the shooting death of yet another unarmed Black man in Oakland came on the heels of killer cop Johannes Mehserle receiving a super light 2 year sentenced for the murder of unarmed Oscar Grant.

We are posting up audio from the rally for Justice for Derrick Jones which took place in front of his barbershop yesterday. Folks need to check out what’s being said to get a full understanding of who he was, what his family did here in Oakland and how this relates to the injustice experienced by Oscar Grant’s family.

Here in pt1 Derrick Jones’ friend speaks about what happened after he got shot by Oakland police and the how witnesses are being intimidated by the police. Also Oscar Grant’s Uncle Bobby speaks and talks about what took place in the courtroom during sentencing. He reminds people what its gonna take to bring about justice and how the shooting of unarmed Derrick Jones and unarmed Oscar Grant are connected.

Minister Keith & Uncle Bobby

We finish off with some enlightening remarks from Yvette of BAMN who runs down what this case is about and why it appears to be some sort of vigilante killing. Jones was targeted by OPD

http://www.swift.fm/mrdaveyd/song/77329/

In pt 2 Minister Keith of the Nation of Islam gives a passionate speech about the legacy of ‘unarmed Black men’ being shot.  He also gives details as to how these shootings are supposed to be investigated. He calls out the DA Nancy Omally

http://www.swift.fm/mrdaveyd/song/77334/

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

What Part of Unarmed Black Man Doesn’t OPD Understand? Rip Derrick Jones

**Update**

Today we spoke with lawyer John Burris about this latest shooting on Hard Knock Radio. He gives us some keen insight-Peep the interview here: http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/65266

We also found out that Derricks family has deep ties into oakland and have long stood up to the police for egregious behavior. A few years ago their activism led to two officers being fired. Was this one of the reasons derrick ran and was ultimately shot?  Check Yahho group
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Justice4DerricJones

***There will be a March today Thurs 11 2010 starting at 3pm ****

March begins on Bancroft and Seminary near Derrick Jones’ Barbershop and will end at the Fruitvale BART station.

http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/11/10/18663891.php

So after a thousand police in full riot gear mass arrest 150 people in a Oakland neighborhood because someone ‘threw a rock’ prompting them to declared the entire block a crime scene, the police went and shot an unarmed man… Read the accounts below.. Also for up to date info on Oscar Grant as well as this case check out IndyBay.org

Another Unarmed Black Brother, Derrick Jones, 37, a loved Oakland barbershop owner and father of an infant girl,
met a violent death on Monday night, Nov.8, 2010, shot and killed by OPD (2 white officers involved), while “fleeing”, after they “thought” they saw a metallic object in his hand.

WHAT PART OF KILLED_UNARMED_BLACK_MAN = MURDER DOESN’T OPD UNDERSTAND ?
R.I.P. BROTHER DERRICK JONES. AGAIN.by mesha Monge-Irizarry, Idriss Stelley FoundationNov 9th 2010

http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/11/09/18663755.php

Popular barbershop ownerand father 36 year old Derrick Jones was gunned down by Oakland police who thought he had a weapon..

Another Unarmed Black Brother, Derrick Jones, 37, a loved Oakland barbershop owner and father of an infant girl, met a violent death on Monday night, Nov.8, 2010, shot and killed by OPD (2 white officers involved), while “fleeing”, after they “thought” they saw a metallic object in his hand.

This OPD homicide occured only THREE days after Judge Perry sentenced the killer of Oscar Grant III, Johannes Mehserle, to 2 yrs in jail (less double credit for 146 days of time served = 292 days for “good behavior”), for “Unvoluntary Manslaughter”.

This is the third OPD officers involved Homicide of People of Color in 2010.
Derrick Jones’ grieving family has retained the services of John Burris, Oscar Grant’s Family attorney.

“THIS INCIDENT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE CASE OF OSCAR GRANT” (?!?)

Today Tuesday, I caught the end of a Channel 7 talk show,
during which an complacent African American conservative anchor contends:

“By the way, it is my belief that Oscar Grant shooting was ACCIDENTAL”, and interviews a former OPD white officer and current prosecutor who exhorts the public not to jump to racially biased policing conclusion:
“This incident has nothing to do with the case of Oscar Grant. Grant’s killing was unvoluntary, while yesterday shooting was voluntary. You must understand that officers have to make split-second decisions when they have a reasonable belief that a suspect is armed and dangerous, and constitutes a life and death threat against themselves or others. Please you have to understand that it is the scariest scenario in an officer’s life”.

THE DAY AFTER THE SHOOTING, OPD’s OFFICIAL VERSION OF THE KILLING KEEPS CHANGING.

The Corporate press trickles cautious tidbits of information throughout the day.
At first, the race of the dead Brother and of the shooting officers is hidden from the public.
OPD spokesperson reluctantly admits that Jones was UNARMED, and that a “confrontation” occurred.
…Note the constrained terminology ?
Police initial communiques usually emphasize:
“Suspect lunged at the officers who feared for their lives”
or “Suspect pulled out a gun, knife” etc.,
or “Suspect turned around and repeatedly screamed C’mon-M…-F…rs -Go-Ahead- ‘n-Kill-me”
or “Suspect made a sudden furtive move”.

Apparently there has been no physical confrontation in Jones’ case.
Throughout Tuesday, the official party line keeps changing, from “confrontation”,
to “appeared to reach for his waist band”…
to “officer thought they saw a metallic object in the suspect’s hand”.

