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“Fruitvale,” the new movie about Oscar Grant, gets rave reviews at Sundance UPDATE 2

8:24 pm in Uncategorized by hotflashcarol

Mees_18

A protest at the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland. Flickr photo courtesy of Michael Mees.

Updated to add: Fruitvale just won both the Grand Jury Prize (“the big enchilada, as the announcer said) and the Audience Award for U.S. Dramatic film at the Sundance Awards!

On Democracy Now this morning, Amy Goodman interviewed filmmaker Ryan Coogler about his debut film, Fruitvale, which tells the story of the murder of Oscar Grant by a BART police officer. The film stars Michael B. Jordan as Oscar and Octavia Spencer as Oscar’s mother, Wanda, and was produced by Forest Whitaker, among others. The movie has been a standout at the Sundance Film Festival. It reportedly was the subject of a bidding war; distribution rights were acquired by the Weinstein Company, which means that it should be playing in a movie theater near you later this year.

The two short clips that Amy Goodman showed during the interview, along with Coogler’s description of what it was like to make this movie, left me in tears. It reminded me that Oscar’s death is still an open wound that will never heal until Oakland stops marginalizing and brutalizing and killing young men of color. I’ve written fairly extensively about Oscar and police brutality in Oakland. This is one of the first FDL diaries I ever wrote, in anticipation of the Mehserle verdict back in July 2010 (which would turn out to be involuntary manslaughter instead of murder). This diary was written a year ago, on the third anniversary of Oscar’s death.

Ryan Coogler, the filmmaker whose day job is counselor at a San Francisco juvenile detention center, was compelled to make this movie because in the cell phone videos of the murder, Oscar was the same age as Coogler and “looked like he could have been any one of us.” And because he was angry and frustrated; the killing of an unarmed black man by police was, unfortunately, nothing new to Coogler as an African-American resident of the East Bay. Fruitvale (named after the BART station where Oscar was killed) begins with those cell phone videos and then flashes back to what Oscar was doing earlier that day.

I’ve read a lot of reviews of the movie; some of them focus on the fact that Oscar is portrayed in such a positive light. For those of us who are Friday Night Lights fans, the casting of Michael B. Jordan as Oscar is genius. For me, he’s a good match for the Oscar Grant that I have concocted in my head. I didn’t know Oscar, and it’s tempting to turn Oscar into some larger-than-life person. He wasn’t. But he was loved by his family and friends. He was Tatiana’s dad and Wanda’s son and Uncle Bobby’s nephew—we do know Oscar’s family now, because they have become tireless advocates for justice, not just for Oscar but for every victim of police brutality. Oscar was a young man who was trying to make the most of a hard day that New Year’s Eve and he did not deserve to be shot in the back on that cold fucking BART platform by a monster like Mehserle. If this movie does nothing else, perhaps it will help people to see that the cops are not always right, or righteous, and that until we really hold them accountable for these young lives they’ve taken, they’ll keep shooting first and asking questions later, as they did with Oscar and as they did in the case of Alan Blueford.

Unfortunately, the Oakland Police Department doesn’t seem to have any intention of changing its ways. Alan Blueford’s father, Adam, was back in front of the Oakland City Council this past Tuesday. Mr. Blueford was speaking out against the hiring of superpig and global security mogul William Bratton by OPD as part of a $250,000 consulting package. Bratton is worthy of a whole ‘nother diary, but suffice it to say that the last thing Oakland needs is more outsiders encouraging their cops to Stop & Frisk.

Police Chief Howard Jordan promised that racial profiling would not be a part of OPD policy. Nobody believed him, least of all OO livestreamer Bella Eiko/Jessica Hollie (below), who was another of the more than 200 people who addressed the City Council about Bratton during that marathon session on Tuesday. At 2 AM, the council voted 7-1 in favor of hiring Bratton. (The video that Jessica is referring to but that never makes it onscreen at the meeting is this one.)

 

#Occupy Oakland: Hey Hey! HoJo! Howard Jordan Has Got To Go!

5:18 pm in Uncategorized by hotflashcarol

occupy oakland day 16 part 2 020

Flickr photo by Oakland Local

Oakland’s ruling troika of Larry, Moe and Curly Police Chief Howard Jordan, Mayor Jean Quan and City Administrator Deanna Santana.

