70 Arrested at DOJ in St Louis Seeking Justice for Mike Brown

St Louis (08-10-15 ) During the historic march to the Department of Justice in St Louis one year after the killing of Mike Brown, faith and movement leaders read off a list of demands and attempted to deliver them to the DOJ.. Department of Homeland Security police erected barricades and blocked the entrances. Marchers attempted to get by those barriers.. Over 70 people were arrested…

March to DOJ Arrests

DOJ March St Louis

DOJ March St Louis

DOJ March St Louis Neeeeta

DOJ March St Louis Neeta arrest

DOJ March St Louis arrest

DOJ March St Louis arrest

DOJ March st louis sit

doj March riase

doj March ending

Which Side Are You On? REMIX – Rebel Diaz ft. Dead Prez and Rakaa Iriscience

Rebel Diaz

The homies from Rebel Diaz team up with dead prez and Rakaa Iriscience of Dilated Peoples to go in on their hit song Which Side Are You On? Nice intro from the Blastmaster KRS-One..

Hillary Clinton: ‘There Is Something Profoundly Wrong’ In Our Criminal Justice System

Sadly Hillary Clinton seems to be saying more about the situation and Baltimore and police terrorism in general then President Obama… Of course she’s on a mission to win our votes, so there’s no doubt she’s gonna say what she thinks we wanna hear…

The real proof will be seeing what sort of policies she actively and aggressively pushes. What we need to be paying attention to is watching to see if Clinton gets  behind policies that specifically hold police accountable. Hillary_Clinton_official_Secretary_of_State_portrait_cropSource: Hillary Clinton: ‘There Is Something Profoundly Wrong’ In Our Criminal Justice System

Everyone But Us (Sobering Thoughts on Ferguson & Racial Justice )

Lots to think about in the aftermath of the St Louis Grand Jury decision not to indict Darren Wilson.. Racial Justice scholars David J Leanord and J Love Calderon offer up some keen insight and resources to tap into..

Mike BrownThe announcement that the St. Louis Grand Jury’s decision would not indict Darren Wilson was about much more than his potential prosecution; yes, it was yet another reminder of America’s creed, where justice for African Americans remains a dream deferred and where politically, culturally, and morally black lives don’t matter.  “Police violence, a lack of due process, surveillance, presumptions of black guilt, and the absolute devaluation of black life are all everyday business in America,” notes Imani Perry. “The American criminal justice system is so rotten, perhaps it is a fools errand to ever seek justice or fairness from it.”

The stench of white supremacy renders black bodies as inherently suspect and criminal.  At every turn, white supremacy is equally about the protection and the declaration of white innocence.  The announcement was, thus, about the exoneration of Wilson, and the Ferguson police; it is ABOUT affirming the innocence of whiteness. It is about the guilt of everyone but US – yet another exoneration of white America and its rotten system.

Bob McCulloch

Bob McCulloch

The endless assault on Mike Brown’s character continued as Darren Wilson’s defense attorney masking as a prosecutor Bob McCulloch used his platform to further demonize the victim.  As with Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride, and so many others, Brown was transformed from victim to assailant.  According to McCulloch, Brown was “no angel” and therefore Darren Wilson was justified in gunning him down.   The decision not to prosecute Darren Wilson, which was clearly made long before November 24th, is not simply about the “evidence,” the “forensic science” or even the law, but a cultural refusal to see the possibility of black innocence.   As Eric Mann wrote following the George Zimmerman trial, “[d]eep in the white American psyche” rests the controlling belief and script that sees “the impossibility of black innocence.”

The efforts to deny the innocence of Brown and other black victims, in the name of preserving the innocence of the likes of Darren Wilson, of white America, and the nation as a whole is commonplace.  “State violence is always rendered invisible in a world where cops and soldiers are heroes, and what they do is always framed as “security,” protection, and self-defense. Police occupy the streets to protect and serve the citizenry from (Black) criminals out of control,” writes Robin D.G. Kelley.  “This is why, in every instance, there is an effort to depict the victim as assailant – Trayvon Martin used the sidewalk as a weapon, Mike Brown used his big body.   A lunge or a glare from a Black person can constitute an imminent threat.”  Irrespective of age, gender, sexuality, class, musical taste, profession or the absence of a belt resulting in sagging pants, black victimhood remains illegible in the dominant white imagination.

Just this week, less than 24 hours after the announcement a 12-year old black child was shot dead by a Cleveland police officer.  Playing while black. The fact that he, like thousands of white children, was holding a TOY gun is irrelevant since last we checked none of them were shot multiple times – if the toy gun is the problem, there are plenty of toy companies that deserve our outrage.

Tamir Rice

Tamir Rice

In response, the media did what it does best: criminalized and demonizes the boy and his family. Cleveland.com published a piece that seemingly justified his death since his mom was on probation.  Noting that, “Lawyer representing Tamir Rice‘s family defended boy’s mom in drug trafficking case” and that this was not her only conviction, the article makes clear that the public should feel little remorse.  In fact, the piece seemingly blames Rice for inviting his death.  According to a psychology professor quoted in the article: “Growing up in such an environment can be confusing for a young person, They could have questions about how to react in certain situations …or how to react to police depending on what their previous interactions with law enforcement have been like.” Beyond its simplicity and irrelevance, not too mention its racist trafficking in culture of poverty narratives, the endless effort to exonerate white America through criminalizing and demonizing black bodies highlights the entrenched danger in anti-black racism.

As well, we have been struck by how much of the media response & political discourse is intent on demonizing & shaming black rage. Rather than hear the anger, to examine the expressions of rage as a mirror into the pathologies of anti-black racism and the unfulfilled promises of racial justice, there has been an effort to contain and silence.  In fact, what has become commonplace within the media, and from the political establishment is to focus on “looting” and property damage as the only story.  There have been demonstrations and protests that have taken many forms, yet those are in most cases invisibilized.  Instead, it has become yet another moment to depict the black community as “criminal,” as “savage,” and as THE problem.  This requires not only ignoring the activism, the organizing, the 100 days of action, the Black Life Matters rides, and countless more, but in delegitimizing the political expressions evident in looking.  In a culture that seemingly ignores white riots as (“kids being kids” or “black Friday”) and that seeks to understand and explain white behavior, there has been little effort to hear and listen to the statements emanating from the streets of Ferguson. As Martin Luther King Jr. noted, “A riot, is the language of the unheard.”   The question is are WE listening.

John Crawford

John Crawford III

It is telling that neither the “accepted” forms of protest nor those deemed as “unproductive” or “simply criminal” have been seen or heard.  It is telling that there has been more focus on a few burned down buildings, and not the killings of Eric Garner, Ezel Ford, Kajieme Powell, Vonderitt D. Meyers, Jr., Akai Gurley, John Crawford III, Cary Ball Jr. Aura Rain Rosser, Renisha McBride and Tamir Rice.  It’s telling that President Barack Obama, Governor Jay Nixon, Fox and CNN, and countless on social media are more concerned with broken glass than shattered lives.  It’s telling that on the day the verdict was announced Marissa Alexander reached a plea deal for defending herself against abuse, just days after Rice and Gurley were killed, that on the anniversary of the killing of Sean Bell, in the aftermath of Grant, Diallo, Morrison, Martin, and so many more, the national conversation fixates on Brown’s size, allegedly stolen cigarillos and some rioting.

