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Justice for Oscar Grant III and reparations to families of all victims of police violence: put the state on trial

This article was originally published on UhuruNews.com in January 2009 and is being reprinted to remind our readers to remember the struggle being led by the Oakland branch of the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM).

We must keep alive all struggles against police violence and the people's movement under leadership of revolutionary mass organizations.
 
The latest news is that the mother of Oscar Grant’s young child received more than a million dollar settlement from the Bay Area Rapid Transit authority.
 
However, the killer Johannes Mehserle's case has been transferred to Los Angeles.
 
There have been three hearings, the last on March 26.
 
Defense lawyers have asked the judge to allow them to question their attitude toward the police in a effort to disqualify jurors.
 
The next hearing is scheduled for May 7.
 
This change of venue is reminiscent of the Rodney King case in which the police were acquitted. We must be vigilant in this case! 
 
In the early morning hours of New Year’s Day, 2009, white BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) cop Johannes Mehserle stood over Oscar Grant III and shot him in the back, after having forced him onto his belly on the platform of the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland, California.
 
Mehserle killed Grant in full view of his friends and other BART riders.
 
Just minutes prior, a swarm of BART police officers had brutally wrested a group of young African men from the train as they were headed home from their New Year ’s Eve celebration.
 
In the following days, video footage from numerous cell phones and cameras surfaced showing the details of the execution.
 
Expressions of outrage populated the Internet showing a family picture of Oscar Grant III smiling proudly with his four year old daughter Tatiana at his side.
 
A picture emerged of a young man who worked at a grocery store in Oakland, was a doting father, loved to fish and was loved by a large community of family, friends and acquaintances.
 
Community organizations, groups and leaders kicked into gear, organizing protests and demonstrations, calling for justice, demanding the arrest of the killer cop and calling for the BART cops to be disarmed.
 
Some, mostly white outsiders, to our community have disrupted these protests with acts of vandalism targeting African, Asian and other businesses in downtown Oakland, resulting in the further criminalization of our community.
 
Leaders, subsequently, condemned the violence at the hands of outsiders, but also condemned resistance that was threatening to erupt from our African working class, who has suffered decades of police and state terror.
 
International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) understands that the state sanctioned murder of Oscar Grant III--a young African man in his prime--is nothing new.
 
Grant’s murder can be added to a long list of police killing African people in Oakland, California, including Jody “Mack” Woodfox, Casper Banjo, Gary King Jr., Patrick Gaston and many, many others across the country.
 
Countless police killings and beatings of African people go unnoticed or ignored by much of the public.
 
BART cops shot Jerold Hall in 1992 in the back, as he tried to leave the train station.
Oftentimes, African people are blamed for our own demise as the story of what actually happened is left for the killers to tell with full complicity from the media, the white population and the neocolonial leadership.
 
As a result of the peoples’ camera cell phones and video cameras, it is clear to the world that the state brutally murdered Oscar Grant.
 
It will take a powerful movement, organized under the leadership of the African working class, to end the public policy of police containment of our besieged African community and to challenge our people’s dire conditions in Oakland and throughout the world, as we struggle for the liberation of Africa and African people.
 
InPDUM calls on African people to join our international organization and to unite with our revolutionary national democratic program.
 
Point number two states, “We demand community control of the police and the immediate withdrawal of the terroristic police and military troops from the African Community.”
 
We understand that the execution of Oscar Grant III was not the result of "poor training" on the part of the police but the result of the policy of police containment of our African community, a community that has been under siege for four decades, following the U.S. government’s COINTELPRO program that destroyed our Black Revolution.
 
COINTELPRO decimated the Black Power Movement of the 1960’s through the assassinations of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr, Lil Bobby Hutton in Oakland, California and countless other individuals and leaders.
 
Beginning in the 1980’s, the U.S. government began bringing a derivative of cocaine called “crack” into the African community, serving the dual purpose of disrupting the African community--already demoralized by the military assault on our movement--and filling up the U.S. prisons with over one million of our people.
 
Throughout this country, the U.S. government has put in place neocolonial leadership to further derail our struggle.
 
Here in Oakland, we have Ronald Dellums, a black mayor who serves the interests of the white power system.
 
Up until now, Dellums has remained silent about the police murders that have taken place under his leadership.
 
Even though in a budget crisis, the city of Oakland, under Dellums, continues to pay out millions of dollars in police brutality settlements to the families of the victims of police violence, yet never takes responsibility for its corrupt and brutal police department.
 
After overtime pay, Oakland police officers sometimes earn up to $200,000 annually, in a city where one in five families live on less than $5,000 a year.
 
The Oakland Police Department is known for its violence against the poor and oppressed African community and was the basis for Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale to form the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense in 1966.
 
In the past several years, the “Oakland Riders” were exposed as four cops who fabricated, planted evidence and brutalized suspects in the African community of West Oakland. Most recently, officers were found lying on search warrants used to raid homes in the African community of East Oakland.
 
The African People’s Socialist Party formed InPDUM in 1991 to defend the democratic rights of the African community and to push back the counterinsurgency. Also, InPDUM seeks to build the capacity of the African working class movement—having been crushed by the U.S. government—in order to forward our interests as a people within the context of the African liberation movement led by our Party.
 
We call for unity with the African working class community’s ability to lead our own struggle.
While white and other so-called anarchists may hate the white ruling class state, this hatred does not automatically make them revolutionaries.
 
White people must take responsibility for being on the pedestal of our oppression.
The actions that anarchists and outsiders commit will cause more chaos, destruction and increased state attacks against the African community.
 
The actions of these anarchists are counterrevolutionary, anti-African, arrogant and reckless.
We are calling on our allies to take a principled stand under the leadership of the African working class, to join the InPDUM and the Uhuru Solidarity Movement (USM) to win other white people to the strategy of the African community to build white solidarity and a stand for reparations.
 
Join the InPDUM and join the USM and all endorsers of the march on Monday, January 19, the holiday celebrating the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr.
 
On Saturday, January 31, InPDUM in Oakland will hold a People’s Tribunal to put the state on trial for its crimes of genocide against the African community of Oakland. The tribunal will be held at 12 noon at the Uhuru House at 7911 MacArthur Blvd in East Oakland.
 
Demands
  1. Jail the Killer BART cops.
  2. Reparations to the family of Oscar Grant III and all families of the victims of police violence.
  3. End the policy of police containment of the African community.
  4. Economic development to the African community.
  5. Release all arrestees! Drop the charges!
oakland@inpdum.org, 510-569-9620
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