In this week’s segment of You Can’t Make This Shit Up, it was revealed in federal court filings that for the past year, beleaguered OPD Chief Howard Jordan used a spam filter to divert emails he received that contained subject lines such as “Occupy Oakland,”"police brutality” and “respect the press pass,” straight to his junk mail folder. So he never saw them. Because that crap was getting on HoJo’s last fucking nerve, OK? I mean, not only was he having to contend with those DFHs hanging out in the plaza with their signs and their chalk and their food and their hopes and their dreams, they also thought they had the right to assemble and march and the freedom to speak, any time they wanted! The last thing he needed to see in his email box was some exaggerated BS about one of his officers knocking some college girl off her bike and cracking her head open or arresting some loudmouth journalist or lacerating the spleen of some guy with a camera. He was forced to deal with that, uh, unfortunate Scott Olsen thing, since the whole goddamn world suddenly seemed to be all freaked out about some skinny veteran almost losing his life in the streets of Oakland. (Jordan and Quan had really hoped they would get their turn to be on the The Daily Show, but not like this.)

The Children's Brigade, i.e. the cutest part of the 99%

Flickr photo by anirvan

Interfaith group

Flickr photo by geekeasy (Adam Katz)

Above: Hippie children and the occupants of the illegal Interfaith Tent Umbrella, just two of the many banes of HoJo’s existence.

Now poor HoJo is in even more trouble with Judge Thelton Henderson, since emails from Robert Warshaw (the federal monitor Henderson appointed to oversee OPD) ended up in HoJo’s junk mail and he never responded to them. It’s not Howard’s fault that Warshaw titled his message, “Disciplinary Actions-Occupy Oakland.” “It was never my intention to ignore the monitor,” Jordan said in his declaration. In fact, Jordan and his officers have taken the threat of federal receivership hella seriously. For instance, they posted defaced, racially insensitive photos of Judge Henderson (an African-American) and Mayor Quan (a Chinese American) on a bulletin board in the Oakland Police Administrative Building and didn’t even take them down after an employee complained. So there, Mistah Warshaw, you devil, you. The irresistible Ms. Santana may win this round yet. Or maybe not.

Anyway, all this unwanted (and undeserved, in Howard’s estimation) attention on OPD is like deja vu all over again. It reminds HoJo a lot of when he had to bust some hippie heads back in 2003, during that episode when OPD infiltrated an anti-war group and then used wooden bullets, sting-ball grenades and beanbag rounds to break up their non-violent protest at the Port of Oakland. (Back then Jordan had this to say: “You don’t need to have some special skill to infiltrate these groups. Two of our officers were elected leaders within an hour of joining the group. So if you put people in there from the beginning, I think we’d be able to gather information and maybe even direct them to do something that we want them to do.”)

That little dustup in 2003 led to a class action lawsuit and ultimately resulted in OPD’s hands being tied (theoretically) by the adoption of a new Crowd Control Policy that strictly limits the use of force. Now those same bleeding hearts that were all upset back then are up in arms again, suggesting that OPD continues to violate its own policy. And all this drama is making HoJo look like an incompetent liar. Which is not true; lying is something he excels at. Just ask Alan Blueford’s parents.

On the bright side (Judge Henderson, are you listening?), OPD’s new 2012 Occupy Oakland War Room is a well-oiled machine. Millions of taxpayer dollars are funneled from schools, libraries and neighborhood crime initiatives in order to ensure that no illegal camping takes place downtown, that no graffiti mars the Clorox Building or CitiBank, that no Chamber of Commerce member is inconvenienced. While OO marked the one-year anniversary of the October 25th camp raid and police riot,

inside a downtown building, dozens of city, county, regional and state workers gathered at the city’s Emergency Operations Center to provide support and coordinate the troops on the streets.

Three officers sat at computers monitoring Twitter and other social media for clues on protester plans. Other officers coordinated the taking of internal affairs complaints, and some oversaw the gathering of street intelligence. Five televisions and several other screens showed live streaming video from locations around the city.