It is telling that Bob McCulloch spent much of his press conference to blame social media and activists for standing in the way of truth and justice.  “The 24-hours news cycle and its insatiable appetite for any and everything to talk about, following closely behind were the nonstop rumors on social media.”  Yet again, we are told that the problem isn’t anti-black racism, white supremacy, racial profiling, hyper policing within inner city communities, and implicit bias, but political correctness and misinformation fueled by social media. McCulloch, unwilling and unable to hold himself (and a racist system) accountable, turned the focus on everyone but US.  Celebrating a system as one of “rules,” “fairness” and “process” requires imagining black bodies as inherently criminal and characterizing outrage and protest as irrational. Resembling the ways that discourses around race invariably blame black America for “playing the race card” and inserting race, McCulloch and friends ability to deny the racial meaning at the core of Ferguson and deflect through scapegoating everyone else is a sobering reminder of the insidious realities of American racism.

Ferguson ProtestsIn the face of daily injustices, police violence, and a system unwilling and unable to be accountable, primarily black activists and organizers have stood up to say #enough. “Waiting for this [decision] is the ritual of black life in America: dying, grieving, fighting, demanding, mourning, mounting protests, hoping, voting, being disenfranchised, shot at and dying again,” notes Salamishah Tillet.  “Right now, I am wondering how to stop a cycle that African-Americans neither created nor condone and how far from freedom we still remain. This has not been a ritual for white America; yet another privilege, yet another reminder of how the entire system says and shows that white life matters.  Yet, White America, as a whole, has been both silence and absence

What matters in this moment, in this new verdict but very very old reality is taking a stand, raising your voice, and being in consistent, organized action. There are many different ways to get involved, and some really important grassroots organizations and campaigns who have been on the ground organizing for a very long time. We want, we need, all hands on deck folks.  Do your part, in a way that feels right to your spirit and your ideals.  Here are just some ideas to get you connected. The more that THIS conversation of racial justice becomes THE conversation we can impact the dominant narrative, create culture shifts, break down systemic / institutionalized racism, and build a new day…..we must fight, ‘til the white day is done.

Stand up for what’s right
JLove and David

See, Judge, ACT for Racial Justice:

Monday: Mass Walkout #HandsUpWalkOut -#FergusonAction is asking you and your organizations to support a mass walk out on Monday at 12:01pm—the time that Mike Brown was murdered. Folks can put their hands up as they leave their job, schools or wherever they are and gather together. Please share widely on social media using #HandsUpWalkOut.  Click here for an image to share.

The request from Ferguson is for ongoing actions at the Department of Justice and Us Attorneys Offices this week (ideally by Thursday). We are still identifying point people across the country. For more information and / or to volunteer please email: info@showingupforracialjustice.org

Identify the location and time for your action.

For US Attorneys’ offices near you, look here:  http://www.justice.gov/usao/districts/
For a list of DOJ buildings, look here: http://www.justice.gov/crs/about-crs/regional-and-field-offices 
If there is not a DOJ location in your city, please consider a location that represents the systemic issues we are trying to address. Some other locations include local police stations, city halls, and state capitol buildings. Even if your action is already planned for a different location, consider if you can march to an appropriate target.

Other Organizations, Responses, & Actions!

Showing up for Racial Justice


Which side are you on? A SURJ response to the Grand Jury In Ferguson

African Voices

Black Youth Project

Dream Defenders

Blackout for Human Rights

Ferguson Action 

Organization of Black Struggle

Black Life Matters

Ferguson Defense Fund

Youth Justice Coalition


Color of Change

Ferguson Next

About the Authors
David J Leonard is a professor in the Department of Critical Culture, Gender, and Race at Washington State University. http://drdavidjleonard.com/
JLove Calderón is a conscious media maker, social entrepreneur, author and member of SURJ. www.jlovecalderon.com

Police Terror: Cop Pimps Wife..Others Beat Man to Death..Terrorize Witnesses

Police are doing Big Pimping in Baltimore

Police are doing Big Pimping in Baltimore

Woke up this morning to news about a Baltimore police officer being arrested for pimping his wife..Yep you read that correctly, an officer sworn to uphold the law was running around pimping his wife..

According to local reports..Lamin Manneh is the officer accused of the crime.. His wife, Marissa Braun-Manneh was busted for soliciting an undercover cop working the Human trafficking division.

 Marissa Braun-Manneh gives him her money and he drives her from “date-to-date,” according to court records. She also said that he posts the online ads using his credit card. Police said Manneh acknowledged his role in an interview with detectives, records show.Elena Russo, a state police spokeswoman, said both husband and wife were charged because they appeared to be “working as a team.”Manneh, of the 2400 block of Marbourne Ave. in Baltimore, is an officer assigned to the Baltimore Police Department’s Eastern District. State police said he was suspended without pay and that the city police internal affairs would investigate.”This allegation is a disgrace and embarrassment to every member — both current and retired — who serve with the Baltimore Police Department,” Baltimore’s Deputy Police Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez said in a statement.

Kern County copsWhile all this is going on in Baltimore, 3000 miles away in Kern County California, 8 sheriff deputies beat a man to death in front of multiple people and then ran around confiscating cell phones and terrorizing those who witnesses the tragedy. Some say they fear for the lives. Others have been arrested on trumped up charges.. The video below explains the horrific beating of David Silva.

Folks should keep in mind Kern County is where sheriff deputies killed unarmed former NFL player David Lee Turner back in 2011.. A lot of horrible things go on in that part of the country with the police and courts.. If you get a ticket in Kern County there’s a good chance you may wind up going to jail… That is no joke.. Folks not only need to be warned, but a serious purging and investigation needs to take place..


If folks think this is out of the ordinary..Here’s a report of another man being beaten to death in Southern Cali.. This took place in Fullerton


Last year in Northern Cali..home of the liberal Bay Area, we had  a number of police terrorism incidents. The most notable involved Alan Bluford who was shot by a former New York City cop who had a lots of complaints on NYPD and moved to cali where those records remained hidden from the public..  He stood over Bluford and shot him as he begged for his life.. The officer than shot himself and liedd about being in a shootout.. he was busted on that lie, but never suspended and still works the beat..

Not too long afterwards we had this incident in Vallejo.. which is North of San Francisco.. They had a record 8 people killed by police last year.. Here’s one as described by the sister of the victim…

Mario Mario Romero was murdered in front of his on September 2, 2012 by Vallejo Police officer Dustin Brent Joseph as he waited for someone to open the front door, not because he was going in right away but because he was letting his brother -inlaw out of the car and was going around the corner to pick up his daughter and wife who were at her mothers. a call was placed inside of the house and one of his sisters came outside and hid on the side of the house attempting to scare them but in the moments from the phone call and her getting outside and hiding Mario’s car was illuminated with a police light and to officers hopping out of their car both beginning the sentence “put your hands up” but only one officer completing the sentence and the other firing his weapon repeatedy and at one point hopping onto the hood of Mario’s car and continuing to unload his weapon as family members and neighbors knowing the character of the men inside of the car pleaded for them to stop shooting.

