Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What We Want and What We Believe


1. We want the immediate arrest, indictment, and prosecution of BART police officer, Johannes Mehserle for the murder of Oscar Grant III.

We believe Oscar Grant III was maliciously murdered, robbed of his human and civil rights, and killed , in part, because of his race, class, youth, and dress which constitutes a classic case of racial profiling at best and at worst , a systemic BART philosophy of harassment, intimidation and violence as regards it patrons and citizens.

2. We want the release of the names and suspension of all the officers accompanying Officer Mehserle on January 1, 2009 at the Fruitvale BART shooting until a thorough and comprehensive investigation has taken place.

We believe that Officer Mehserle’s actions were not a case of a ‘bad apple’, but indicative of a particular mentality and culture within BART police in particular and law enforcement in general that views young, black males as suspects, criminals, and enemies.

3. We want a public review of BART history, police policy, strategy, and philosophy to assess whether (A). BART police are really needed and (B). If needed, whether or not they need guns.

We believe that the BART police force operates from policies and attitudes that are biased, militaristic, and racist and this philosophy is manifested in the actions and attitudes of its officers. Consequently, we recommend a citizen review of all such policies with the intent of creating a citizen review board to monitor excessive force, supervise implementation of diversity training and conduct an analysis on whether funds allocated for police might best be used differently.

4. We want BART, in the spirit of restorative justice, to make community restitution, in part, by funding community based healing centers throughout the city for grief counseling, conflict resolution, and healing.

We believe that the murder of Oscar Grant III is the latest chapter and Oakland’s version of police, intra-community, terrorist and war violence that presently engulfs the planet. Only through concerted effort, understanding, and dedicated work and discipline can our city extricate itself from this madness. Institutions whose sole purpose is the healing of hearts (that have been wounded by violence) are needed throughout the world to show our communities, nation, and world that there is a better way.


  1. Another item to consider is protecting our right to record officers while they are on duty. Can you imagine legislation sponsored by an organization such as the police's union that made taking a recording an offense, perhaps obstructing justice or some other hogwash? I think I'll write to Representative Lee.

  2. It's not enough to protests in front of Bart stations, or against the police. Efforts have to be directed at the people the police work for, the Bart Board of Directors, and other elected officials. Theses people can hold police responsible at any time, they can fire them and they can prosecute them. Therefore, I'm suggesting that future protest to directed at them, and that partitions be circulated, calling for their recall, and or replacement, public attention must be directed at them. Additionally, the trial was a farce, to find involuntary manslaughter, and accept that he mistakenly pulled his firearm, they had to accept somehow, that the officer's actions were reasonable in going for his taser. Police are by law required to employ only the necessary force to subdue suspects period. At the point that officer Mehserle approached and decided to draw his taser, there was no force required, reasonable, necessary or otherwise, on his part, because the Mr. Grant was already subdued by police, in hand cuffs and lying face down with several other police officer's in control, theoretically one step from being taken away, Mehserle wasn't needed, the only force required of him, at that point, would have been to stand there and observe. The final travesty was the change of venue granted by the presiding Judge, obviously someone also more concerned about protecting police than ensuring justice and preserving Democracy. This change of venue was never about ensuring a fair trail for officer Mehserle, rather, such was more-so about trying to stack the deck in his favor, why else would Simi Valley California, the venue of the first Rodney King trial, where video recorded brutal police officers were acquitted? The answer is simple, the community is home to many police officers, and has a reputation for being police friendly, as well as, having very little minority representation, thus in their minds, the only place Mehserle could get a fair trail, is somewhere no minorities reside, particularly, African American. In my opinion, officer Mehserle should have bee convicted of Second Degree Murder, which requires gross negligence and/or recklessness, which he clearly was. If this issue is further explored, as to the backgrounds and political sensitivities of the decision makers, maybe you will discover things or previous associations that caused these decision makers to be particularly prone to protecting police.