[ Update: The DA has decided not to file charges, and thus there will be no hearings tomorrow. However, the legal support committee is still asking people who can take off from work and school to head over to the courthouse around 8:30 am to help get contact information from those people who are not yet in contact with the NLG. Note that not filing charges is not identical to the charges being dropped. They can still hold this shit over our heads until next Nov. 5, choosing to file charges whenever it is convenient for them. Drop the charges! These arrests were unlawful!]
[Another update: Despite the fact that the DA has decided not to file charges against all of us, felony arson charges are being tossed at one of the arrestees. This just in from an NLG lawyer working on the case:
An arrestee from November 5th is facing felony arson charges. This person will be arraigned in Dept. 112 at Wiley Manuel courthouse at 9am tomorrow. She is asking for support for her case. Anybody who is available to go and show support for her in Dept. 112 would be most appreciated. To honor of her confidentiality, I am not mentioning her name, but she has asked for community support for her ongoing criminal case.
Although the DA has not decided at this time to press charges on the majority of criminal charges for folks arrested on Nov 5, some folks are still facing charges. We want to show solidarity and support those folks.
If folks would like to donate to the legal bail fund, a paypal can be found here:
If folks would like to donate to the National Lawyer’s Guild for providing free legal support, donations can be made here:
On Nov. 5, 152 participants in a march from City Hall to the Fruitvale BART — the site of Oscar Grant’s murder by Mehserle — were unlawfully arrested and held in North County for up to 24 hours. A few are still being held in Santa Rita on trumped up charges. On that night, we showed our force in the face of the disgusting decision to give Mehserle 2 years — 2 fucking years — for the “involuntary manslaughter” of Oscar Grant. We’ve all seen the video. We’ve all read the analysis. It goes without saying that the sentence was preposterous, as was the judge’s decision to throw out the gun enhancement charges handed down by a jury. Thankfully he was denied bail yesterday, but it gets worse.
On Nov. 5 152 of us were surrounded by hundreds if not thousands of pigs in full riot gear. This wasn’t just OPD, mind you; they called in mutual aid, and over a dozen departments showed up, including cops from as far away as the Central Valley, and DEA officers were lining the rooftops. We were kettled in by the cops, who read a token dispersal order but refused to let a single protester leave. Note that prior to the reading of a dispersal order, assembly is not illegal. The cops read the order, but prevented anyone who wasn’t carrying a press pass from leaving. The majority of the surrounded crowd attempted to leave, but they were repeatedly denied passage. Then we were systematically rounded up, cuffed, lined up, and stuffed into buses headed for North County.
I was actually the last one to be put onto one of the buses. We were on there until roughly 2 am, despite being put on as early as 8 or 9 pm; we were in cuffs the entire time. People on my bus were urinating on themselves, and one man was put in a solitary confinement box after a pig dislocated his shoulder. He remained in cuffs and periodically screamed as if he were being tortured; he urinated on himself twice. We all witnessed a pig refusing him medical service or even the right to call for an ambulance; he remained in cuffs despite his injury. We also witnessed the pigs beat a 17-year old after he asked for a drink of water; he predictably got riled up, and then they hauled him off. A few hours later we saw him from our cell, face bloody, hands in shackles. Earlier we heard him screaming; some attributed it to pepper spray, some a Taser, some both. I could go on: another young black man put in solitary in a box on the bus, an elderly man denied medical attention despite experiencing near liver failure, another elderly man going through chemo denied medical attention, and the list goes on.
We never actually made it to a real cell, but were instead crammed into processing cells. I was stuffed into one with seating for about a dozen people, but there were 28 of us. We were in there for about 14 hours after getting off the bus. The toilet had no seat, was out in the open, and had no toilet paper. After about 10 hours we were served disgusting slices of bologna with soggy cookies pressed into them, stale bread on the side, and packs of mustard. There was no trash can, so we had fetid cold cuts all over the place. The lights never went out, and there was no place to lie down (let alone sit), save for the filthy, bologna-covered floor.
I could go on, but you get the point. This shit for not even violating a law? We tried to leave upon the reading of the dispersal order, but to no avail. I’m not being a whiner; I know that’s what it’s like in jail. But we were a multiracial crowd with extensive legal aid networks. Oakland residents of color without NLG on hand go through this shit every day. Enough is enough. We need to challenge these pigs on legal grounds to make sure they don’t continue to get away with what amounts to vigilantism in a uniform.
But the first step is getting these bullshit charges dropped. Over 100 of us have our hearings on Monday at Wiley Manuel Courthouse at 661 Washington St. in downtown Oakland, not far from the 12th St. BART. The hearings begin at 9 am. Even if the DA decides not to file charges, it’s vital that we show up to demonstrate our collective force and show these pigs that we’re not about to back down. The lawsuit is coming, but first things first: Drop the charges immediately! This is not identical to the DA not filing charges; even in such a case, they can hold this shit over our heads for up to a year. Next time we take to the streets or even organize around the most recent pig murder — that of Derrick Jones, who was killed on Nov. 8 — we have these bullshit charges hanging over our heads. Fuck that. Drop the charges unconditionally and immediately!
The pigs might be a nuisance, but they don’t scare us. This shit is just getting started!
Still justice for Oscar Grant! Still justice for Derrick Jones! Still fuck the police!