The story above also revealed some “undisclosed technology” that allowed OPD to keep track of a protestor who allegedly threw rocks at an officer; he was arrested later when he had fewer comrades around to save him. My guess is that “undisclosed technology” is actually a low-tech undercover officer; as HoJo says above, it don’t take no special skillz.  Hey, Officer Friendly! Follow me on Facebook! I know, you already do!

And Howard, I couldn’t leave without posting a little something special just for you; you know I’ll be thinking of you every day between now and December 13th:

Occupy Oakland: Reflections on #025

12:13 pm in Uncategorized by hotflashcarol

Thursday, October 25, 2012, marked the one-year anniversary of the Oakland Police Department’s violent assault on the Occupy Oakland encampment and the ensuing protest in which Iraq veteran and anti-war activist Scott Olsen was shot at close range with a barely-less-than-lethal beanbag round. People attempting to administer aid to Scott were forced to flee when an officer fired a flashbang grenade into the group. Eventually Scott was carried away by his comrades and driven to Highland Hospital, where it was determined that he had a skull fracture and brain injury that kept him from being able to speak. Scott survived Iraq only to be critically wounded by a sociopath paid by the City of Oakland to protect and serve the interests of the one percent.

Chief OPD Sociopath Howard Jordan, facing the likelihood of federal receivership in six weeks, at long last has been forced to acknowledge that it was an OPD officer under his command who fired on Scott Olsen and not some rogue member of the numerous other law enforcement agencies who provided mutual aid that night. In an unprecedented shakeup, HoJo has stated publicly that the officer who nearly killed Scott Olsen “acted inappropriately” and at least a couple of sacrificial piggy heads will roll.

OPD received more than 1,100 complaints related to Occupy Oakland incidents. Based on OPD’s ongoing investigations (they’ve only addressed about half of the complaints so far), a total of 44 officers will be disciplined. Two officers will be fired, one will be demoted, three are to undergo counseling and training, 15 will be suspended for up to 30 days and 23 will receive written reprimands. This makes me think of a joke: What do you call 100,000 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean? A good start. (Apologies to lawyers; feel free to replace that group with the demonized demographic of your choice.)

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Flickr photo by Bora S. Kamel, taken in Cairo, Egypt on October 28, 2011

The ensuing months have not dampened the horror and the rage that so many of us felt on October 25, 2011. That rage catapulted Oakland into the spotlight and helped to catalyze the Occupy movement around the globe. Within days, attendance at our general assembly had grown from 300 to 3,000 and within just a week we were able to mobilize 30,000 or more to participate in a general strike and a shutdown of the Port of Oakland. Despite his continued anxiety around cops, Scott Olsen continues to participate; he says that Occupy has been “a success overall . . . it has radicalized a generation who I don’t think is going to give up until we create a world that we want to live in.”
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Oakland: A City in Pieces (An Update on Alan Blueford)

1:57 am in Uncategorized by hotflashcarol

Image: greendoula / Flickr

Background: Two weeks ago, the family of Alan Blueford and their supporters sought answers from the Oakland City Council about Alan’s death — answers they have been seeking since their 18-year-old son was murdered by Oakland police officer Miguel Masso on May 6, 2012. Answers were not forthcoming. The council attempted to move on to other city business, including a resolution proclaiming Oakland an “International City of Peace.” The community rose up in anguish and distress and said: No Justice, No Peace.

* * *

In an attempt to avoid facing an onslaught of distraught citizens again this evening, city administrators held behind-the scenes meeting where they discussed limiting the number of people who would be allowed in council chambers. It’s comforting that they were able to focus on such matters while violence continued unabated on the mean streets of their city; five people were shot to death in the last couple of days.

Although such restrictive policies were not yet supposed to be in place for tonight’s meeting, dozens, if not hundreds, of people were barred from entering the council chambers. Balcony seating was closed. I didn’t attend, but I watched the livestreams and chatted online with people who were there. A friend who made it inside said that at the beginning of the meeting, there were only about 75 people present and many seats were empty. (There is seating for 216 and standing room for many more.)

According to media reports (which almost always underestimate crowds), about 100 people took part in the Interfaith March for Alan Blueford, which began at the Alameda County Courthouse and continued to City Hall for the meeting. Interfaith member and fearless Occupier Nichola Torbett says that the group blocked the streets at rush hour, without a permit. (Whose streets? Our streets!) Once they arrived at City Hall, many of these people were denied entrance to the council meeting by the police.