Mario Romero was shot at 30+ times in his face, his mouth, his hands, his wrists, under his arm and in his chest. He was also mutilated by the knife that was used to cut him out of his seatbelt by the officer who killed him. his body was drug onto the ground and his corpse was arrested, ziptied and removed from the scene of the crime. Officers then held Mario’s family hostage in their home for hour as they shined bright lights through the windows to prevent them from seeing officers plant a gun inside of Mario’s car and steal his seatbelt.

Officers then told people who questioned what happened that it was a drive by shooting. Vallejo Police changed their stories multiple times. first saying that Mario jumped out of his car when approached by police and aimed a fake gun at them then hid behind his car door firing his weapon, the second story was that Mario got out of his car and a handgun could be seen in his waistband which caused officers to fire. The press conference held by Police chief kriens has the police chief stating that Mario pulled a fake gun on officers because he was on parole and afraid of going back to prison, however Mario Had never been to prison nor had he ever been on Parole. Mario’s Car door was broken as well as his seat belt. His seat belt was tied in a knot because he was afraid of getting a ticket and his car door had to be opened from the outside. Vallejo Corporal Stanly Eng was witnessed planting the gun inside of Mario’s car as well as stealing Mario’s seat belt before investigators arrived on the scene. Mario’s body was held and hidden for a month as an initial request for an independent Autopsy was ignored. Vallejo Police have since constantly harassed and used intimidation tactics to scare Mario’s family from demanding accountability from officials.

I hope this story is something that sparks your interest , I have met with quite a few reporters on this story, these reporters have not mentioned that high number of officer involved shooting in Vallejo nor have they mention that none of the officer involved shootings besides this one included officers reloading their guns without any return fire.

I am pleading to every outlet possible to have this story exposed, I have traveled many miles to tell this story and have learned that the police will lie on a person to make their life seem insignificant and their murder appear justified.

An Oscar Grant supporter talking to a Johannes Mehserle supporter. pt 1

An Oscar Grant supporter talking to a Johannes Mehserle supporter. pt 1

by Ner City

Yesterday Charles posted information regarding a rally in support of Johannes Mehserle in Walnut Creek (In front of the courthouse). 30 minutes later Tiana posted the facebook invite link on my page. I went into the invite and became very upset. Not only did I see that the invite had 25 people within the first 10-15 minutes RSVP’ing but there were a lot of people that had changed their avatar (Main picture) with a photo of Johannes Mehserle and written underneath was “I support Johannes Mehserle”

So, instead of bashing the people, start name calling and all that other non productive bs I decided to think outside of the box and friend request as many of the supporters that I could. Doing that I thought that I would be able to talk to them one on one. Out of the 5-6 people that I requested only one was brave enough to not only accept my friend request but also have a respectful dialog with me about her feelings on the entire Grant/Mehserle situation.

Here is that dialog. PLEASE SEE- This is not a forum to bash Kristin, though we do not agree I do give her credit for even having this dialog with me. I WILL NOT allow any ignorant post on this note. I will not only delete the post but I will also delete you from my friend’s list.

Between You and Kristin********

Kristin ********* July 13 at 4:15pm

hello…and thank you for the friend request. Yes I support Johannes Mehserle….NO I do not think Oscar Grant should have died. I believe it was a tragic accident. One that would not have happened if he had complied with the officers commands. or maybe not have happened if the police had more training…did you know it takes longer to become a barber than a cop?? Thats insane…

I truly do not believe he intended to kill or hard Mr. Grant…only to subdue him. do you really feel in your heart that Johannes wanted him dead? ner city July 13 at 4:32pm

This conversation between us is revolutionary and brave and I appreciate you accepting my request.

To answer your question “Yes”, in my heart I do believe that Johannes Mehserle wanted to shoot Oscar Grant. “Why?” you may ask. Because of the situation he was in. We both agree that the police training is a joke. We also probably agree that a police officer’s job is one of the hardest jobs in the world, who knows what ANY officer would’ve done that night on the Bart platform. But with that little training Mr. Mehserle had it still was training”. Now in the US studies have shown that there were roughly around 39 incidents where an on duty police officer accidently shot a man with his pistol instead of his taser. 38 of the 39 officers tried to save the person’s life that they accidently shot, rode either behind the ambulance or in it to the hospital with the suspect. The 1 out of the 39 that didn’t was Mr. Mehserle. Not only did Mr. Mehserle shot him, but he THEN put handcuffs on a shot man.

Now here’s a question for you, we know that Oscar Grant had a past history with resisting arrest, but did you know that Mehserle not only was kicked out of the school that voted him “Most Huggable” for slapping a Latina woman, but also had incidents before where he tased suspects who either had a weapon, or he thought they had weapons.

I honestly believe that Mehserle not only shot Grant on purpose but he also did it to impress Officer Peroni who is another story and person that should’ve been arrested with Johannes.

Kristin******* July 13 at 4:48pm

My heart is heavy that you feel this way….I truly trukly believe otherwise. I do not know why Mehserle didn’t ride in the ambulance…I do not know if his superiors would have let him. I also believe (as does my sister who has her PHD in Psycology (I can barely spell it) believe he went into a state of shock…Mehserle seemed dazed after to me.

I’m not sure why it matters that Mehserle had tased before….I did NOT know he slapped anyone. 10 years ago my nephew snapped a bra of a girl that had said something smart to him in class, the teacher saw and he was suspended for assault…Assault?? really?? they said it was sexual assualt. But of course I did know Oscar has a past history….

I can imagine with all the jaw flapping in the background and Grant resisting that the situaltion was getting chaotic….I wonder why Peroni (whom I believe has been on the force much longer)

Kristin******** July 13 at 4:51pm

did not step in and help difuse the situation. Why would Mehserle think killing somebody and shooting them in the back no less would impress ANYONE???

I just don’t think anyone would ever think that would be a move that would impress anyone….unless you lived in some scary inbreed ozarks kind of place…. ner city July 13 at 6:33pm

Kristin my heart’s been heavy over this situation for years. You say that Mehserle “went into a state of shock”, correct? Is this before or after he shot Oscar Grant? And if so then what was his state before he shot him?

Was it “Shock” that had Mehserle’s first excuse he thought Oscar was going for a gun changed to “I thought my gun was my taser”? How can you change excuses? Why would you change excuse unless the defense and Mehserle knew that the video clearly showed Oscar’s hands were not reaching for a gun which means that defense would’ve failed miserably.