THE HITLIST ON OAKTOWN’ CONTEMPORARY PLANTATION CONTINUES TO RAGE ON.

Remember young Brother Laronte Sturdville, 15, shot by OPD in 2007 while fleeing and attempting to pull up his sagging pants?
Luckily, the child survived after 2 weeks in intensive care, scarred for life, shot in the back of his neck while running, the bullet came out of his chin.
Or, Brother Mac Jodie Fox Woodfox, shot in the back and killed in 2008 while “fleeing” ?
all by OPD, and the hitlist on Oakland’ contemporary Plantation, the land of the-Proud-and-the-Free-OPD is endless amd continues to rage on.
(in one year, 2 months and 2 weeks, killer-cop Meherle is “eligible for release”….).

“HE IS PORTRAYED AS A MONSTER, AND HE WASN’T, THIS IS ALL SO SENSELESS”.
FAMILY SAYS MAN SHOT BY OAKLAND POLICE WAS UNARMED
“Derrick Jones was unarmed and was not reaching toward his waistband when police opened fire”

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/C/CA_OAKLAND_POLICE_SHOOTING_CAOL-?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT
(exerpts)
“Family says man shot by Oakland police was unarmed,
Loved owner of a barber shop and killed by officers during a foot chase disputed police’s account Tuesday that he appeared to be reaching toward his waistband for a weapon”…
“Family and friends of Derrick Jones, 37, called Monday’s shooting unjustified and said witnesses did not see the Oakland man make such a move. They also said Jones was unarmed and that police used excessive force”.
“My cousin is not the type of person to harm anybody,” said Charles Jones…”It’s outrageous for somebody to just kill him like that.”
Police have declined to say how many times Derrick Jones was shot or whether a weapon was found on him, citing the ongoing investigation”…
“When officers arrived, Derrick Jones fled on foot, apparently to escape arrest for assaulting the woman Israel said”…
“But family and friends said Tuesday that Derrick Jones is being wrongly depicted as a ‘monster’ and was only trying to fend off an ex-girlfriend who came to his barbershop causing trouble”…
“the two officers repeatedly told Derrick Jones to stop and tried unsuccessfully to use a stun gun on him. He said the officers also saw Derrick Jones refuse to put up his hands, and he reached toward his waistband several times”….
“one of the officers saw a metal object in Jones’ hand, Israel said”….
“An attorney representing Jones’ family, John Burris, said Tuesday that witnesses he has spoken to said Derrick Jones was unarmed and was not reaching toward his waistband when police opened fire”
“Any time a human life is lost, the surviving family suffers the grief of that loss, so I offer my sympathies to the family of the man who lost his life last night,” Oakland Mayor Dellums said.
“Family and friends said Jones is the father of an infant girl, has been a barber for more than 20 years and has owned his barbershop for the past eight years”…
“Scott Riley, 40, another childhood friend, said Jones served about a year behind bars for carrying a gun to protect himself after he was robbed at his barbershop”…
“He’s being portrayed as a monster, and he wasn’t,” Riley said outside police headquarters. “This is all so senseless.”

WHAT PART OF KILLED_UNARMED_BLACK_MAN = MURDER
DOESN’T OPD UNDERSTAND ?
TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE, ENOUGH !!!!

Is the Mesherle verdict ensuring OPD’s license to Kill in all impunity ?
No correlation between the Murders of Derrick Jones and Oscar Grant III ?

Apparently, Civil Rights Attorney John Burris does not think so.
Neither do we….
or the 152 Oakland protesters arrested on November 5th after the public release of the Meherle’ sentence.

Mayor Ron Dellum, today, slapped together hasty damage control “condolences” to Brother Derrick Jones’ Grieving Family.

TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE, ENOUGH !!!!

PS.. while folks are reading this lets not forget this monster Johannes Mehserle who’s father is running around predicting he’ll be home by Thanksgiving

Johannes Mehserle Supporters Expect Him Home for Thanksgiving: Recall Efforts to Remove Judge Robert Perry Underway

Mehserle supporters expect him to be home in time for Thanksgiving

So it looks like killer cop Johannes Mehserle‘s father Todd is predicting his son will be home in time for Thanksgiving.. You can peep  his remarks along with the sentiments of his police and pro-police supporters on the Face Book page they set up.

http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=166852450006653&id=100000656595688

Many have been hawking the police talking point that Oscar Grant brought this death on to himself.  It’s the like they borrowed a page from the old adage ‘repeat a lie often enough and it soon becomes an indisputable truth‘.  So at the end of the day, no matter whats said, expect to hear the retort that Grant was responsible for his death. Its a PR tactic that obviously worked with Judge Robert Perry.

Whats also interesting his reading the remarks where Mehserle supporters were angry with the judge. They said he should’ve known better to bring this to trial. This underscores to me the importance of us fully knowing who sits on these benches. Obviously the Police crowd fully expect judges to ride for them.. That has got to change…

Right now folks on the Oscar Grant side are already starting the process to recall Judge Perry. many are still stunned by his hurtful remarks and light rulings this past Friday.  http://recalljudgeperry.tumblr.com/

Here is more detailed information for the steps needed to impeach a judge..

http://www.ajs.org/ethics/eth_impeachement.asp

Here’s some more footage from Oscar Grant Rally

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhMNJ10S8OA

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