Friday, July 9, 2010

Damage Caused In Downtown Oakland Is Not By Protesters Of The Johannes Mehserle Verdict

I want to state for emphatically & for the record that the damage caused by people last night in Oakland, Ca was not at the hands of people protesting the Johannes Mehserle verdict.

There was a peaceful gathering of 800-1000 people at the corner of 14th & Broadway beginning after the verdict was read until approximately 7:30pm. Several young people spoke as did community members, leaders, Oscar Grant I (Oscar Grant's Grandfather), Oakland Native Mark Curry of "Hanging With Mr. Cooper" fame, and many who were around in the days of the Black Panthers. There were people from a variety of backgrounds, faith traditions, and political ideas.

The damage and looting that occurred was done mostly by people who are not Oakland residents (at least 70% are from outside the area) and they just wanted a reason to loot (the 1st store attacked was a Foot Locker) and engage in lawlessness. These people covered their faces because they are cowards and used Oscar Grant's name & memory in vain.

Do not continue to follow media coverage that wants to only show what happened after night fell. It is misguided and skewed to create sensationalism & perpetuate stereotypes.

I attended the rally and held a friend as she cried. Listened to young people beg for answers and heard voices raised in call to action. I am not a native of Oakland. I became a resident just over 3 years ago and have come to love my city.

We Are Still The Town!!!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Be Cool...

Free Legal Support For Anyone Arrested During Mehserle Demonstrations

The Bay Area National Lawyer's Guild Demonstrations Committee is ready to provide legal support for folks arrested during demonstrations related to the verdict of the
Mehserle trial. We run a legal hotline during protests and provide free or low-cost legal support for demonstrations and for people expressing dissent by organizing radical volunteer lawyers and legal workers around specific causes. We will be supporting demonstrations following the trial for Oscar Grant's murder. Legal Observers, a legal hotline and attorneys will be organized for the day the verdict is
announced, and however long it is needed following that day. We will provide legal support for anyone expressing their first amendment rights about this brutality.

Feel free to check out our website here:

The Demonstrations Committee won the Bay Guardian award in 1998 for "Best Folks to Call if you're Arrested for Civil Disobedience Award." We provide legal support and trainings to progressive groups organizing demonstrations or direct actions; offer legal observer trainings to law students, lawyers and activists; work to respond to police misconduct and protect the right to dissent. One of the ways we provide support, is by running a support hotline while people are on the streets and in jail.

The hotline number to call if you see arrests occurring, are being arrested or have legal questions related to demonstrations is:

*(415) 285-1011

*Remember if you are arrested to say: "I am going to remain silent. I want to see a lawyer."

See you in the streets.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Verdict Expected Soon In Oscar Grant/Johannes Mehersle Case--Community Gatherting @14th & Broadway Oakland, Ca City Hall

A verdict is expected SOON in the case of the Police Officer who
murdered Oscar Grant on a Friutvale BART platform 18 months ago! If you are in the Bay Area:


1. Because WE WILL NOT BE DIVIDED. Massive street protests were the only thing that forced Mehserle's arrest. Lets remind ourselves that the streets are where people are strong together, where real change is won.
2. Because WE WILL NOT BE PACIFIED. Our anger is justified. It does not need to be “vented” or “cooled-down”. If anything, we need more resistance, more action, more mobilization.
3. Because WE ARE THE VICTIMS OF POLICE VIOLENCE, not the cause of it. Police are the only “outside agitators” in Oakland, and their violent behavior is what concerns us. We all know that police will blame the victim to try and justify their violence, by calling us violent. We won’t be manipulated.
4. Because THIS FIGHT IS NOT OVER. Whatever the verdict, our struggle continues. There is a long way to go to get justice for Oscar Grant, and for all victims of police violence. We need to stay united and active, to end police violence in our communities.

While the gathering does not have an official “permit”, organizers still intend to maintain a safe space for everyone, and need your help to respect the tone of this rally. The rally will be in the intersection of 14th and Broadway. Organizers are also not planning a march and want to avoid arrests or police activity within this space. Please do not invite police to enter this space or provoke the police from anywhere within or close by to this space. Please do tell everyone you know about this gathering – the best safety is in numbers.

1. Text "follow justiceforoscar" to 40404. You’ll get a text when the verdict comes down and updates about what happens at the protest.
2. Write the legal hotline number (415-285-1011) on your arm or body. Call this number to report arrests or to get legal support if you are arrested..
3. Bring earplugs for you (and some to share). OPD has recently purchased a LRAD sonic "crowd control" device.

The downtown gathering 14th and Broadway is being put on by legit community organizers who have been working for Justice for Oscar Grant for the last 18 months. Sadly, in recent days there has been a concerted effort by the mayor of Oakland, the OPD, and certain non-profits to disrupt our rally and keep people from gathering together. Please inform yourself and others! Many of those counter-organizing against our 14th and Broadway gathering have done nothing to fight for justice for Oscar Grant, and are more concerned with preventing property damage (helping the police) than they are with getting justice for Oscar Grant.

This is not over! There is much new information that has become available during the trial, including the fact that Oscar Grant’s autopsy showed that Officer Tony Pirone’s beating caused serious head injury to Oscar Grant before he was shot by Johannes Mehserle. Our organizing is not over, not even close! Look for information about actions demanding charges for Tony Pirone and Marisol Domenici, the firing of all the other police on the platform, charging the BART police with federal civil rights violations, and the disbanding of the BART police department.