The publicizing of the images through the Web gave way to numerous protests but occurrence of brutality against unarmed Blacks are frequent and do not always rally such wide responses.
~Pablo Elorduy (Co-Editor, Diagonal Magazine)
(Diagonal Magazine) The Oakland Rebellion. The officer who shot Oscar Grant was not jailed until two weeks after the homicide. Grant's assassination is again bringing new evidence on institutional racism in the US.
The brutal execution of Oscar Grant III at the hands of Johannes Mehserle, BART police officer (San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit) has been recorded and reproduced throughout the Internet by several of the subway commuters.
The airing of these images, in which one can see how the officer shoots Grant while he is handcuffed and subdued on the ground, gave way to a protest on January 7, that ended into a demonstration of police repression during which 105 persons were arrested,
One of the detained, J.R. Valrey, Minister of Information of the prisoners of Conscience Committee (POOC) and reporter at the San Francisco Bayview, contends, in a declaration to DIAGONAL that, to this day, none of the protesters are still detained, although he recognizes that most of them are pending a judicial citation.
"The charged me with Arson, but the other cases' charges vary: inciting riot, obstruction of justice, resisting arrest, vandalism, etc."
The "Oakland Rebellion" Call has gained international relevance, thanks to the diffusion of the crime through the Youtube portal.
In fact, according the the denouncing statement of Grant's cousin, the police left the corpse on the ground for 30 minutes while the officers were busy attempting to confiscate cellphones and cameras with which some commuters had recorded the assassination.
Valrey points out that :"The recordings lead to the case being not only an assassination or crime denounced by members of the Black community, as it occurred in other cases as the ones of Gary King, Laronte Sturdville, Nadra Foster, Tearrance Mearis, Anita Gaye or Casper Banjo”
In this instance, the evidence of police brutality against an unarmed Black citizen has been a scandal beyond the San Francisco Bay Area public opinion:
"During the Oakland Revolts, Blacks, Latinos, Asians and Whites rebelled against the police. People of all descent were jailed, but the most severe charges have been brought against Black people who protested" contends J.R. Valrey.
The protests in this Californian city and other cities of the country led to Officer Mehserle's detention 14 days after the assassination.
As pointed out by prisonner Mumia Abu Jamal, the U.S media have attempted to justify Mehserle's actions with the contention that he made a mistake, meaning to use the Taser paralyzing weapon on Grant's laying body.
Abu Jamal, like many of the protesters, wonders what would have happened of the table would have turned and Grant would have been the one to shoot at the officer. In his opinion, there is no way that two weeks would have gone by before the detention of the main suspect.
For J.R. Valrey, the Grant saga is one more proof of the status quo under which lives the Black population in the United States.
"We are not seen as citizens, this is why we have had to struggle for our rights all throughout the history of this country. Historically, the police has behaved in our communities as an occupying force"
The protests about Grant's assassination in Oakland were coupled with protests against the Israeli invasion of Gaza. The relationship between the two occurrences is, according to Valrey, a response against U.S politics, that establish a difference between first and second category people.
In his opinion, the police assumes "the first line of defense between those who own and those who don't."
Valrey considers that this circumstance will not change with the rising of Barack Obama to the White House:
"Would Obama be interested in ending police aggressions, he would have engaged into denouncing the resounding case of Police terrorism in Chicago, in which police top brass Jon Burge was accused of having tortured hundreds of Black men in the 80s. This case is still open, as it was also when Obama was Senator in Illinois".
In spite of the election of the first "non-white" President in the history of United States, the social marginalizing of the African American population in United States continues to generate dreadful statistics.
According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, over 60% Black Children live in law income households, and over a third of Black families are poor.
In addition, Black children incur double the odds of suffering abuse during early childhood, compared to Latinos or Whites.
Cases such as Nicholas Heyward, 13, or DeAunta Farrow, 12, assassinated by police while playing with plastic toy guns, have been repeating themselves over the past decade, with the aggravating circumstance that none of the cops who shot them were ever judged or condemned.
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