It is not fair or right to give Mehserle the benefit of the doubt of snapping or going “into a state of shock” but not give those same rights to Oscar. There isn’t any proof that Oscar was one of the people fighting on the train so if a police officer pulls an innocent man off a train for no reason then might the person in “shock” is Oscar Grant? That “shock” would have some people asking “Why are you doing this?”

What about the “shock” you may be in when you have the weight of two men weighing over 250 pounds on top of you?

Now please know that I am not saying Oscar was a saint. I do not know the entire situation but what I do know is that he did not deserve to get tased while he was already held down and really didn’t deserve to be murdered.

Kristin we live in two different worlds within the same state. This is not an insult to your intelligence by any means. I “assume” that you live in a world that believes in the police & the justice system. That police believe and uphold the “Serve & Protect” slogan for their citizens. If anybody breaks the law then they have the right to use necessary force. But the thing is I live in the world where police murder black & Latino men and uses the “I thought he was going for a gun” excuse while hiding behind the ‘Blue Wall’.

Abner Louima, Amadou Diallo, Ayana Jones, Rodney King, Fred Hampton Sr. and the list goes on and on regarding police officers using excessive force and/or murdering men of color.

Kristin, Johannes Merhserle doesn’t deserve your support. What your nephew did cannot compare to what Mehserle did. Did you know that woman he slapped was a teacher? That is why he got kicked out of school, it’s because he slapped a person of authority. After years that same person becomes a police officer.

Kristin******* July 13 at 7:39pm

First of all…I don’t know that he was dazed I just thought he looked dazed…my own opinion. Also, it is my understanding that he did not change his defense…it appears in the video that Oscar is reaching for something in his pocket so Mehserle was going to grab his taser and hopefully subdue him to get the cuffs on.

Im going to give you shock for Oscar as well….but at some point don’t you comply?

I want to make this clear… I SUPPORT JOHANNES MEHSERLE..I am supporting this incident…not a “blue wall” when that happens….I will support otherwise.

Does the Dr. that prescribed Michael Jackson the meds that killed him deserve to be tried for murder? Of course I would want to hear his reasons but I assume it was out of greed..I am sure Michael was paying him top dollar to get the prescriptions he wanted. Do I think the Dr. (or Nurse) that gave the meds to Dennis quaids twins should be tried for attempted murder? well at the end of the day that was an mistake not hing was to be gained from it. Does this analgy make sense?CLearly you are intelligent and I thank you for listening to me…but I feel sadly at the end of the day we are just never going to understand where each other stands.

ner city July 14 at 8:24am


I understand the analogy that you used but honestly it really doesn’t apply here.

And since you have a photo of Johannes Mehserle on your avatar to show your support for him you really should understand/know as much as you can about this man.

These are facts that you should research-

-Mehserle got kicked out of school for slapping his teacher.

-Mehserle did not ride off to the hospital or even try to see if Oscar Grant was ok after he shot him.

– He did not offer his condolences to the family until July 4th in a letter 18 months after the fact and a few days before his verdict was coming down.

-Oscar Grant did not have a weapon.

– His taser is bright yellow and doesn’t have the same amount of safety precautions as his more heavier police pistol.

– Mehserle did change his defense from “I thought that he was reaching for a weapon” to “I thought that I grabbed my taser”.

Now, Kristin we come from and live in two different worlds we both understand that, we probably live two different lifestyles, we probably of two different colors, and maybe even different religions and political stances but there is ONE thing that we both are and that is “Human”. And as a human Kristin ask yourself, would you shot a man and not even check and see if he was alright? Would you cuff him and go on about your way? If you THOUGHT that he was going for his gun but then found out that he was unarmed wouldn’t the “Human” side of you check and see if he was alright? Would the “Human” side of you wait 18 months (just a few days before the verdict was about to be released) to apologize to the Grant family? Even if you thought that you were reaching for your taser, even if you thought he was reaching for a gun would you Kristin wait 18 months? Even if your lawyer told you? That’s not what humans do.

I would not yell “I am Oscar Grant” if I didn’t know as much as I could about this man. I would not make a mistake of supporting a person that didn’t need to be supported, but I honestly feel that you are doing that with Johannes Mehserle. You aren’t really even supporting Johannes Mehserle, more than supporting good police officers (Which I believe they’re out there), but Kristin Johannes is NOT one of the “good guys”.

Even a “Jury of his own peers” convicted him of a criminal act.

Think about it- The trial was moved out of Oakland

No African Americans were on the jury

5-6 jury members had either police officers as friends or family members

And they STILL came back with “Involuntary Manslaughter”. Which I thought was wrong he should’ve at least got manslaughter but even still they thought Johannes committed a criminal act and abused his powers and you’re STILL telling me that you support him?

You still want to have his picture on your avatar? These are the facts not hopes, not beliefs but facts Kristin. You are supporting a criminal. I don’t care if he went into “Shock” he “Snapped” whatever a jury of his peers that didn’t have any bias when convicting him. So in ways it’s an oxymoron because you believe in the justice system with Mehserle but not in the justice system convicting him. Which one is it?

Again how can you support a convicted criminal?

I would like to keep this line of communication open. I would also like for you to create a note on your facebook, tag as many of your friends that support Mehserle and post this dialog between us. Let them see the facts, I will do the same, I will not allow any of my supporters to bash, call you names and I would hope that you can do the same for me because that won’t get us anywhere, I want to promote a dialog between both sides because I too want to believe what you believe (Not in Mehserle but believe in the system) but we both need to clean house and not support injustice. Injustice like rogue cops, or injustice like rogue black men & women that looted stores or commits “Black on black crimes” in my community. Until we both start making these changes these problems will always come around. 4 more police officers will be murdered (Which I don’t support), while people like Oscar Grant will be murdered by criminals like Mehserle.

original story:http://www.facebook.com/notes/ner-city/an-oscar-grant-supporter-talking-to-a-johannes-mehserle-supporter-pt-1/404415966830

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

What can I Do… (Remember this is Bigger than Oscar Grant) by Chela Simone

What can I do?
By Chela Simone

original article:
As I watched and re-watched the footage of Oscar Grant being shot in the back on the BART platform By Officer Johannes Mehserle on Jan 1 2009. It shook me to my core, knowing that my 14-year-old cousin exits that same station everyday. Knowing that In my beautiful city of Oakland, another cop murdered yet another unarmed man. Knowing that they still “hunt” us.

Oakland California my birthplace, I spent most of my life in and out of the corridors of the Bay Area. Here in Oakland being young and black is like a golden ticket for the police harassment “rite of passage”, and depending on how you respond to this initiation will determine when you catch your first case. I felt betrayed by a system that allows this to happen and continue to happen. I felt sad for both families realizing that Mehserles’ first son was born within days of executing Oscar, I felt sorry for Oscars’ child that will never have the luxury of a fathers guidance; for the families that were, are, and will continue to be affected by Americas’ constant disregard for life. All color aside we are a species of being on a planet that is bleeding into our oceans. With that said.