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Oakland City Council: “We’re gonna party like it’s 1984.”

11:19 pm in Uncategorized by hotflashcarol

It’s deja vu all over again.

Back in May, I wrote a diary about Alan Blueford, the African-American high school student who was murdered by Officer Miguel Masso of the Oakland Police Department. Initially, OPD said that Officer Masso and Blueford had been in a “gun battle.” That’s what Blueford’s parents were told hours after they arrived at police headquarters seeking answers. They’d been notified by Alan’s friends (as opposed to police) that their son was dead. Police informed them that their son (and the officer that he supposedly shot at) had been rushed to Highland Hospital. Those were lies. It turns out that Officer Masso shot himself in the foot. Alan was apparently left to die in the street and was never transported to the hospital. The coroner found that Alan had not fired a gun. Officer Masso’s credibility has been further undermined by revelations that he may have been hired by OPD while he was still under investigation in a civils rights lawsuit filed against him when he was a New York city cop.

On May 15, the Bluefords appeared before the Oakland City Council asking for help in finding out what had really happened to their child. Chief Jordan was missing in action and the council had no answers for the Bluefords that evening, although one of them helpfully proposed that a more efficient next-of-kin notification protocol might be in order the next time the pigs blow a black teenager to Kingdom Come.

On September 18, frustrated by more than four long months of obfuscation and stonewalling by the City and OPD, Alan’s family once again appealed to the City Council, asking them to produce the police report on Alan’s death. Once again, the council promised that Chief of Police Howard Jordan would materialize. And once again, after a “10-minute break” that lasted more than a half hour, HoJo was a no-show.

Council chambers were packed with hundreds of supporters of the Blueford family from all segments of the community, including—but by no means limited to—members of Occupy Oakland. When it became obvious that no police report was forthcoming, the crowd began to chant, “Where’s Howard Jordan?” The council attempted to reconvene and introduce the next item, which was a resolution to name Oakland as an “International City of Peace.” Although the irony may have been lost on the council, it was not lost on the crowd. The next chant became the familiar standby: “No justice, no peace.” Council president Larry Reid abruptly adjourned the meeting, leaving the Blueford family without answers and the remainder of city business undone. A few days later, OPD leaked a “new” report that Alan Blueford’s fingerprints had been found on a gun at the scene. The Blueford family quickly responded, saying that OPD was continuing to slander their son and that the timing of the leak was suspicious and self-serving, given OPD’s ongoing inability to produce a police report.

The Bluefords and their supporters—in particular, members of the interfaith community—have vowed to return to the next city council meeting on Tuesday, October 2nd. Anticipating that another large crowd of people might show up and demand accountability from their elected representatives, City Administrator Deanna Santana is attempting to limit the number of people allowed to attend the meeting. In a series of off-the-record meetings with other high-level city officials, Ms. Antoinette Santana has proposed that the balcony area of the chambers be closed, reducing the current 214 seats by about half. She also wants to bar citizens from standing in the chambers or congregating immediately outside the doors, which has been a longstanding tradition. Instead, overflow crowds would be diverted to rooms with video feeds (and, of course, no access to the council members safely ensconced in chambers with a manageable group of 100 or so).

Edited to add this lovely bit of doublespeak:

“The primary goal is to make sure the city’s business moves forward and the public has a chance to participate in the political process,” city spokeswoman Karen Boyd said.

You can imagine how Oakland is reacting to this latest fascist fantasy dreamed up by the gang that brought you Scott Olsen. Stay tuned for an update on Tuesday.

 

 

#Occupy Oakland: Racial Profiling? FTP (FILM the Police) UPDATED

11:57 am in Uncategorized by hotflashcarol

We need a fucking gang injunction against y’all!

This is video from Occupy Oakland livestreamer and hella courageous citizen Jessica Hollie (aka Bella Eiko), who was apparently downtown for the “Justice for Alan Blueford” rally that had taken place earlier yesterday afternoon at Oscar Grant Plaza. Jessica confronts police who have just detained two young black men at gunpoint. I strongly encourage anyone who has ever fantasized about standing up to the police to watch all 17-1/2 minutes; you’ll get a lesson in defending your rights and a reminder that these thugs are supposed to be accountable to us.

