----- Original Message -----
From: H Jones
Sent: Friday, March 07, 2003 4:48 PM
Subject: [patrickcrusade] Fwd: Black Journalists Arrested, Brutalized by Police
Date: Fri, 07 Mar 2003 16:48:13 -0500
San Francisco Bay View Journalists
Arrested, Brutalized at Peace March
Two of the three people arrested at the peace march yesterday in Oakland were Bay View editors JR and Ra'shida. All day today the Bay View has been swamped with press calls. Media find the story interesting because the marchers were mostly young and Black, unlike those in other anti-war protests so far, the police were unusually and extremely aggressive, journalists were singled out for attack (we've just learned that JR's camera was run over by a police motorcycle) and, of course, the backdrop is a Bay Area caught up in unprecedented police scandals.
The media are also interested in our perspective because the truth is diametrically opposed to the police statements they heard -- and believed -- immediately after the march. The San Francisco Chronicle, for example, reported, "Police arrested three marchers at Jack London Square who charged a police motorcade, said Oakland Police Deputy Chief Patrick Haw". That statement is absurd -- almost silly -- on its face.
TV anchors, parroting the police, reported that the people arrested had been throwing rocks and bottles. That's hard to do with a camera in your hand.
Ra'shida and JR were bailed out of jail and have been interviewed all day. They are very sore but more determined than ever to fight for justice and use the press attention to enlighten the people. Here's the Bay View press release and some other coverage.
For Immediate Release
March 5, 2003
San Francisco Bay View newspaper
Black Journalists Arrested at Peace March
Oakland -- March 5 marked the day for the National Student Strike against the war. High school and college students from San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and around the Bay Area walked out of classes today in support of peace. Instead of protecting this peaceful protest, however, Oakland Police marred the day by brutally attacking the youth and several elderly people accompanying them.
Gathering in downtown Oakland's Frank Ogawa Plaza, the protest began peacefully with police looking on. As 300 to 400 students, most from local high schools, marched peacefully down Broadway toward Jack London Square, carrying a banner, singing and chanting in the tradition of nonviolent protest, members of the Oakland Police Department began following the protesters, and the number of officers steadily increased.
Once the students reached Jack London Square, police began attacking them, running into the demonstrators with their motorcycles.
Ra'shida Askey, managing editor and staff writer for the San Francisco Bay View newspaper, asked officers why they were running over the young marchers. In response, a black female police officer grabbed Ra'shida by the neck and placed her in a choke-hold.
The Bay View's associate editor, JR Valrey, who was also covering the march, came to his colleague's aid. At this point, several officers swarmed both JR and Ra'shida, knocking them to the ground and beating them both.
Ra'shida sustained the most injuries.
JR and Ra'shida were placed in a paddy wagon. When another arrested demonstrator, Kelly Duncan, joined them, the Black woman police officer holding her remarked, "It was three of them! I should have been able to use my gun".
The two Bay View journalists are currently being detained at the Oakland City Jail and have been refused release on their own recognizance. They are being charged with obstructing and battering a police officer and resisting arrest. The extent of their injuries is unknown.
These unprovoked attacks are yet another example of the out of control conduct of the Oakland Police Department and police departments across the nation. The ferocity and severity of the attack on these two Black journalists, representing a Black newspaper, and on young demonstrators -- predominantly Black high school students -- looks suspiciously like a case of racial profiling.
In the Bay Area, known for racial diversity, political activism and overwhelming opposition to U.S. plans for war, such attacks on freedom of speech and of the press are intolerable.
In a show of support, please share this information widely and make your opinions known to the Oakland Mayor's Office at (510) 238-3141 and the Oakland Chief of Police at (510) 238-3365.
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San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center
Original article click here
Wednesday, March 05, 2003 -- Oakland High Schoolers reclaim the streets demanding "Books not Bombs!" Hundreds of Oakland High School students were peacefully marching down Broadway towards Jack London Square to protest the administration' war drive amidst sweeping cuts to education.
When they got to Jack London, they turned around and started to head back up Broadway. When the march got to 2nd street, two motorcycle cops lurched into the crowd and began belligerently revving their engines as if they were in a sideshow.
It was a very dangerous situation as the crowd was very thick, and other motorcycle cops were actually doing traffic control alongside the march, so many students probably weren't concerned about the two motorcycle cops that were belligerently penetrating the crowd. They would rev their engines, and then lurch forward at
One of them was yelling for people not to continue down Broadway, but his voice was drowned out by the roars and chants from the march (not to mention the roar from his motorcycle).
Suddenly, a female african-american was being pushed around by at least three different police officers, one of them who was an african-american female who had also been on a motorcycle. The youth was thrown forcibly to the ground and handcuffed, and several other youths were beaten by night-sticks as the cops created a perimeter around the scene. I believe that at least one other person was taken into custody.
I am not sure what initiated the fracas, but it was a very dangerous scene as unarmed Oakland youths and event organizers engaged in shouting matches with well-armed OPD goons.
I can say that the cops confiscated several signs and flyers from marchers, and threw them down onto the ground in the middle of the street, causing quite a mess.
