On October 23, 2010, the ILWU Local 10 longshore workers closed all bay area ports (Richmond, Benicia, Redwood City, Oakland and San Francisco) and rallied in Oakland’s Frank Ogawa Plaza to protest the murder of Oscar Grant with the demand “Justice for Oscar Grant! Jail Killer Cops!” ILWU union port workers joined the rally which brought together many organizations, including labor unions, high school and college students, the faith-based community and the general public in a call for justice.
The rally was initiated by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10 after Cephus “Uncle Bobby” Johnson of the Oscar Grant Family spoke to union members about the similarity between the murder of his nephew and a mural on the union hall depicting the 1934 West Coast waterfront strike. On “Bloody Thursday,” July 5th, 1934, a striking seaman and a strike sympathizer, Nicolas Bordoise and Howard Sperry, were killed by a police officer who fired a shotgun into a crowd.
Johanes Mehserle, the ex-BART cop who shot Oscar Grant in the back on January 1, 2009 while Grant was being held face down by multiple officers, faces sentencing in Los Angeles on November 5th.
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Demonstration in Santa Cruz against police murder and the unjust verdict in the trial of Johanes Mehserle.
In the early hours of January 1, 2009, Oscar Grant III was murdered by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle, shot in the back as he lay face-down on the Fruitvale BART platform with BART officer Tony Pirone’s knee in his shoulder.
On July 8, 2010, Mehserle was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, but acquitted on the more serious charges of second-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter. The jury included eight women and four men. A white police officer killed a black man, yet no African-Americans served on the jury. The killing took place in Oakland, but the trail was moved out of Alameda County to Los Angeles.
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On June 14, 2010, hundreds of people demonstrated outside the Los Angeles Superior Court at 210 W. Temple to demand justice for Oscar Grant. Angelenos made it very clear that the significance of the trial of Johannes Mehserle is bigger than just Oscar Grant’s case, and that police brutality is part of systematic oppression. Connections were drawn between police killings in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, as well as in New York.
And not forgetting the six month long uprising, which began on June 14, 2006, loud cries of “Oaxaca Vive Vive, La Lucha Sigue Sigue” rang through the downtown streets.
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