This is not an isolated incident in Oakland; we’ve all seen it happen over and over. Cops jump out of cars with their guns drawn in the middle of a busy intersection, seemingly oblivious to the fact that they are putting everyone in danger. Jessica’s fear that the pigs are going to shoot one of these two men as they try to obey complex instructions to put their hands up and walk backward to the left is not at all misplaced. I suspect her accusation of racial profiling is not misplaced either. It’s not clear what the men were detained for; at least one of them was released within the 17-minute timeframe of this video.

OPD makes the news virtually every day for some new or ongoing outrage. So far this week, they’ve been on TV for posting photos in a patrol lineup room of Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and Judge Thelton Henderson that were defaced in a “racist and inappropriate” manner (Henderson is the African-American judge who will decide whether a federal monitor takes control of the department). And for wasting millions of dollars in technology purchases for items that have gone unused from vendors who have gone out of business—while at the same time laying off police for lack of funds. And it’s only Wednesday; stay tuned.

UPDATE: Jessica is taking a lot of heat for her video, particularly for her language. Here is her response:

#Occupy Oakland: Justice May Never Get Here

12:16 am in Uncategorized by hotflashcarol

The first FDL diary I wrote about Occupy Oakland, back in November, was called “Justice Is Not Here Yet.” The title was based on a quote from longtime, prominent Oaklander Dorothy King to City Councilwoman Desley Brooks. Desley asked her old friend Dorothy why she needed to continue to camp in Oscar Grant Plaza; after all, she had made her point by simply being there. Dorothy responded by saying: “Justice is not here yet.”

I fear that justice may never find its way to Oakland. Almost every diary I have written since is about the latest injustice in our unfair city. Unfortunately, this diary is no different.

Oakland Police Department

Photo by vision63

The Oakland Police Department Shoots Itself in the Foot. Literally.

Early on the morning of Sunday, May 5, 2012, Oakland police officer Miguel Masso shot and killed Alan Dewayne Blueford, an 18-year-old African American man, in East Oakland. Initial police reports (dutifully reported as true facts by MSM stenographers) indicated that officers on patrol came upon three young men, one of whom they believed was armed with a concealed weapon. The suspect fled, was pursued by one officer, and a shootout ensued. The suspect shot the officer and the officer returned fire, shooting the suspect three times. Both the officer and the suspect were rushed to Highland Hospital. The officer had non-life-threatening injuries to his lower extremities; the suspect was pronounced dead at the hospital. In the next day or two, the suspect was identified as Alan Blueford, who was on juvenile probation for burglary. So, to summarize: notorious East Oakland neighborhood; armed thug; heroic cop who barely escapes with his life. Game, set, match.

Except that’s not what happened. Not at all. The truth has begun to trickle out like Alan Blueford’s blood as he lay wounded and dying on the street for four hours. The gun allegedly found at the scene and allegedly belonging to Alan and reported as being as few as five feet away from Alan’s body or as many as 30 feet away from it—had never been fired. Officer Masso (whose name has not been officially released) shot himself in the foot.

Alan’s two friends were held by police for the next six hours. Alan’s parents were not aware that their son was dead until his friends were released from police custody. The friends told a different story, a story about how three teenagers were waiting on a corner around midnight for “some girls in a white Chevy” to pick them up, as Alan had told his father in the last phone call he made before he died.  A story about how the cops rolled up on them with their lights out and their guns drawn, and how Alan did, in fact, run, because he was scared.

On May 15, 2012, the remarkably composed family of Alan Blueford appeared before the Oakland City Council. Alan’s mother, Jeralyn, told the council about how she and her husband, Adam, had rushed to the police station upon learning about Alan’s death from his friends. About how they had been told to “go sit down” and were forced to wait for two hours before someone finally came and told them that their son had been involved in a “gun battle” with police. Alan’s cousins talked about what a wonderful young man Alan had been, how he’d just been to the prom at Skyline High School and how he’d had been looking forward to graduating. The meeting was packed with people who had come to bear witness to yet another family’s grief, grief inflicted by OPD. We were all overcome by their courage in the face of such injustice, such outrage, such sorrow.

