-----FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE-----
SUNSET ALTAR, CANDLELIGHT VIGIL FOR OSCAR GRANT AND ALL VICTIMS OF POLICE VIOLENCE ON THE EVE OF JOHANNES MEHSERLE'S TRIAL; PRESS CONFERENCE
Tuesday, June 1st, starting at 8 p.m.
12th & Oak Streets, in front of the Oakland District Attorney's Office
Contact: Rachel Jackson (510) 390-6420
In the wee hours of New Year's Day, 2009, on the dawn of Barack Obama's inauguration and amidst murmurings in the media about a "post-racial" America, Oscar Grant, a working-class youth of African descent, was fatally and publicly shot in the back by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle. Oscar, newly a father, was unarmed, compliant, and laying face down when executed. Just seconds before the deadly shots rang out, countless individuals (whose voices were captured via cell phone and immortalized along with the last moments of Oscar's brief life) could be heard loudly protesting the BART police officers' violent treatment of Oscar and his friends.
June 2nd marks the first day of jury selection in Mehserle's trial for murder -- a trial unprecedented in the history of California and in Oakland. Never before has a police officer in this state been criminally charged with murder. That the indictment of Mehserle should originate in Oakland -- where the notorious Oakland Riders, a gang of so-called renegade cops, were defended against criminal charges several years ago by Mehserle's attorney, Michael Rains; and where killer-cop Patrick Gonzales continues to terrorize the streets with impunity -- makes the trial all the more unprecedented.
Prior to the beginning of jury selection, on June 1st, in the aftermath of the brutal killing of seven-year-old Aiyana Jones by the Detroit police, community members in Oakland will participate in a vigil for Oscar Grant and all those whose lives have been cut down by officers sworn to "serve and protect." Persons fatally shot by the police include in recent memory Oakland residents Gary King Jr., Jody Woodfox, Caspar Banjo, Jose Luis Buenrostro, Brownie Polk, Cammerin Boyd, Andrew Moppin, and several others; whose communities remain oppressed and starved for resources in a region that fancies itself "progressive."
The vigil will take place in front of the office of Oakland District Attorney Nancy O'Malley, who holds herself out as a victims' rights advocate. Further information is available at http://www.oaklandforjustice.org/