Monday, January 19, 2009
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Former BART Police officer Johannes Mehserle was arrested in Nevada today.
The arrest is related to his fatal shooting of Oscar Grant, III. on New Years Day, but officials haven’t specified the charges.
Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff will hold a press conference tomorrow.
I got the call from my brother, Brian, who lives in Oakland at about 10:05 and I almost didn’t pick up because, well, frankly, I’m still exhausted from traveling. But I did pick up and I’m glad. Hundreds of people from throughout the Bay Area were gathered in Antioch tonight for a major town hall meeting to strategize about eradicating the suffering of our people on various, issues. I was able to get a text message into them right after they had closed the meeting in prayer. According to an assistant inside, the community's reaction was through the roof.
Right after the town hall meeting the Final Call spoke to Student Minister Keith Muhammad (Muhammad Mosque #26B / pictured below at a recent press conference), who, along with Student Minister Christopher Muhammad (Muhammad Mosque #26) has been helping to organize the community with youth activists, an alliance of clergy, and elected officials.
FC: Your reaction to the news?
KM: While we are pleased to see that the District Attorney has finally done his part to issue an arrest warrant for and take into custody the officer who killed our brother, Oscar Grant, we are ever watchful because we have with us the history of Rodney King. And so while an arrest is the first step, we anxiously await to see if the District Attorney can affectively make the second step.
According to what I am learning, the city of Oakland currently is paying millions of dollars in police brutality lawsuit settlements, but not a single officer has been convicted by this district attorney’s office in the 15 years that he’s been in office. And so our hope is he can finally find a victory in court, but in truth his record is so bad, his movement was slow, his disrespect of the community was so large, that we believe that he’s come to the point in his career as a District Attorney that he should retire, resign or face a recall from the voters of Alameda County.
FC: The DA said that it would take him two weeks from last Thursday for him to be able to draw any conclusion. Is this an attempt, a ploy to appease the community and thwart the peaceful demonstration of thousands that plan to take to the streets of Oakland again tomorrow?
KM: Yes. I think it’s all political. He did not want to meet and talk with Black community leadership but when we had that meeting (pressed by the community and held in the DA’s office last week) we insisted he share with the public what his plans were. His answer to us was no. The Honorable Mayor Ronald Dellums made the same kind of request then his answer was yes, which is what you saw in a press conference. It may be a ploy to take power out of the hand of the protestors, take some of the fire out of their bellies. But of course we know that an arrest and a conviction are two different things. So the hope is he will be able to effectively prosecute the killer of our brother, for the murder of Oscar Grant.
FC: Thank you.