UPDATE: In bold type in the Editorial.
The townhall meeting did not go as anticipated. The plan had been for Oaklanders to sit in the Acts Full Gospel Church and, like so many devotees, politely listen to the lying monotone of the police chief about the recent killing of another black youth, then write their questions for triage and more monotonous answers: the rage cleanly severed from voice and heart.
There is such a thing as an appropriate reaction to profound injury. First, the attendees began to turn their backs on the lies: a reaction as old as time (Video below). Animals in zoos do this when they dislike a visitor. Birds, and even butterflies, resolutely turn their tails to insults.
The spell was broken. People had regained themselves. Next, the fists began to rise, and the questions started to flow, unwritten. A bullhorn called “Justice!” and got the response “For Alan Blueford!” The church could not contain the outrage. The argument moved outside into the bright sunlight, where the police shuffled and looked out of place, anxious, like so many cavemen.
“For Alan Blueford!”
Chris Moreland, the man who cried “Justice!” into the bullhorn is himself now in jail: targeted for arrest by police on the evening of May 23rd on trumped up charges including battering of a police officer. How? With the sound waves from a bullhorn? Bail has been set at an outrageous $100 K. To free Chris, it is necessary to raise $10 K by Friday May 25th. Please donate here.
UPDATE: During the afternoon of Friday May 25, the court was packed to hear the charges against Christopher Moreland. The district attorney unsuccessfully tried to charge him with assault for hurting an officer’s ears (with a bullhorn).
A march followed, with the usual chants plus new ones about assault with noise, and a rally with several speakers, including Chris’mother, who noted the look on Chris’ face when he saw Occupy Oakland’s support in the court. Another speaker mentioned that Alan Blueford’s gracious family had offered to donate to the bail fund. A bond was purchased for $175. Although Chris should have been released from Santa Rita jail the same evening after completion of his paperwork, he was not freed until 7 the next morning.
Whatever the police might do to distract the population from the real issues, the Occupy protests in Oakland and elsewhere in the U.S. are about more than the occasional incident of police brutality. The protests call for dismantling a system of social inequity that requires such a show of arbitrary violence that city police departments in the U.S. behave like a a foreign occupation force toward black youths.
Dady Chery, Editor
Oakland police chief confronted & shut down at Justice 4 Alan Blueford townhall
Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner Blog
Since the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, there have been closed to 30 Black or Brown people shot and killed by law enforcement or in the case of Trayvon, wannabe law enforcement. Many of these shootings have been highly questionable, meaning the person killed was unarmed or there are strong conflicting statements from either the police or witnesses.
Here in Oakland, California, the shooting death Alan Dwayne Blueford is one such killing. Oakland police have been very shady with the stories they put forth to the public. It seems like a deliberate attempt to muddy the waters, cast seeds of doubt and cover up their own mistakes.. Initially police said they were in a shoot out and Blueford shot the officer in the stomach.. Later the police said Blueford shot the officer in the leg. Next the police said that it was possible the officer was shot in the leg by another officer in a case of friendly fire. Finally it came out that the officer shot himself. He shot himself in the foot.
Many believe the officer shot himself after he killed Blueford and saw the young man was unarmed. The police then double back and said a gun was recovered, the community has yet to see any evidence of finger prints, gun residue etc. Many have concluded it was the officer planting a gun near the scen.. This would not be unusual in a city that in the past 10 years has had to shell out over 58 million dollars in wrongful death shootings and police brutality incidents. This would not be far-fetched in a city that was home to a rogue group of cops known as the Riders who were found to routinely plant drugs and guns on suspects. One of the Oakland Riders is a still a fugitive at large.
Adding to all this was the fact that Blueford was left to on the ground for 4 hours to die while the officer who lied and then finally admitted to shooting himself was treated. The public still does not know the name of the officer thanks to California’s Policeman’s Bill of Rights which prevents the public from knowing the name of officers involved in these and other brutality incidents. Community investigators have revealed the officer who murdered Blueford is Miguel Masso a former military man who lives in Los Banos which is more than 100 miles outside of Oakland.
Blueford’s parents were not aware of their son’s death for more than 6 hours. They went down to the police station were treated like crap and not told for more than 2 hours. Their mistreatment led to the unusual move by Chief Howard Jordan to meet and apologize to the family.
In an attempt to do more damage control, OPD held a town hall meeting at Acts Full Gospel Church. Folks showed up only to discover the police chief would only answer questions that were pre-written. This annoyed folks to no end. Then he seemed ill prepared or unable to answer basic questions. He also hawked what many saw as blatant lies. This led to more than half the room turning their backs on the chief and throwing up fist.
The chief cut the meeting short and left the building with angry residents in tow. They got at him and let him know that there needs to be accountability and the community would not stand for his lies. The chief was definitely embarrassed. Later that night we learned Oakland police came after one of the community members shown in the video holding a bullhorn, Chris M. They claimed he assaulted an officer at the church. If that was the case when and where did that happen and why not arrest him on the spot?
Here’s a video of last night’s Townhall Meeting and dispersal. Please note I’m trying to re-render this so the quality is better. *quick note… here’s the better quality video of last night’s confrontation.
VIDEO: Confrontation between Oakland community and police at townhall meeting (17 min).
VIDEO: Protest on May 11th, with speeches by Cat and family friend of Alan Blueford MC Hammer (6 1/2 min).
Davey D is a journalist, Hip Hop activist originally from the Bronx, NY. He lives in oakland California. He is the co-host of the Hard Knock radioa daily show that focuses on Hip Hop and politics and airs throughout the country. He pens a column for the SJ Mercury News and teaches at SF State.
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