What can I do?
The horrors of police terrorism are no “over active paranoia’ for the young and black in Oakland. It is real life. The Oakland Riders, were a local police gang, this is not some myth on the Internet or a story I overheard drinking expensive cocktails at some fancy bar… no, I met one of the Riders personally. A day that would change my ideas of the “Officers of these Laws’ forever.

My 16th summer, my best friends and I sat on the stoop talking about “teenage stuff”. Officer Vasquez

Officer Vasquez’s mugshot.

pulled up in front of the building in his patrol car and demanded we ” go the fuck inside”. We were both shocked and confused, the area was infamous for drug activity, but it was the middle of the afternoon and we lived in the house we sat in front of. We ignored his warning, laughing at him defiantly. He scowled at us and before he drove away he said, “I’ll get you bitches”.

At 16 I had no idea the lengths this officer would go to make us pay for not following his command. One week later my best friend walked into the corner store. Officer Vasquez followed her in and with out provocation he grabbed her arm, slammed her into the display case, cleared a counter with her face, slammed her on to the ground and arrested her for possession of crack cocaine. She to this day has never touched a crack rock, let alone sold one. The young man accompanying her to the store tried to intervene and was also arrested for possession of crack cocaine and resisting arrest. Since they were 18 they where sent to adult processing. Both of them were college students and relatively mild mannered kids with no priors or otherwise. Lucky for them, they were released and all charges were dropped. But not after spending the weekend in jail. Welcome to Oakland.

I was the one with the big mouth, I thought I knew it all, I could quote laws and championed myself savvy when it came to knowing my rights. That would be until the day Vasquez pulled up next to me while I walked home from school alone. I panicked when he told me to “get in the fucking car”. Should I run? from a cop that had just beat and arrested two of my friends for sitting on the porch?

After Vasquez explained to me that he could, “fuck me, kill me and leave me in a dumpster, and no one would ever know”. His message became very clear to me. He was the boss. I never called the police, I never told my mother, I told a few friends in passing but it was only swallowed by the hum of all the other stories. Besides who would believe us anyway? We were just young black kids from Oakland.

Fast forward to 2004. Watching the evening news and I see his face, on my TV. My hands began to sweat I feel the same panic that I had felt years before. I rush to the phone to call my best friend. She cannot remember his face but she can remember his name. The once tyrannical Rider, Officer Vasquez was now a fugitive. “Breaking News” to those that do not frequent the inner city boundaries. But to me and at least 119 of the individual victims of The Riders, who were falsely arrested, had drugs planted on them, were subjected to excessive force, or went to jail/prison for as many as 5 years, knew this was real, Oscar knew this too. No surprise that The Rider Trial ended with jurors acquitting the officers of eight charges and deadlocked on the remaining 27. Even less surprising the officers wanted their jobs back, “the same shift and everything,”

I watched the execution again, you can hear the 22-year-old father, Oscar Grant scream, “you shot me and I didn’t do anything”. I watch it again. Oscar reaches up from the platform for an officer to help him and they cuff him. He is shot and they cuff him. I want Mehserle to be some evil monster that hated black people, but I can’t be sure of that… I am sure he is a 28-year-old man who made a horrible mistake; being caught on film behaving abusively and recklessly. I can only guess that in his mind, he was doing his job. The organization he works for, has no problem executing the weak, the poor and the under represented, whatever color you happen to be at the time. To Mehserle cuffing a man that had been shot in the back was nothing more than procedure, however inhumane it may seem to a civilian.

What can I do?
I watched again, I felt helpless. Felt like I needed to do something, or break something, instead I called fellow musician Azeem and asked him to record a song with me. We made “Shut em Down” a spin off of Lupe Fiasco’s “Dumb it Down’. I hosted a few benefits, one for political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal’s birthday and book release party were Angela Davis and Lynne Stewart spoke on the injustice system.

(left to right) Kulwa, Adimu, Jack Bryson, Angela Davis, Minister of Information JR, Chela Simone, Ambassador Franco, Nakiya and Mistah F.A.B

That is where I met Jack Bryson the father of Jackie Bryson, the young man on the platform with Oscar the night he was killed. He wanted Oakland’s support to get Mehserle charged. His sincere concern with bringing the shooter to trial reminded me that I could easily be Jack and I wanted to help.

Later that night a group of us lamented over memories of more cop stories. The time when they beat up Chris so bad they had to call his mom, “cause he might not make it”. When they shot unarmed Jody Mack Woodfox, a 27-year-old African American man, after a traffic stop in 2008. Not only was Woodfox unarmed, but a preliminary autopsy revealed that he was shot “numerous times” in his back from approximately 25 feet away, The “shooter” Officer Hector Jimenez, killed Jody Woodfox in July after having killed Andrew Moppin by shooting him in the back eight times on New Year’s Eve. Casper Banjo shot by OPD with a high-powered rifle through the heart in the parking lot of the police station in 2008. In 2006 a twenty-six year old African American man standing on a street corner in his neighborhood talking with friends. Two Oakland police officers approached the group of men and began to harass them and search them without probable cause. He was knocked over a fence by one of the officers and is now permanently paralyzed.

Gary King Jr. by shot in the back by OPD in 2007

Twenty year-old Gary King Jr. by shot in the back in 2007. Seventeen year-old Ameir Rollins paralyzed in 2006. Nineteen year-old Joshua Russell, murdered in 2002 all by Sergeant Pat Gonzalez who happens to be, the fifth officer shot and wounded in the events of March 21st, 2009 which left

Lovelle Mixon

Lovelle Mixon and four Oakland police officers dead. I found no peace in these discoveries, I only found myself angry, sad and uncomfortable with the situation I was witnessing.

I need to do something, what can I do?
I followed the Grant/Mehserle case in the news, in blogs, on youtube, by word of mouth. It took 12 days to call for charges on Officer Mehserle, who fled the state and was found in Nevada. Ron Dellums waited 7 days to make a statement to the City of Oakland. I was disappointed that someone that takes the stance that he is “for the people”, did nothing for the people, until he was faced with angry citizens. We needed someone to at the very least say that there would not be another young person murdered by the same organization created to “protect and serve”. Instead we were faced with BART saying that there was no “official” tape, Dellums silence and all this anger. The Oakland riots were a valid reaction. I hate to see my city destroyed, but I understand the sentiment, a legitimate response to an extreme situation. The people are not “just crazy’, Police “hunt’ us. That is a reason to demonstrate, to defy these oppressions. Everyone deals with anger and grief differently, opportunists take advantage of the moment to do what they do best.. I called my sister in New York, she had never heard of Oscar Grant. I was disappointed again.

