Wednesday, December 15, 2010

2010-12-15 "Demanding Justice for Derrick Jones" by Francois Hughes ["Oscar Grant Committee to stop Police Brutality and State Repression" member]
OAKLAND, Calif.--Some 75 protesters gathered at a City Council meeting on December 14 to protest the killing of Derrick Jones and the inaction of the city government in the face of racist police murder. Video and Photo
Derrick Jones was murdered on November 8 while running from police--he was shot eight times. It has been over a month since Derrick Jones was killed, but there has been no discipline or prosecution of Oakland police officers Omar Daza-Quiroz or Eriberto Perez-Angeles.
The Oakland police department had allegedly harassed Derrick ever since his family won a suit against the police 20 years ago, which resulted in the firing of two officers.
The rally was organized by the civil rights activist group By Any Means Necessary. Participants came from a number of groups, including many who have been organizing around the case of Oscar Grant, an unarmed man who was shot and killed by BART transit officer Johannes Mehserle in the early morning hours of January 1, 2009.
The protesters held a rally outside Oakland City Hall and then went inside for public comment. Inside, only 15 people were allowed to speak to the City Council--while the council allowed speaker after speaker from the Fruitvale Merchants' Association to ask for more police patrols in their neighborhood.
This was too much for those protesting Derrick's murder. Many could not keep silent and interjected with shouts of "No police!" and "Police don't make me safer!" After all of the merchants spoke, the council cut off public comment. Activists then raised fists and chanted "Justice for Derrick Jones." We flooded up the aisles to the front of the room.
The council would still not let the anyone from the crowd speak, but promised to have a meeting about Derrick Jones and police bias on December 16. The Council shut down discussion, saying that there "wasn't time."
Then, councilors proceeded to what they thought was the more important business--singing Christmas songs. A local choir filed into the chamber and led the city officials in song, complete with audience and council members jangling keys like bells. Those fighting against police murder regrouped outside to the sound of merry caroling and put their names down again to comment on the next item.
The council got an earful. Council member Desley Brooks and Jean Quan, the newly elected mayor of Oakland, couldn't muster the courage to look anyone in the eye. Ronald Cruz, a lawyer representing Derrick Jones' brother, Michael Jones, spoke to the Council about the case.
According to Cruz, police picked up Michael after a recent rally for his brother and charged Michael with driving while intoxicated. According to Ronald Cruz, "Then Oakland police told Michael Jones 'We'll kill your whole family,' and called him the n-word." Oakland police allegedly used similar tactics in the Oscar Grant case, with police repeatedly arresting, threatening and harassing Oscar's family and friends who witnessed his murder.
Derrick's family friend, Madison, also came to the stand. She talked about how well liked Jones was in his neighborhood. Jones ran a barbershop that was a community gathering point. Madison talked about Derrick's barbecues, the way he was "goofy" and how he used to feed homeless folks. She compared the treatment of Derrick Jones to the treatment of a pit bull recently shot by Oakland police. The pit bull was shot in the leg and survived, while Jones was shot eight times.
The Oakland police department is conducting it's own internal affairs investigation, but internal review is a sham. Even an independent review board (like exists San Francisco) or a police auditor (like exists in Sacramento) frequently do not punish crooked cops. In San Francisco, police will often quit before being judged, and then are able to keep their pensions and avoid sanction.
But as the Oscar Grant struggle has shown, mass mobilization can force the state to grant us a small bit of justice. Oscar Grant's murderer Johannes Mehserle received a sentence of two years in jail. This is, of course, not nearly enough. However, the fact that he was locked up at all is a rarity in police shootings.
If we win any justice for Derrick Jones it will only come through the same protests and mobilizations. This will have to start with people getting the word out and mobilizing--in churches, in streets and in schools. It will come through not being afraid to stand up and speak out, even if we have to yell over carols at City Council meeting.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Create a Copwatch team

These Streets Are Watching... This is like the Bat Signal... Anywhere you see this stencil, the Community is seeking watchers... DownLoad your own and put it out there...

Cop Watch Los Angeles
copwatchla @

Know Your Rights


It is very important that you understand why an officer is stopping someone and what their rights are when they are stopped. Determine exactly what kind of stop the officer is making.

