October 22: National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality
I rode my bike over to the Fruitvale BART station today for the rally which featured speakers who have been affected by police brutality. One son, Norman Curry, spoke of how his mother was shot point blank by an officer who called her by name, "Anita (Gay)." She was 52, her son was 23 at the time.
On February 16, 2008, Norman's mother was drunk, the neighbors were complaining and the policeman was returning to the house after neighbors called for assistance again. This wasn't an unusual occurrence and Ms. Gay was cooperating when she was shot, her daughter who the victim shared an apartment and witnesses said.
"The bullets passed through her into her apartment, grazing her daughter’s face and narrowly missing her grandchild. The police claim the shooting was justified. The media demonized the family and blame the shooting on Anita.
Many neighbors saw what really happened, yet, Norman says all have been silenced through police intimidation now that Gay's family is suing the Berkeley police for wrongful death. Roughing up witnesses or shaking them emotionally so that they eat accusations is nothing new; however, this is 2010, and one would think the judicial system would protect the vulnerable but a policeman is involved and no one else in this instance and others in Alameda county and elsewhere seems to have any rights.
Residents in Fruitvale has started a People's Patrol where they witness (and record) police stops and activities where there is a physical altercation. The members have a "Proclamation" which members shared at the Fruitvale Rally. The goal of the patrols is to "listen to and learn from the observation and criticisms of the people--even if they sting or if (the patrollers) do not agree." Criticism is healthy in any movement "when they are right and even when they are wrong."
"The patrols are comprised of both Black and Latino and all nationalities, men and women, young and old, gay and straight," to set an example, organizers say of a society and neighborhood an Oakland community they would like to see. The patrollers are clean and sober, do not carry weapons and do not profit from these activities--"contributions are submitted to support revolutionary movements."
They wore these really cool shirts with a cross walk on the front and revolution down the back side. They ask everyone "who believes in justice and emancipation to support the movement to get involved. Contact Revolution Books, 2425 Channing Way (near Telegraph Avenue), Berkeley, (510) 848-1196 or email@example.com www.revolutionbooks.org
Another family: mother, father and sister spoke of their recent loss of their loved one: "December 31, 2008 at 7:33 PM, officers of the Oakland Police Department fatally shot Andrew Moppin in the back. Andrew Moppin (Comanche/Klamath), a young unarmed 20-year-old man, had a $411 warrant out for his arrest for evading BART fare. Six months after Officer Hector Jimenez shot and killed Andrew Moppin, Jody "Mack" Woodfox III, 27, was also fatally shot in the back by the same officer of the Oakland Police Department. He was also found to be unarmed. The fatal shootings of Andrew Moppin, Jody "Mack" Woodfox III and Oscar Grant III are not isolated incidents and a reality in our communities of continued police brutality" (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/01/29/18566881.php). For images visit http://endlesscanvas.com/?tag=stolen-lives
Richard Brown, San Francisco 8 (SF8), former Black Panther Party member and a judge in San Francisco Community Courts, as did Deidre Wilson, member of California Coalition of Women Prisoners and All of Us or None. I was really impressed by the comments of Dee Lewis, one of the organizers against Alameda Counties' Gang Injunctions. He spoke about John Russo's office aggressive move to criminalize young black and Latino citizens. First it started in West Oakland, now the injunction has moved into Fruitvale, East Oakland is next. Like a virus this law which among other things prohibits persons identified as "gang members" from being in so-called hot areas of activity. If a person so identified is picked up, he or she will have mandatory sentences from anywhere up to 25 to life. The part I hadn't known was that the "gang identified person" might not know he is carry a scarlet letter in his pocket or that there is a blood stain on his front door.
Dee called for everyone to come to meetings. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org