Except for the council members, many of whom fidgeted with their phones and seemed to be engaged in other, more pressing business. Councilwoman Desley Brooks, to her credit, at least demanded to know why OPD Chief Howard Jordan was not present to answer the Blueford’s questions. Unfortunately, Desley’s concern seemed to be about whether or not OPD had followed the established protocol for informing yet another mother that her young black son was dead at the hands of the police—rather than questioning the perfectly insane notion that such a protocol should even exist.
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Update on Kelly Thomas: Cops held over for trial

10:09 pm in Uncategorized by hotflashcarol

Love for a Stranger

August 14, 2011 Fullerton Rally in support of Kelly Thomas. Photo by infinityofideas.

After a three-day preliminary hearing, Orange County Superior Court Judge Walter Schwarm ordered Officer Manuel Ramos and Cpl. Jay Patrick Cicinelli to stand trial in the killing of Kelly Thomas. The almost-impossible-to-watch video of that fatal beating was released on Monday.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackaucka has not ruled out filing additional charges against one or more of the other four cops involved in the beating:

Kelly Thomas’ family and supporters have called for the arrest of Officer Joseph Wolfe, one of six police officers involved in the fatal altercation. In a video of the beating, Wolfe is seen striking Thomas. Wolfe and Officer Manuel Ramos, who is facing charges of second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter, were the officers on the scene.

Rackauckas did not name any additional officers, but when asked specifically about Wolfe, he said: “We are not done with this case…. We are still considering all the evidence.”

According to a long exposé in the OC Weekly, Fullerton’s “Bullies in Blue” have a history of brutality and misconduct that goes back several generations. Officer Kenton Hampton, for instance, one of the six cops involved in Kelly Thomas’ death, has been bullying and arresting citizens on false pretenses for at least the past couple of years but has never been disciplined by the department. Hampton is facing at least one lawsuit; additional suits on behalf of Kelly and another victim of Hampton’s brutality are apparently forthcoming.

* * *

Fullerton’s former police chief, Pat McKinley, was an LAPD cop for 30 years and helped form the nation’s first SWAT team to crack down on the Black Panthers. He later made a name for himself in Fullerton by using a random killing as an excuse to raid dozens of houses in a predominately Latino neighborhood. McKinley is now a Fullerton City Councilman, one of three facing a recall over the Kelly incident. Here he is talking shit on CNN last summer about “the gravity of the situation” and how “witness statements are often flamboyant and exaggerated.”

* * *

There’s an innocent explanation for the letters found in Kelly’s backpack but the cops preferred to cover it up and let people think Kelly had stolen mail. From the above-mentioned OC Weekly article:

At a bus stop, a local attorney approached Ron Thomas, Kelly’s father, to tell him he felt detectives had prodded him to pin wrongdoing on his son. Police found papers from the man’s firm in Thomas’ backpack, so they contacted him. The attorney told them he had thrown the papers away in a trashcan on a public sidewalk, meaning Kelly had every right to pick them up. Goodrich says a detective did call to ask about the letter in Thomas’ possession, but, he contends, it was just a typical interview and there was no coaxing involved.

* * *

Mental health professionals are hoping, once again, that the Kelly Thomas murder might result in reform. That Fullerton PD might, for instance, actually use the training that they have already received on how to interact with the homeless and mentally ill people they are sworn to protect and serve. In Los Angeles, police are required to alert a mental health evaluation unit when they encounter someone suspected of suffering from mental illness. Imagine how things might have gone differently if Officer Ramos had called in a professional to assist with the questioning of Kelly. Instead he called in five more bullies and they killed a man who had done nothing more than fish some papers out of the trash and stick them in his backpack.

“Dad, they are killing me” – Video released of Fullerton PD beating Kelly Thomas to death

10:54 pm in Uncategorized by hotflashcarol

Actual arrest starts at about 14 minutes in, or you can watch a shorter version of the video here.

Photos of Kelly before and after he was murdered by Fullerton police.