Consensual Stop
This is when the cop approaches and begins talking to you. The cop may even ask to see your ID. You don’t have to show it. Ask the cop “Am I free to go?” or “Am I being detained?” You don’t have to talk to the cop or even remain in the area unless the cop says “No, you can’t go” and has a reasonable suspicion to detain you. However, the cop doesn’t have to tell you why you are being detained.

The police are allowed to detain you if they have a “reasonable suspicion” to believe that you have committed or are about to commit a crime. The officer must have some reason for stopping you. They can’t just say that you don’t look like you live in the neighborhood or that they “had a hunch”. The detention should be limited in its purpose and scope. They can conduct a pat search of the outside of your clothing in order to check for weapons, but you DO NOT HAVE TO CONSENT TO A SEARCH of your pockets or bags. You do not have to answer any questions except to identify yourself and give your address.

This means that you are in police custody and you are being charged with a crime. You will be thoroughly searched as part of the booking process. You have a right to know why you are being arrested. Penal Code section 841 says that “The person making the arrest must, on the request of the person he or she is arresting, inform the latter of the offense for which he or she is being arrested”. Even though police often won’t tell you, you have the right to remain silent and the right to a lawyer. Don’t give up these rights.

These are minor offenses such as jaywalking, illegal parking, open container of alcohol in public, being in certain parks after curfew, being a minor in possession of spray paint or large marking pens, etc. When an officer sees this kind of activity, s/he can ask to see ID. If you have ID and you do not have any outstanding warrants, the cop should just write you a ticket and be done with it. If you don’t have ID on you, the cop HAS THE OPTION OF TAKING YOU TO THE STATION TO VERIFY YOUR IDENTITY OR SIMPLY WRITING YOU A TICKET AND LETTING YOU GO. This is up to the officer. You aren’t supposed to have to go to jail for in- fractions in and of themselves. You would not expect to be searched during this kind of stop.

These are crimes punishable by up to a year in jail such as shoplifting, trespassing, resisting, delaying or interfering with an officer in the course of his/her duty. Expect that you will be searched, arrested and taken to jail until you are arraigned, bailed out or released on your own recognizance. There are certain misdemeanors where the officer has the discretion to write you a citation or to take you into custody. Remember-don’t talk to the officer about your case and do not discuss it with folks you meet in jail. Sometimes people in jail can be used to get information about your case (informants).

These are major crimes punishable by a year or more in prison. Murder, rape, robbery and many drug related crimes are considered to be felonies. Expect that you will be searched thoroughly and will be in custody at least until you are taken before a judge and allowed to enter a plea (this is arraignment).

Answering Questions
Legally, when a person is arrested or detained by a police officer, he or she does not have to answer any questions to the officer other than to provide a name and address. You have the right to remain silent, but DO NOT lie to a cop. That is a crime.

Resisting or Obstructing an Officer
Penal Code Section 148.a states that “every person who willfully resists, delays, or obstructs (any police officer) in the discharge or attempt to discharge” of his or her duty, is punishable by fine or imprisonment. The police will often threaten COPWATCHers with this charge, but remember you do have the right to observe as long as you are not attempting to interfere with the officer.

Use of Force to Effect Arrest
Section 835.a of the Penal Code explains that the only “legal” use of force by an officer is that used in order to attain an arrest. “Any peace officer who has reasonable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed a public offense may use reasonable force to effect the arrest, to prevent escape or to overcome resistance.”

Assault by an Officer
Police brutality is defined in the Penal Code as, “Police breaches of due process guaranteed by the physical abuse of citizens without legitimate cause.” Section 149 of the Penal Code makes it illegal for a cop to assault or beat any person “without lawful necessity.”

Police Search Powers
Police may detain someone if they have “reasonable suspicion” that specific facts connect that person to a specific crime. In this case, the cops can also pat someone down to feel for a weapon, and if they feel something that feels like a weapon, they can go into that person’s clothing to look for it. Otherwise the cops can only search someone’s pockets, back pack, or belongings if that person:
• Has been arrested for a specific crime,
• Has a search clause as a condition of probation, or
• Gives the police permission, which nobody is obliged to do.