After hearing they where moving the trial to Los Angles just like everyone else, I thought “that is where the cops that beat up Rodney King got off”. I hoped that it wouldn’t happen again. I let Oscar, fade from my memory, I found other “ills of men” to occupy my disgust like the Eleven Oakland Police Department officers, including two sergeants that were terminated for their involvement in the falsification of search warrant affidavits, drug tests and numerous criminal cases that were called into question due to the improper search warrants and untruthful statements. All of which happen to be going on at the exact time we watched the outcry in the streets of Oakland in honor of Oscar Grant, in honor of every one that knows the subtle trickle of oppression in our everyday lives. The illness of racism that hasn’t been erased from the human consciousness, call it “Muscle Memory”, if you will, all too apparent in the mixed reaction of the community to Lovell Mixion. Then BP drilled a hole in the earth. (To be continued)

What Can I Do?
Three weeks ago I got a call from a journalist from Oakland that alerted me to available seats in the court, and with no prompting and no money I found my self driving down the 5 with very mixed emotions about what I would find when I got there. I had just written my first piece for sfbayview and I was looking for a story with teeth. This story would prove to be a huge bite, one that would take a chunk out of my heart.

I needed to see it first hand. I wanted to know that they really tried this case. It wasn’t about Oscar alone. It was the one of the biggest cases in the last decade. A cop was on trial for murder. After all of the men wronged they were finally going to try one for murder. I wasn’t sure I was even angry about Oscar any more. I wasn’t sure Meserle shot him on purpose despite my need to find a place to lay blame. What a heavy load for the “lone gunman”. At that point I was not thinking about facts or video, it was about justice for all of them. I was no longer “objective”.

I made it into the courtroom after a day of being denied access during 4 separate breaks, the day Dominice lied so poorly on the stand that one of the jurors shook his head in disbelief, I watched Perone arrogantly throw Mehserle “under a bus.” I saw Jackie testify to being handcuffed for over 5 hours, in a holding cell where Pirone came to kick up his feet and smirk at him. I heard the court read transcripts with an antagonistically ignorant ebonic overtone, in an attempt to eclipse the relevancy of Bryson’s testimony. I watched Mehserle cry, I watched Oscars’ mother cry, I heard Mehserle say he didn’t mean to shoot him. I watched Mehserle get caught in a few lies. I watch the court remove 5 young black males from the public seats for various “reasons” some substantiated some not. I watch the seats refill with defense attorneys externs.

They played the tape in the court room so many times, I didn’t hear the “pop”.
I began to notice so many things I never saw before.
Like Oscar was on the phone and he took a picture.
Pirone knee Oscar in the face, 250 pounds on his neck.
Mehserle never called for an ambulance. Why not? There is a human dying.
Mehserles’ reaction after he shot him. He looks shocked.

I look to the jury, no black faces.

Can they even fathom how important this is to so many people that are so misinformed about the details of this case, but these same people know it happens all the time…

How common the abuse? How uncommon it is for it to be an officer as a defendant in a murder trial?

My observation is Mehserle’s act alone was not motivated by racism, Pirone is a bully, Domenici isn’t very good at lying and the orchestration of the “powers that be” is fine tuned and vicious.

I believe that some police are desensitized to the strategic warfare going on in specific communities. And those that aren’t desensitized and can see what it is, just go along with it because that’s the job a paycheck and that is what they are “supposed” to do.

I believe that, officers are subconsciously trained to be aggressive toward a “suspected criminal”. Just so happens, the suspects are mostly brown/black people. The All Point Bulletins (APB) that go out to all officers, everyday describe just about every Black or Hispanic Male that lives here between the ages of 16 -35, 5-7feet, 100-250 lbs walking or driving. I don’t think it is some grand conspiracy amongst the police force alone, it’s an age old doctrine that has never changed. It is just subtler and better protected by its founders. I don’t even think some of these cops recognize the scale of this experiment. They just follow orders, which protects them when they don’t follow laws.

Mehserle contended in the preliminary trial that Mehserle pulled his gun and shot Oscar because Oscar was resisting and “thought he was going for a gun”.

From what witnesses observed, Oscar was not resisting. Pirone was being an over zealous cop, and was using excessive force. Mehserle wasn’t thinking, just reacting, pulled a gun and shot him.

I do believe it was “muscle memory”, the four steps he went thru to remove his gun from his holster were all involuntary. He was drilled to remove that gun over and over. If he hesitates for one moment he could be dead. He may have even meant to reach for his taser but his training was to pull his gun and fire. And he did.

Lets say for a moment Mehserle actually did pull out that taser and tase him, after he was subdued. It was still excessive force, and during this entire act the idea never crossed his mind. He knew that he could tase Oscar and even if it was wrong and on tape and he wasn’t in fear of going to jail for it, or even being harshly punished for that matter. In his mind, at that moment, it was not wrong to watch Pirone unjustly beat him, he could then tase him, and take him to jail, all based on a description of a suspect in a fight. Which is still of course not confirmed to be Oscar Grant.

It is demonstrated over and over again, once you are a suspect, police can intimidate you, terrorize you, be aggressive and violent if they want to, they can beat you, tase you and then arrest you for resisting this terror. The only problem with this arrest is, he didn’t kill him with his hands, a nightstick or his taser, he shot him with his gun and you have to explain that.

Now before the, “I was just going to tase him. I didn’t know it was a gun”, defense. Mehserle said in preliminary trials that Grant was resisting. Now after reviewing tapes, even Mehserle said Oscar “appears to be complying”. Mehserle also said he” thought Grant was going for a gun”, so Mehserle was going to “tase” Grant?

Why would you tase a man with his finger on a “trigger”? Couldn’t his hands constrict and discharge a bullet?

If a cop sees a suspect going for a gun…. Wouldn’t the officer pull his weapon? Aren’t officers trained to match a weapon with deadly force?

Terry Foreman, the officer Mehserle asked for the morning of the shooting when he was taken to BART police headquarters at Lake Merritt testified, Mehserle “would say, out of nowhere, ‘I thought he had a gun,’ and start crying.”

So which is it?
I am confused.
He was resisting and you were going to tase him and accidently shot him
– or –
He was reaching for a gun and you pulled your weapon and shot him.
These two scenarios are vastly different.
Can’t be both.

And I am mad about that. I am angry about all the smoke and mirrors, the deception, the maze of words, and expert opinions that amount to nothing more than another lie.

Mehserle shot him on tape and it took days, a riot and three investigations to bring him up on changes.
He switched his story up and got a whole team of cops and experts to lie for him. And they aren’t even good lies.

Is that racist? NO, the acts themselves are not. Race played an obvious part when he was detained by Pirone.
It is not a “black persons” myth. Police harass black and brown people. Just take a look at the jails.
But no his actions where not motivated by race, instead by conditioning, which is even more deadly, from every angle. Until people of all color acknowledge that even with a Black President the race relations in this country are deplorable, then we are far from abandoning this ignorance . Just watch that cop punch that young woman in the face in Seattle to see how civil these servants are.

Is this justice? NOT even close. We know he shot him. It’s on TAPE, a lot of tapes. a lot of angles. Why?? Because people saw something unjust going on BEFORE he got shot. Excessive Force.

These young men were celebrating one more year of life, and found themselves being initiated into black manhood in Oakland. Sitting against the wall with their hands up watching a ritual that has been carried out for so many generations. It was the same old same, ruff up a couple a cats cite em” out and send em’ home. Write a few up and send em’ off to jail. All in a good nights work, but that night some thing went wrong.

