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War On The
Citizens Of Oakland

Jim Kirwan
"Defense lawyers for BART police officers involved in the Jan. 1 shooting death of an unarmed patron deny their clients had any intent to kill, according to court papers filed Friday.
Furthermore, lawyers for the officers and BART said Oscar Grant, by striking Officer Tony Pirone, shared some responsibility for the chain of events that led to his death New Year's Day on a Fruitvale BART platform in Oakland.
Grant's family last month filed a $50 million federal civil rights lawsuit against BART, its chief of police and the officers involved in the case, including Officer Johannes Mehserle, who fired his weapon while he and other officers restrained Grant, instantly killing the 22-year-old Hayward man.
The filing in U.S. District Court in Oakland said officers were following procedure trying to restrain Grant and his friends, who police said had been in a fight on a train.
Grant was facedown on the station platform when Mehserle shot him, an incident several passengers recorded on cell phone cameras.
Grant's family's lawyer, John Burris, said officers threatened to tase Grant in the face, that Pirone struck Grant and that an unidentified officer used a racial slur against Grant who was African American.
BART lawyers say Pirone was defending himself against Grant, who tried to kick Pirone in the groin. They deny officers used any racial slurs.
BART lawyer Dale Allen on Friday reiterated that Mehserle intended to pull his Taser. He called Grant's death the result of "a tragic mistake.""
The above is one of the latest chapters in the government's war upon the citizens of Oakland. Mchserle, was a BART officer at the time of the shooting, and was operating under federal guidelines that more closely resemble those used by Blackwater in Iraq, than by anything related to the Constitutional protections supposedly guaranteed to all US citizens; when they are confronted by US law enforcement officers.
The incident happened on a BART platform, but that platform happened to be located in the City of Oakland: A city that has had its citizens under-siege by uniformed officers for several decades, during which time a large number of people have been severely injured or killed by police in that city-with virtually no consequences for the involved officers-primarily because of the state of siege mentality between "law enforcement" and the citizens of Oakland.
This situation came about because both the prison system and the parole guidelines in California are hopelessly broken. All of this stems from a vicious state and federal system that seeks to punish offenders, rather than to rehabilitate anyone. This leaves prisoners only one choice while in prison, and that is to improve on their criminal skills; rather than to re-educate themselves for a different life outside of prison, once their time has been served.
Because the prison system has largely been privatized; it is in the financial interest of the prison system, to bring as many people into the prisons as possible (they are paid by the head), and there is no incentive whatever to alter the attitudes or aptitudes of those under their command, while those men & women are in jail. This has led to overcrowding and has bred a culture of criminal hatred for the pubic at large, in the prisoners that must endure these inhumane and barbaric conditions.
In Oakland, because of the number of parolees that come back to Oakland upon their release; the streets of that City have more than their fair share of both parolees and ex-cons to deal with. The only way this can be changed is if the system of prisons and punishment itself is reviewed and altered; so that the public's safety is uppermost, rather than the savagery of medieval prison life that still obtains, in the way that most US prisons view their prisoners, as well as what they will not allow by way of official efforts toward rehabilitation.
In the case above and in the one that most recently followed it: the murder of four of Oakland's police officers-there is a common-denominator. Whenever a population has suffered from excessive force, by uniformed officers for many decades, sooner or later there will be a public backlash against authority in general; as well as against individual officers in particular. Oakland, because of its past, wherein almost no officers were ever disciplined, presents the problem that it has now become.
Police officers have apparently forgotten that they are there to protect the population, both from crime as well as from overzealous officers of the government, at all levels. This cannot be stressed strongly enough, especially when there have been such racial overtones as exist in the case of Oakland and BART. (2)
The people who live in Oakland, of whatever color, are deserving of a real and fair police department, overseen by unbiased administrators determined to ensure that all citizens get an even break when they have a confrontation with Oakland Police or with BART's private mercenaries. The political leadership of Oakland is at fault throughout these continuing episodes, for failing to make clear both the legal duties and responsibilities of Police Officers, as well as to hold their Officers just as accountable for their transgressions, as they do those suspected of crimes in the City of Oakland.
If this situation isn't drastically changed, and soon, then the City of Oakland will offer little or no chance to its citizens to get the theoretically fair treatment under law which every citizen is entitled to.
If Officer Mchserle, is not given a fair trial, or if he is allowed to claim that despite his training, he thought he was holding his Taser rather than a pistol: Then that community can look forward to another Rodney King-like reaction, which would be both unnecessary and tragic.
1) BART officers' lawyers say no intent to kill http://www.sfgate.com/cgi- bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/04/03/BAUU16SJ1C.DTL
2) Martial Law in California
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