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Two nights ago a man was shot in the back while running away from an Oakland police officer; there is no evidence that he was in possession of a weapon at the time he was shot.

'Momma, the officers [are] lying. They watched me get out of the car. They watched me walk. They started speeding up and I took off running across the street and when I took off running and I heard the gun go pow, pow, pow,'" said Works-Grant. "He said he was running with his hands like this [at his sides]. The police shot at him and shot him in his back. They never said they [were] the police."
Why was Tony Jones running away from a policeman? If you lived in East or West Oakland this would not be a sensible question. If you lived in East or West Oakland, I assume Jones' answer would make perfect sense.
Jones ran because he saw a police car behind him and "thought they were coming up too close to him," McCoy said.
You probably do not live in Oakland, let alone East or West. In fact, you probably don't live anywhere where such an answer makes sense, and neither do I. But once you realize that, under the conditions that exist in Oakland, it does make sense, you may be on the path to, if not enlightenment, at least a light bulb.

An interesting question to ask is why you are reading about this at all.

Had this man not been the cousin of Oscar Grant, who was shot and killed by a BART policeman several years ago for no apparent reason, triggering massive protests, the incident may never have even made the papers. Especially as he was not killed. Oakland Police merely shooting someone is just "dog bites man" material.

Had this event not occurred in the midst of the police violence directed at Occupy Oakland and the innocent bystanders caught up therein, you certainly wouldn't be reading my words on the matter.

And had this event not taken place in the context of a rogue police force enjoined by the Federal government to mend its ways over seven years ago now -- resisting all the way and now on the verge of Federal receivership -- everyone might just shrug if they did happen to hear about it, and say "tsk, these things happen (to those people)".

The Oakland Police Department is not so much a police force as it is an entity unto itself, racist, without oversight or control, run amok. Don't believe me?

Listen (starting at 23:00) as famed civil rights attorney Jim Chanin describes his interactions with the Oakland Police over the years at the Occupy Oakland Police Action forum.

I've litigated over 20 wrongful death cases against police departments including six here in Oakland, all of them involving families with the victim being people of color...

I've been part of a legal team that has filed four class action lawsuits against the City of Oakland in just the last eleven years... one in which a police officer here in Oakland used his authority to pull over Asian mostly immigrant women and subject them to sexual impropriety year after year after year.  The difference ... between Oakland and other police departments is this guy wasn't caught after one time or two times, he did it, well, we were able to trace it back five years before they destroyed the records...

... Two of of every three search warrants involving narcotics were based on either false or perjurious testimony... we represented one hundred people whose houses were raided under false warrants, who were sent to jail, who were beaten, every one of which, except for one person, was a person of color...

...The 'Riders case' went on for at least four years. The distinguishing feature was again that the officers were able to do this over and over and over again, planting drugs on people in the Oakland community, forcing them to serve sentences aggregating forty years... giving them felony records they did not deserve. We represented 129 people in that case; again 128 of them were people of color...

... We had just given up on trying to get compensation for individuals and thinking that would somehow transform the city police department ... So we negotiated a settlement agreement ... which calls for the police to meet certain standards... ((but)) doing the things that are written has been a big problem ... not only in this case but in general...

... This agreement ... we had police experts, the police had police experts .. the Oakland Police Department, the City Council and the Mayor all signed off on this and said they could do it...

... then came the part where they were supposed to do what the policies said. That's been the sticking point for the last eleven years, and we do not have compliance in keys areas as of this date... the city has spent millions and millions of dollars trying to get into compliance...

We said we will seek Federal receivership ... We've gone to meetings for eight or nine years, this is the ninth year... we're all paying for this... we cannot continue to wait and negotiate with these people when people are getting shot and beaten and there's not enough progress

... I was also on the team that drafted the crowd control policy.. the case began on April 7th, 2003... the Oakland Police Department opened fire on completely non-violent demonstrators with an array of less-than-lethal weapons... nearly 50 people were shot, including longshoremen who were waiting for work ... we had a women who had two operations who was doing nothing but holding a picket sign ...

... We told them we needed a crowd control policy so this wouldn't happen again, and I think you know the end game to that story...

...I just want to read a couple of things from the crowd control policy that involve what recently happened here in Oakland...

less than lethal weapons are only supposed to be used against individuals whose conduct poses an immediate threat of loss of life or serious bodily injury to themselves or others when other means of arrest are unsafe or they engaging in substantial destruction of property which creates an imminent risk to the lives or safety of other persons, and when the individual can be targeted without endangering other crowd members or bystanders...

Less than lethal weapons may NEVER be used indiscriminately against a crowd or a group of persons even if some members of the crowd or group are violent...

In other words, there's no excuse for shooting non-violent protesters, just because they happen to be near a violent act.

Scott Olsen, who attended the forum, was surely relieved to hear that.


Oscar Grant will not come back to life. Tony Jones may or may not recover fully from his wounds. The people whose lives have been ruined illegally by the Oakland Police will continue to suffer, despite some getting recompense thanks to Jim Chanin et al.

Judge Henderson may place the OPD into receivership, but the only real long-term hope to reform such a criminal organization is massive public awareness leading to irresistable political pressure for a clean sweeping of the entire enterprise. Judge Henderson and his monitors may be able to keep the racists, bullies, sadists, and trigger-happy personnel in the force in check for a time, but unless the cancers are removed, top to bottom, they will simply wait out their watchers and spread again.

3:12 PM PT: Check this out: Crime Rates During the OO Encampment

Originally posted to jpmassar on Fri Feb 24, 2012 at 09:21 AM PST.

Also republished by Occupy Wall Street, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, California politics, SFKossacks, and Progressive Hippie.

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