The Expert witness Greg Meyers said Johannes Mehserle did not show excessive use of force, it could be considered coincidental that he said the same thing when he testified for the officers that beat Rodney King, or it could be the estimated 30k he commands for his performance.

On June 30th The Judge took Murder 1 off the table. The jury in People, Vs. Mehserle will chose from 2nd Degree Murder, Voluntary Manslaughter or Involuntary Manslaughter.
It’s not the worst thing that could happen. We all dread the worst.
Closing statements on Friday July 2, 2010, and then we wait.

What can we do?
In the dawn of a verdict every one is operating on the presumption that Oakland is going to “burn down”. That people will lose there lives and go to jail. Well, as illustrated above that is already happening. Some will, some will choose different methods, others like Oscar will have no choice.

The Oakland police have demonstrated their intimidation tactics in court on the street and now LIVE on the evening news. A plan is in place to call for “Mutual Aid”, which will bring hundreds of officers from Northern California to Oakland. Twenty-one thousand National Guard will be on standby, all backed by Mr. “for the people” Ron Dellums, himself. Dellums said “we will not tolerate destruction or violence”, if he would have added “unless it is towards civilians” to that statement, it would be a more honest assessment of what they are foreshadowing. Just more of the same.

Yes we need to stand together, and be objective in our approach. Burn it down –or- meet them on their playground, cry, hide, all are honest reactions. We are all wired differently, a painter can paint it, a writer can write it, a singer can sing it, Just DO something.
Not every one is readied for the battleground. Just Do something
To assume we just want to act a fool is another form of “profiling” , but we can talk about that later.

I say, do whatever you feel is right.

This story changed me in ways I cannot put into words, I have gone from a voyeur to a woman who speaks and acts. I wrote, I drove, I sang, I showed up, I came back to tell the story. Not just for Oscar, but for something I never thought would move me so deeply, Us. Its bigger than one man in one city. I just caution you to think before you move and walk into a war zone thinking it’s a good time to break a window and grab some free sneakers. You are aware they have shot many unarmed men, some handcuffed, some innocent, some face down, some in the back. They will not hesitate to shoot some one they can “prove” a potential threat, and they are giving “fair” warning.

There have been many different organizations asking for peace. I will be the first to clap when we reach that place.

In between 2004-2008 there were 45 officer involved shootings in Oakland, as of May 2009, 62 in review, of which, 80% of the victims were African American 40% had no weapons. Over 2,000 people were murdered by police in the U.S. since 1990 and this is the FIRST one brought up on charges. When exactly is a good time to be angry about that?

Do something.

written by Chela Simone

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Coundown to the Oscar Grant Vedict/ Why Are Police beating Our Kids?

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Breaking News Update Wed June 30 2010:

Judge has taken 1st degree murder off the table. Jury will choose from 2nd degree murder, voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter… Closing arguments will start tomorrow…Mehserle’s lawyer wanted jury to choose either murder 1 or acquital. Many speculated getting murder1 would be difficult.

As the historic Oscar Grant trial comes to a close in Los Angeles we wanted to share a crucial update as to what is going on in the trial. For those who are unaware, for the first time in the history of the state of California, a police officer (Johannes Mehserle) was brought to trail and charged with murder after shooting and killing someone while on duty.

An unarmed, completely subdued Grant was shot in the back as he lay face down on New Year’s morning ’09 in front of hundreds of people on a BART subway station in Oakland. Mehserle claims he thought he reached for his taser instead of his gun. It’s a story the community wasn’t and has never brought especially when it was revealed that Mehserle was heard shouting “I thought he had a gun’.

If he had a gun, then why reach for your taser?

The community became even more enraged when it was discovered that moments before Grant was killed, Mehserle’s  partner Tony Pirone who was recently fired had called Grant a ‘bitch ass nigger’ before he was shot.

The community was even more enraged when it was discovered that Mehserle just six weeks earlier in an unprovoked attacked had severely beaten a 41-year-old Black man named Kenneth Carrethers after he was overheard complaining about how inefficient the police were at stopping crime…

We caught up with Minister of Information-JR who is the associate editor of the SF Bayview and heads up the Block Report Radio. He’s been down in LA covering the trial even after he and several other Black men under 40 were kicked out of court for a variety of un-related reasons. In our podcast JR explains why this has been going on in what many are saying is a highly biased court.

Expert witness Greg Meyers said there was no excessive use of force during the Rodney King trail. Of course he is defending Johannes Mehserle

In this interview JR talks about some of the ‘expert’ witness that have come forward in defense of Mehserle including a former LA police captain Greg Meyer who claimed that Grant when shot was resisting arrest. It’s an outlandish conclusion considering Grant was shown completely restrained with the larger Mehserle sitting on his back. however one should not be surprised, considering it was Meyer who sat on the witness stand during the Rodney King trail and claimed there was no excessive use of force.  I guess the estimated 30 thousand dollars paid to Meyer didn’t hurt when giving his testimony.

We also spoke to JR about the media blackout on the case especially in the LA area and offer up some reasons why this is happening.

In the latest update another expert witness is claiming that Mehserle was so stressed out that he became temporarily blind which is why he shot Grant. What’s taking place at this trial is unbelievable.

Today June 30th the judge will be meeting with lawyers to discuss what the options are for jurors. Mehserle’s high-priced lawyer Michael Rain is pushing for an all or nothing ruling. In short either convict him of murder or acquit him. The prosecutor wants the jury to have options so Mehserle doesn’t walk.

Sadly the judge on the trial Robert Perry has history of siding with the police as was evidence during the infamous Rampart Scandal in LA when he let the cops off the hook.

Also as we speak Oakland police have been planting seeds of fear in the community by warning people of impending riots. Last night KRON 4 reported that as much as 21 thousand national guards are on alert and ready to move in on Oakland. All off vacationing officers have been called back into the city with police as far away as Oregon ready to join in.

Why Are Police Beating Our Kids-What Should We be Doing?

In pt 2 of our podcast we sat down with community activist and former Seattle mayoral candidate Wyking Allah and  Paradise Gray of X-Clan and One Hood out in Pittsburgh to talk about the recent rash of police brutality incidents where children as young as 7 have been the victims.

Wyking does an excellent job putting things in historical context and offering solid solution for communities to follow. He noted that much of what he suggested were key tenets on his platform for mayor.

Paradise Gray updates us on two key cases in Pittsburgh. One involves the beatings that took place last fall when officers stormed the University of Pittsburgh campaus looking for anarchists. Unsuspecting students were tear-gased, beaten and arrested. There was major investigation with the police being found in the wrong.. The other incident involves honor student Jordan Miles who was beaten and had his dread locks ripped out his head by a rogue group of martial art expert police dubbed the ‘Jump Out Boys‘.

Gray also speaks about the incident of Pamela Lawton who had a police officer stick his gun in the face of her crying 7 year old after she was pulled over for a traffic violation.

Like Wyking, Paradise lays out a number of solutions for us and our communities to follow.