Police Seizure Powers
Police may not confiscate someone’s belongings unless they are illegal or that person has been arrested for a crime. If possessions are confiscated, the California Penal Code entitles the owner to a receipt (1535) and a return of the possessions after the resolution of the case (1537). Any evidence obtained through the seizure may be suppressed from being used in court if the seizure was illegal. (1538.5)

Gang Profiling
Sometimes cops use petty laws to stop people in order to take their pictures. These photos are often used to create files on people and to portray people as “gang members”. Detaining people to take photos merely because they are suspected gang members is impermissible. (People vs. Rodriguez (1993) 21 Cal.App.4th 232.)

It is important in these cases that your response is loud enough for the video camera to pick up so it can be used as evidence.

1. They refuse to give you their name and badge number
Reply: California State Penal Code Section 830.10 states that all employed peace officers in the jurisdiction of the State of California must give proper identification by either their name or badge number to any California citizen inquiring.
Reference: 830.10. Any uniformed peace officer shall wear a badge, nameplate, or other device which bears clearly on its face the identification number or name of the officer.

2. They question your right to observe
Reply: Our right to watch from a reasonable distance and record your activity as a public officer is protected under the U.S. Constitution and federal law under the citizen’s right to “freedom of assembly”.

3. “You’re resisting arrest.”
Reply: No, we’re not. No one here is using or threatening to use physical force against any officer here, nor are we creating any substantial risk of causing you physical injury.
Reference: 835a. Any peace officer who has reasonable cause to believe that the person to be arrested has committed a public offense may use reasonable force to effect the arrest, to prevent escape or to overcome resistance.

4. “This is an unlawful assembly.”
Reply: No, it’s not. We are not starting a riot. We are not recklessly using physical force or violence or threatening to use force or violence.
Reference: 407. Whenever two or more persons assemble together to do an unlawful act, or do a lawful act in a violent, boisterous, or tumultuous manner, such assembly is an unlawful assembly.
Note: According to CA Penal Code Section 726 and 727, officers must give a warning to “disperse” before actually arresting people who are “unlawfully assembled.”
726. Where any number of persons, whether armed or not, are unlawfully or riotously assembled, the sheriff of the county and his or her deputies, the officials governing the town or city, or any of them, must go among the persons assembled, or as near to them as possible, and command them, in the name of the people of the state, immediately to disperse.

5. “You’re committing disorderly conduct.”
Reply: No, we’re not. We are not refusing any order to disperse. We are stepping away as you requested, we’re not in your way, and we’re not obstructing public safety. We are standing a safe distance away.

6. “You’re obstructing a public thoroughfare (street, sidewalk, etc).”
Reply: No, we’re not. We are not willfully and maliciously obstructing the free movement of any person on any street, sidewalk, or other public place. We are not creating a public hazard or an inconvenience. We are performing a public service.
Reference: 647c. Every person who willfully and maliciously obstructs the free movement of any person on any street, sidewalk, or other public place or on or in any place open to the public is guilty of a misdemeanor. Nothing in this section affects the power of a county or a city to regulate conduct upon a street, sidewalk, or other public place or on or in a place open to the public.

7. “You’re interfering with a police officer.”
Reply: No, we’re not. We are not obstructing, resisting, or delaying you. We are not threatening any officer’s safety. All we are doing is legally observing you and recording your actions.
Reference: 148. (a) (1) Every person who willfully resists, delays, or obstructs any public officer, peace officer, or an emergency medical technician, as defined in Division 2.5 (commencing with Section 1797) of the Health and Safety Code, in the discharge or attempt to discharge any duty of his or her office or employment, when no other punishment is prescribed, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment.

If you are arrested, the police must tell you why you are being arrested. You will want to get the badge number of the officer who is arresting you and remember- you have the right to remain silent. Don’t talk about your case to anyone except your lawyer- there are lots of video cameras and informants in jail! The court must provide you with a lawyer if you can’t afford one. You have the right to speak to a lawyer before arraignment. If you are arrested, you will be searched with or without your permission. As soon as possible, and in no case later than three hours after booking, you have the right to three phone calls: to a friend or relative, to a lawyer and to a bail bondsman.

