He had been in prison fifteen of his thirty eight years. Then he found Occupy Oakland and felt his life had some purpose.
But now, because of a blanket, they can put him away for the rest of his life.
Khali: Now that I've gotten my life together I'm getting more pressure from the police... I'm getting bullied around. They came in with billets and bats and took all our things...
I'm homeless. I have nowhere to go. I'm on GA. I try to get help. I get food stamps. So what am I supposed to be doing? I mean, go back to crime? Taking people's things? I mean, I think it ain't right.
Interviewer: What have you been doing these last couple of days here?
Khali: Helping people. Having a vigil for Oscar Grant. Make sure people that are cold get blankets. Make sure that the people who are hungry get some food. That's all we do.
What happened to Khali subsequent to this interview on the other side of the orange squiggle.
Khali (who's real name is Marcel Johnson) was arrested on December 16th, 2011 in a police raid on Frank Ogawa Plaza / Oscar Grant Park, the home of Occupy Oakland. You can listen to the full story, insofar as it has happened yet, as told by Lalie. Lalie is an Occupy Oaklander who has dedicated herself to helping OO's arrested and jailed.
The story starts at about 24:45 in this livestream video of the 1/8/12 Occupy Oakland General Assembly shot by OakFoSho. (DKos won't let me embed it, sorry).
You can also read my slightly edited transcript below.
Clearly we are in the midst of a really brutal targeting by OPD. They're using all kinds of tactics to target people. KHali's case is kind of the nightmare most extreme of that...
OPD came in to confiscate blankets and the personal belongings of people. On that day three people were arrested. Two of them were arrested on the basis of them having picked up blankets and were charged with obstruction. But Khali, actually, had picked up his own blanket and had walked away to go sit on a bench about fifteen or twenty feet away.
The police came over and initially just asked him to provide ID. He wasn't able to; he gave them his name, and they told him they would just hold him until they ran his ID. Which they did, and saw that he was on probation, which is one of the ways that they are targeting us, looking for people on probation because they can hold them without any kind of bail.
As soon as they found that they arrested him, and he said that they never told him the charge until much, much later. Because he was on probation, he was the one person out of that group we were unable to bail out because there was a hold placed on it.
He spent four nights in Santa Rita, and then came to his arraignment where his lawyer, Dan Siegal, requested that because it was such a minor misdemeanor charge, that he be released on his own recognizance. The DA refused that because she argued he was homeless and there was no residence on record and so they would hold him for two more days until the next hearing.
But they were forced to place bond at that point, and we were in the process that night of bailing him out that evening. At the very moment we were calling Santa Rita, attempting to post that bond, we were told that he had just caught a felony case of assaulting a corrections officer.
During this time, Khali was denied his psychiatric meds; at that point it had been five days that they had been withheld from him. This alleged assault occurred while he was being placed in a solitary room and according to him being beaten by corrections officers.
All we know is that the next time he showed up in court his eyes were completely swollen shut; and even ten days later they were bloodshot and bruised.
A slightly different account can be found here, in which it is said that Khali, despite claiming to be homeless in the video, provides his home address to the court. But because the staff who would have to verify his address had already gone home for the day, he was to be held for one more night.
Khali is being arraigned on the felony charge of assaulting a corrections officer -- perhaps as you are reading this The arraignment is supposed to start at 9:00 AM on Monday, in Pleasanton, CA. The bail is currently $580,000. He is currently being defended on the felony charge by a public defender.
Eileen Mcandres is the District Attorney on this case. If you would like to leave a message for her about Khali, her number is 925-803-7171.
Khali may not strictly fit the characteristics of a political prisoner; but make no doubt about it -- Khali is in jail and facing felony charges as a consequence of the political persecution of the organization that he chose to associate himself with. Knowingly or unknowningly -- being on probation -- he risked his liberty to participate.
So he's basically arrested for littering, and a week later he's facing felony charges...
-- Dan Siegal, as quoted in the East Bay Express, a former legal aide to Oakland Mayor Quan and Khali's attorney on his non-felony charges.
We may never know the truth of what happened inside Santa Rita causing felony charges to be filed. But if the City of Oakland and its police had not made the decision to oppress Occupy Oakland, Khali would likely still be out there feeding the hungry and giving blankets to the homeless, instead of occupying a jail cell and facing a potential three-strikes life sentence, in a state that is under federal orders to reduce its prison population.
An Update from After the Hearing by Lalie via OakFoSho: