Why is Oakland so Angry?
“Riot is the language of the unheard.” Martin Luther King Jr.
As evidenced by the rebellion of January 7th, the people of Oakland have run out of patience with cops who kill and the politicians who make it possible for it to continue. It is OBVIOUS that criminal charges are justified in this case. District Attorney Tom Orloff has more than enough evidence from the videotapes to justify arresting Mehserle this minute. However, we must remember that it is this same DA who could have pressed charges against any of the officers who have killed our people in the last year. (see the list below)
In fact, it was Tom Orloff who refused to press charges 14 years ago when 19 year old Jerrold Hall was killed by Bart officer Fred Crabtree. Even though the youth was shot IN THE BACK OF HIS HEAD FROM 60 FEET AWAY and in front of witnesses, the cop was allowed to walk. Later the FBI was called in to investigate. You know what? After months of waiting for an answer, the FBI declined to press charges. The investigators in the so-called “investigation” failed to interview eye witnesses including John Henry Owens, the other youth who was detained along with Jerrold Hall. In short, it was a sham then and it will be a sham now.
Calls for Civilian Review Boards will not pacify us. Now that the state Supreme Court has rendered civilian review boards useless, the Bart Board is ready to consider them. Thanks, but no thanks. In the words of TheWho, “We won’t get fooled again”.
We can not count on the system to give us justice. We can demand that the cop be tried in court, but we must not limit our movement to depending on the same “justice” system that kills us to somehow make it right. We must build our own institutions and our own alternatives. Let’s meet together to discuss and decide on a course of action that will bring us real justice.