Solano County

2010-12-12 "Vallejo police shoot, kill suspect in apparent act of self defense" by Lesha Ruffin from "Bay City News" and "News10/KXTV"
VALLEJO, CA - A suspect was shot and killed by Vallejo police on Saturday afternoon when he apparently threatened officers responding to calls for help, police said.
Officers were called to the area of Sonoma Boulevard and Kentucky Street in west Vallejo around 3 p.m. on reports of a man brandishing a gun, police said. A witness provided police with a description of the involved suspect and firearm, police said. He was seen fleeing into a nearby alley as they arrived at the scene, police said.
The suspect - a 34-year-old Vallejo man - was holding the gun when police began engaging him in the alley, police said. The suspect was shot by an officer at least once after the officer apparently had to act in self defense, police said.
The suspect was taken by air ambulance to a regional trauma center, but was later pronounced dead, police said. The man's name is being withheld pending notification of his next of kin, but police said he did have a criminal history outside of California. Police recovered the suspect's firearm at the scene, police said. The investigation into the shooting is ongoing by the Vallejo Police Department and the Solano County District Attorney's Office. An acquaintance of the suspect, Joseph Sanders, told News10 the man was a good person and a student at Napa Valley College.
Sanders said his friend was at the scene videotaping footage for a college video, when he was shot by police.

2010-12-16 "Candlelight vigil held for man shot by police" from "Vallejo Times-Herald" newspaper
Friends and family members of Guy Jarreau, 34, of Vallejo held a candlelight Wednesday night to remember the man killed by police in a downtown alley. Police shot Jarreau at about 3 p.m. Saturday, later saying that officers were responding to a report of a man brandishing a gun at a number of teenagers in the 2100 block of Sonoma Boulevard. Wednesday night, candles, letters, photographs, flower bouquets and prayer cards filled a small portion of the alley where the shooting occurred. Police say the officer fired in self-defense, fearing for his and the teenagers' safety. The shooting is under investigation. But Jarreau's friends at the vigil said the police account of the incident is wrong and that questions remain about what really happened. They said Jarreau was working in a friendly manner with the teens and filming an anti-violence video at the time.
The victim's mother flew from New Orleans following her son's death and spoke at the vigil, friend Steward Bunton said. "She wants the truth to come out," Bunton said. "I knew him. He was a good dude. He was very heart-felt and had no enemies. I knew him for a few years and I never saw him with a gun," Bunton added.
Another friend, Jimmy Brooks, said the group intends to hold regular vigils and other events to demand justice, and draw attention to police conduct in Jarreau's death. Neighborhood resident Linda Tarplin said she attended the vigil because she knew some of the teens who were running from the scene and who were hand-cuffed on the ground following the shooting. "It was a positive event they were trying to do here," she said.
Jarreau was a New Orleans native, and moved to Vallejo after being displaced by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Several friends at the vigil had worked with him at Wal-Mart. He had attended Napa Valley College for the past three years and was pursuing an Associate degree in Psychology. "It's sad the guy we knew got killed this way," Brooks said.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