The march returned to Frank Ogawa Plaza, where it had started, and no other incidents happened as of 2:15PM.
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Hip Hop Journalists Brutalized By Police
by Davey D
There's some major drama jumping off on both sides of the Bay [San Francisco and Oakland] as Hip Hop activist find themselves at odds with the police ... Yesterday in Oakland 300-500 high school students and Hip Hoppers from groups like Youth Force, SOUL, Street Academy and numerous other organizations took to the street as they walked out of classes and work to partake in a Anti-War demonstration ... The Walk outs were part of the planned national Anti-war demonstrations that took place all over the country.
The walk-outs in Oakland were of particular importance because it marked one of the first time that you saw large numbers of Black and Latino youth from the hood come out and voice their opinion about the War. In the past few weeks there had been some concern that the large anti-war demonstrations did not have folks from the hood participating ... Part of the reason is that many of the marches were taking place across the Bay in SF. Yesterday's event was different as folks from around the way came out in full force. Maybe that's what led to the drama that took place ...
According to a number of participants a number of police officers on motorcycles followed the group as they started walking from down town Oakland to the historic Jack London Square. Apparently the march was taking place without a permit and the police felt they needed to monitor things.. Long time Hip Hop journalist and community activist JR who was taking pictures and covering the march for the SF Bayview newspaper noted the irony of getting a permit to walk down the street and let your voices be heard. Its not like these groups were rioting, looting causing trouble or even holding up traffic. They simply assembled, which is their right, and let their voices be heard ...
As the demonstration started to grow in size, the motorcycle police moved in and attempted to use crowd control tactics and split up the group. According to several witness, young high school kids suddenly found themselves being shoved and hit by officers on the motorcycles in the process. This activity set things off as folks began to yell at the officers. One young lady was pushed down on the ground by one officer which prompted demonstrators to yell even more.
A young Hip Hop writer named Rashida ran to the aid of that fallen woman only to be confronted by another officer who tackled her to the ground and chipped her tooth. JR, who was traveling with Rashida, stepped forth to see what was going on. He wanted to make sure that what he was seeing would be documented on film. He was carrying a camera. He suddenly found his camera being snatched from him and he himself being slammed to the ground with an officer putting his knee on his neck. These harrowing images were caught on film by others and JR was shown on the evening news being dragged to the ground and arrested. Both he and Rashida were arrested and accused of kicking a police officer. For those who don't know JR is around 5"4" and skinny and would hardly be one to simply run up and start attacking an officer.
He phoned into our Hard Knock Radio show from city jail and emphatically explained that many people were in fear of their lives when the officers started becoming aggressive. He pointed out that kids were being run over and shoved by the motorcycles and the police seemed bent on intimidating people. He also noted that
most of the participants were not out in the streets attempted to get arrested and do some sort of civil disobedience. In fact it had been advised to a lot of the mostly Black and Latino crowd to not go out and try and get some sort of police record. That can only have negative effects in the age of Homeland Security and the Patriot Act. He also felt that their were enough Black folks caught up in the system and we don't need any more.
JR who has been covering a lot of stories around the activities of Fred Hampton Jr including the recent assassination attempts as well as a number of police brutality stories was well aware of how things can be for young cats from the hood to be caught up in the system. However, he noted that it was extremely important that folks come out and be a part of the national Anti-war Demonstrations. As he pointed out, should war break out its going to be a whole lot of folks from the hood who will be on the front line due to our large numbers in the armed forces. Hence we have a vested interest to weigh in.
JR also felt that the police were definitely trying to send a strong message to Oakland youth with their aggressive tactics. It appears that they were attempting to discourage them not to participate and let their voices be heard. In fact as he was being driven to the police station, JR noted that one of the officers callously
remarked that he should've 'used their gun' ... I guess you can't get any clearer with that message.
If you contrast what went down in Oakland at 1 o'clock in the afternoon with the anti-war demonstrations that took place in SF during rush hour you will see the picture. In the SF demonstration a contingent of mostly white youth took their antiwar protest to the streets and blocked a main intersection causing traffic to back up. Police on motorcycles did not roll through and brutalize the demonstrators. Perhaps that has to do with the fact that SFPD has been underfire over the past week. But so has Oakland with the infamous Rider case on trial. We will keep you posted on the outcome.
As of last night lawyers from the Lawyers Guild who are now looking into the case reported that JR and Rashida were not allowed out on their own recognizance and will most likely have to post bail. On the radio show JR asked that fellow journalist and news outlets monitor this story closely and spread the word. Because JR has boldly and extensively covered a lot of police brutality cases there was concern that he may have been targeted. He also asked that everyone else raise questions to Mayor Jerry Brown and other city officials to see why this went down. How does a peaceful anti-war demonstration involving young people who are often accused of being apathetic and apolitical result in three arrests, a young woman getting her tooth chipped and someone's camera being trashed?
Call the SF Bayview at 415-671-0449 for more info or drop them an email at email@example.com
The Oakland Mayor's office is 510-238-3141.