Today was the first day of the preliminary hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence to try Fullerton, CA police officers Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli in the July 5, 2011 beating death of Kelly Thomas, a 37-year-old homeless schizophrenic man. For those of you not familiar with this story, wikipedia offers a number of links. The surveillance video was released for the first time today, along with gruesome photos of what Kelly looked like after Manuel Ramos made good on his promise to “fuck him up” with his latex-covered fists.

But here’s all you really need to know. Kelly, a gentle soul who posed zero – let me repeat that - zero - threat to police or the community, was tortured for more than five minutes and then left in the gutter to die. By six fat fucking pigs (sorry, but I am not going to mince words here) who beat him with their sticks, tased him, suffocated him. And then called paramedics to come and give them bandaids for their scratches while Kelly lay forgotten.

A fire department captain testified today that until he arrived, nothing was being done for Kelly, who by then was unconscious (he never regained consciousness; his parents took him off life support five days later):

Capt. Rob Stancyk of the Fullerton Fire Department testified that seven or eight Fullerton police officers were standing around a bus depot when paramedics arrived, about 15 feet from Thomas, who he said was lying on the ground.

“Nothing was being done,” Stancyk said.

Stancyk testified that initially the officers on the scene were complaining about their injuries, but that then he turned and saw Thomas on the ground, barely breathing.

I watched the short version of this video (haven’t made it through the long one yet; afraid I will puke). And I saw a big thug begin to humiliate and threaten someone who didn’t stand a chance, someone who was going to get the crap beat out of him no matter what he said, no matter whether he figured out how to comply with the thug’s orders or not.

My recent interactions with cops at Occupy have given me this sixth sense for when they are about to get out of control. You can feel it coming. They turn into animals. They pile on. There are six grown men here and every single one of them does nothing but make the situation worse. They should all be charged with Kelly’s death.

I have never held cops in much regard; my mother was a police dispatcher in a small town and she used to get them to follow me around, back when I was a juvenile delinquent. Now that I am a grown-up delinquent, I like them even less. I know there have always been bad cops (Mr. HFC watches Police Story reruns every night and it’s a running theme), but it seems like now there are so few good ones. Or at least any that will draw the line at nearly beating to death a skinny, homeless man calling out for his dad, and then leaving him to die while they lick their wounds. Any one of those fucking monsters could have attempted to calm the situation and make sure that Kelly was able to breathe. Are they really that big of pussies that it takes all six of them to arrest someone?

I’d also like to challenge the idea that the minute the police make contact with you, you somehow become their slave and you must do every single thing they say to keep from being beaten to death. Go limp, don’t struggle, even with six thugs sitting on you and twisting your limbs around. Try to imagine what your reaction might be to a cop telling you he’s going to fuck you up with his fists, when you’ve never posed any threat to him. Try to imagine the terror you must feel when he calls in his fellow subhumans and they beat you and tase you and wrestle you to the ground and sit on you. Now add some mental illness to the mix.

And people wonder why we have a weekly Fuck the Police march here in Oakland.

Feds Raid Oaksterdam; Richard Lee Being Detained (Update 3)

2:04 pm in Uncategorized by hotflashcarol

(photo: cannabisculture/flivkr)

(photo: cannabisculture/flickr)

Federal agents from the IRS, the DEA and the U.S. Marshals Service have raided several properties owned by Richard Lee, including Oaksterdam University, and Coffee Shop Blue Sky. Lee is being detained at his home and four marijuana nursery workers are also being detained.

According to the SF Chronicle:

The raid comes fewer than three weeks after Oakland city officials issued preliminary approvals for four new medical marijuana dispensaries, even as federal prosecutors exerted increased pressure on medical cannabis dispensaries, forcing hundreds to close.

Federal officials say they are concerned about dispensaries that are getting too big or too close to parks or schools. They have long asserted that federal law trumps the state’s 1996 voter-approved law legalizing medical cannabis.

Pioneering marijuana legalization activist Richard Lee is the President of Oaksterdam University and is highly respected in Oakland.

The 11 AM news is reporting that there are numerous protestors right outside. No arrests have been made so far. Federal agents are insisting that everything is under seal and they can’t comment. Other raids are being undertaken in Oakland although agents will not divulge that information either.

I’ll be updating this diary as events unfold.

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