2010-12-11 "Derrick Jones Didn't Have To Die!; In the face of brutality and repression, there is a mood of resistance in Oakland that is building"
Just days after Johannes Mehserle was given a mere two-year sentence for the cold-blooded murder of Oscar Grant (see “Token Sentence for Oscar Grant’s Killer: Anger in the Streets of Oakland”), another unarmed Black man has been killed by police in Oakland. On Monday, Nov. 8, two cops from the Oakland Police Department (OPD) shot and killed Derrick “Dee Dee” Jones, an act that drew immediate outrage.
As word spread, dozens of people gathered at his place of business and tens more outside his family’s home in somber vigil. All afternoon people were driving up and getting out of their cars to embrace Derrick’s family, offer their assistance and condemn the killing.
Derrick Jones was well known and well loved in the East Oakland community. His barber shop was also a popular spot for people in the neighborhood young and old. A place to chill, talk and eat the BBQ that Derrick prepared on his hibachi. One young girl who used to hang out at the shop told us, “I miss him already. I hurt. We all do. He did not deserve to die.”
All of the facts are not yet known, but what is known is that police were called to the barber shop because of a “domestic dispute.” Two cops confronted Derrick at his shop and then chased the unarmed man around the corner where they shot him multiple times in the chest, in a residential alleyway lined with houses and apartments.
Police said they first used a taser but that Derrick ran away and they pursued him and shot him. They said they started shooting because they thought he was “reaching for his waistband” and that they saw something “shiny” in Jones’ hand, something they now claim was just a small scale. They also now say that a small amount of marijuana was found on Jones. As if that justified anything!
Horrified neighbors, many of whom have either witnessed or protested police brutality and murder before, say they heard seven or eight shots. Some said they heard that before officers shot, Dee Dee was stuck on sticker bushes by a fence. They said they heard shots separated in time, “pow, pow, pow, pow, pow,” and heard “Don’t move, don’t move” and then “pow, pow.”
One woman said it sounded like a gun fight and asked, “Why would you shoot like that? You have families staying here.” Another man looking at the sidewalk memorial shared his memories of Dee Dee, saying, “This ain’t nothing new, killing a black man in Oakland. We’re tired of them taking our lives. This has to stop!”
Derrick’s sister Tonya, a recent law school graduate, told the media: “My brother was murdered. And we will prove it.” She also recounted that this was not the first time that the family or Derrick had been the victims of police brutality and that when Derrick was 16 he had been falsely detained and accused of stealing his own motor scooter, and when they brought Derrick home, police then had assaulted one of his sisters, and that the family had sued the OPD and caused two cops to be fired. Like Oscar Grant, Derrick Jones leaves behind a small daughter, and many, many friends. Once again there is a jagged hole in the heart of a community. Once again a life full of potential, stolen by this system’s enforcers. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
On Nov. 11, people in Dee Dee’s neighborhood, his family and friends, members of Oscar Grant’s family and people who have been fighting for justice in that case, revolutionaries, community organizers and religious leaders gathered at Derrick’s Quik Kuts barber shop 200 strong. The march took off at a fast pace, and the 30 blocks to the Fruitvale BART station – where Oscar Grant was murdered in 2009 – seemed to fly by. Copies of Revolution newspaper were snapped up, both by those in the march and people along the sides. A woman came up to a Revolution distributor and told her how her uncle had been killed by Oakland police a few years ago and there had been no protest but there should have been. She waved the newspaper in the air, punctuating her point that immediate protest and much more is needed.
There was a defiant mood in the streets as the relatively small march spread out, taking up the whole of the width of the boulevard. The Revolution Club carried a banner that read: “Derrick didn’t have to die. The whole system is guilty. We need a revolution.” Many people responded to the slogan “The Whole System Is Guilty” and there was fertile ground for spreading the word that another system was possible.
When the march arrived at the BART station, the crowd chanted their demand that the police who shot Derrick be arrested. The station was shut down. As people spoke at an impromptu second rally, the clash of programs among those who were protesting was evident, with some promoting stale reformism, others preaching against rebellion, and revolutionaries putting forward revolution as the solution to the great crime and epidemic of police brutality.
The next day, on Friday, 50 people returned to the street where the incident began to protest again. After the rally broke up and people began to leave, police stopped and arrested and cuffed one of Derrick’s brothers several blocks away. This is an outrage on top of an outrage.
In the face of brutality and repression, there is a mood of resistance in Oakland that is building. One of his friends told us: “Dee Dee was a good man … I was in jail for a year. I got out of jail, and Dee Dee was the only one I wanted to cut my hair. He’d take his time and made sure you looked good… I’m gonna speak out, and I’m gonna resist. I’m on probation. They can lock me up but I will not be quiet.”
During the rally at the Fruitvale BART Station, where Oscar Grant was murdered, this youngster had the courage to wave a flier for Derrick Jones in the faces of the Oakland police “protecting” the station from the protesters. – Photo: Felix Barrett
Hundreds marched behind this banner 30 blocks from Derrick Jones’ barber shop to the Fruitvale BART Station, where supporters of Oscar Grant and Derrick Jones, who was murdered only three days after Oscar Grant’s murderer, Johannes Mehserle, was given a slap-on-the-wrist sentence, amounting to only seven months with credit for time served and “good behavior,” rallied together against police terrorism. – Photo: Felix Barrett
Outside Derrick Jones’ barber shop, friends mourned the tragic and senseless loss of their friendly neighborhood barber who looked out for everybody. – Photo: Felix Barrett
Derrick Jones with his little daughter, Demi. She grew up at Daddy’s barber shop, where he cared for her every day while her mother worked.