Thursday, January 8, 2009

A night sky full of helicopters.


In the early morning hours of New Year's Day, a BART police officer shot and killed Oscar Grant III, a butcher from Hayward, at the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland, one stop south of the Lake Merritt station near my house. Someone captured the incident on a cell phone camera. Grant was already face down and his hands behind his back when he was shot. The officer has made no statement, but yesterday resigned. A week later, BART police have made no statement, but ask for calm.

Last night, I came home from Fremont on BART at about 6:00 pm to discover there was a protest in progress. It started at the Fruitvale station and marched north, past my apartment building near Lake Merritt and finished farther north, near downtown Oakland. Mayor Dellums joined the march and gave a speech asking for calm. A group of protesters, who allegedly organized at Revolution Books in Berkeley, broke away from the main protest later in the evening at about 8:00 and began randomly attacking property downtown, near the BART station one stop north of my neighborhood, including storefronts and parked cars.

I do not qualify as an eyewitness to any of this. I just live here. Coming off BART at dusk to see a night sky full of helicopters and police blocking off streets does not give people at ground level the feeling that the authorities are there to protect the public.

9 comments:

Karen Zipdrive said...

Scary.

CDP said...

That is horrible, and I can't believe this is the first I've heard or read of it. I hope for peace for Oakland and for Mr. Grant's family.

Lockwood said...

From what I saw on CNN, it looks like those protests are escalating towards riots, and the police are not helping matters. I was talking with one of the owners of my favorite coffee shop a few minutes ago, and commented that if I was in the neighborhood, I'd be rioting too. You just put that idea into a starker light... in reality, I'd be holed up in a closet somewhere, hoping things didn't get -really- out of hand. Good luck.

Mauigirl said...

Scary, sorry to hear about this.

Matty Boy said...

Things have calmed down this evening. This isn't Ramadi. I am of the opinion that the taste for revolution has been completely bred out of Americans.

Lisa said...

What a sad story for the whole community and the family. You're right Matty Boy. We are comfortably numb.

dguzman said...

Wow, that's scary. And I agree on the protest/revolution gene being pretty much bred out of us. Perhaps that's what all those "preservatives" in food really do.

Matty Boy said...

The family has asked for calm, which is to their credit. Sounds like Oscar was a good kid. BART Police, on the other hand, the less said the better.

no_slappz said...

It makes me think of OJ and how millions of people were outraged that he was accused of butchering his ex-wife and her friend, Ron Goldman. It took until OJ was acquitted of the double homicide for the country to regain control of itself.