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Video Shows BART Police officer Smashes Unarmed Man through Plate-Glass Window in Oakland


Sadly the city of Oakland, has yet another brazen incident in which excessive force was used to subdue and unarmed suspect. Earlier this year, the world witnessed the horrific shooting of unarmed Oscar Grant on a BART subway platform. yesterday, the city of Oakland is stunned to see a BART officer slam a man through a thick plate-glass window… The man was unarmed and can be seen walking with the officer  just before he’s smashed through a window..he is reported to be mentally disabled.

This incident comes on the heels of the Oscar Grant trial being moved to Los Angeles… Words can barely contain the anger or express the outrage.

-Davey D-

An Oakland, California-area transit police officer was captured on video forcing the head of an unruly man into a heavy-duty glass window, which shattered, during an arrest at a passenger station, authorities said.

The video, posted on YouTube, shows an unidentified Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) officer in a scuffle with a man identified by authorities as Michael Joseph Gibson, 37, of San Leandro, California.

Gibson, who appears disgruntled and gesturing while on a train at the West Oakland station, is pulled off the train by an officer, who has the man in an arm grip.

The officer forcibly walks the man toward the station wall, which is topped by large widows, and one window shatters as the officer appears to force the man against it.

The incident happened about 5:40 p.m. Saturday (8:40 p.m. ET), according to a statement from BART police Sunday. The officer sustained facial lacerations and a concussion, while Gibson suffered cuts to his hand, forearm, palm and a cut to his head. Both were treated at a hospital.

“This is a use-of-force case that we will thoroughly investigate,” BART Police Patrol Commander Daniel O. Hartwig said in the statement. “We will review all available information and video and are requesting anybody with any other video or information to please come forward.”

Once released, Gibson was booked into the Santa Rita County jail. He faces charges of battery on a police officer with injury and resisting arrest — both felonies — and public intoxication, a misdemeanor.

The officer was placed on leave due to his injuries, authorities said.

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First Wise Intelligent, Now Hip Hop pioneer Paradise of X-Clan get arrested on trumped up charges



Hip Hop pioneer Paradise Gray is the latest in a string of journalis/ community activist to be arrested on trumped up charges by police from coast to coast

Hip Hop pioneer Paradise Gray is the latest in a string of journalis/ community activist to be arrested on trumped up charges by police from coast to coast

Yesterday I received several disturbing phone calls from the city of Pittsburgh informing me that Hip Hop pioneer and X-Clan member Paradise Gray the Architect was falsely arrested by a police department that seemed bent on targeting him. The details are still coming in but from what was conveyed, ‘Dice’ was at a demonstration filming the procedings so he could write and report back the story. For those who don’t know, Dice is also a long time seasoned journalist and documentarian.  During the demonstration a doorway was blocked resulting in a bottleneck which spawned the anger of a number of people who rushed the door, pushing people and creating a situation where a couple of women would be crushed and stampeded if action was taken.  Dice went to the door to assist by creating a path so people could move through the door when he was tackled by police. He was accused of blocking the doorway and preventing people from leaving and later for resisting arrest

According to witnesses, there were several demonstrators on hand, all of the white who were there at the doorway to commit acts of civil disobedience. They were clearly present blocking the door, yet police ran right past them to attack Paradise who got tagged with the resisting arrest charge when he put his hands in the air to let the police know he was a working journalist and not part of the demonstration. It didn’t matter to the police Dice was hauled off. Later on police arrested the actual demonstrators who were all cited and immediately let go.  Paradise who spent much of the day in jail was later quoted as saying. ” (I was not one of the people who was trying to be arrested. I was rushed by the Police after trying to free a young lady from being crushed by the revolving door that was being pushed hard by a man trying to exit the building) – Paradise

This incident had a chilling effect on several levels. First Paradise is known for his peace making activities by the police. He’s met with them on anumber of occassions and has long advocated that the community spark dialogue instead of confrontation.  They knew that Dice is a journalist covering the story. Second point was that several people who started the bottlneck and disruption by blocking the door were arrested and let go.  Third this pattern of false arrest and trumped up charges has happened to several other well known people who  are part of the Hip Hop community and do journalism. I hardly think this is coincidence.

 The first is Minister of Information JR out of Oakland, California. During the demonstrations for police killing of Oscar Grant, JR was doing what he’s done for years, covering the story and taking pictures so he can later report back to the community through the SF Bayview newspaper and on his widely heard Block Report Radio show and podcast. He was tackled by 4 officers  and charged with arson. It did not matter that he was standing next to a number of  other people including a couple of lawyers who were also observing the demonstrations.  His outspoken, bold activism made him a target. He is currently fighting the trumped up charges. http://www.sfbayview.com/2009/oakland-pd-brutally-arrests-minister-of-information-jr-at-oscar-grant-protest/

Last week we ran the story of Wise Intelligent of Poor Righteous Teachers being falsely arrested by Trenton, New Jersey police. His account of the incident is quite chilling. Wise does a weekly radio show where he brings to light community issues. http://hiphopandpolitics.wordpress.com/2009/07/12/wise-intelligent-of-poor-righteous-teachers-falsely-arrested/

If you add to the mix the arrest/kdnapping of former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney by the Israeli government and the outlandish arrest of former gang member turned peacemaker Alex Sanchez  in Los Angeles, you can see just how insidious and this pattern really is. We will keep you posted on the situation involving Paradise Gray. In the meantime check out his website Http://www.1hood.org

written by Davey D

Community Benefits Protesters Arrested On North Shore
Demonstration Held Outside Del Monte Building


PITTSBURGH — At least four members of a community group were arrested during a protest on Pittsburgh’s North Shore, where they were calling on local corporations to offer more community benefits.The demonstration was staged outside the Del Monte Building on North Shore Drive on Thursday morning. Some protesters held a sign that said “Millionaires Get Our $ While Our Kids Die.”City police made arrests when members of Northside United began blocking the building’s main entrance.Meanwhile, the group chanted, “It’s the North Side, not the North Shore, this land is our land, it’s not yours.”

Land around Heinz Field on the North Shore will be built up by developers.

“We keep giving things to millionaires who don’t even live in the state of Pennsylvania, and the residents of the city of Pittsburgh get nothing in return,” said Michael Glass, co-chair of Northside United. “Those of us who live on the North Side are being most impacted by the developers. Our homes are falling down. There’s a high rate of unemployment, a high rate of violence. We have people who work in these buildings making $8 an hour getting no benefits for their families. Develpoment should support the community.”Northside United consists of neighbors, churches, social service agencies and labor unions. The group has been asking for a community benefits agreement with developers who are planning to build up the land near the sports stadiums on the North Shore.”This community was a thriving community years ago. I lived here. You can’t even find the street where I lived. It’s all asphalt now. It’s not reponsible development,” Glass said.Glass acknowledged that the group was trying to publicize its agenda with civil disobedience, and he said the police officers responded appropriately.He wants Mayor Luke Ravenstahl to “force developers to sit down and have a real conversation with people in the community, so their needs can be heard and understood. That’s all we’re asking.”

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