A Tale of Two Threats: Who Do the Police Let Live When Danger is Present?

Yesterday something strange and quite frightening took place in the San Francisco Bay Area. A distraught 51-year-old man named Craig Carlos-Valentino hoped in his SUV during the height of rush hour and drove from Antioch to the middle of the Bay Bridge which is one of most traveled spans in the country.  Accompanying him was his 16 year daughter.

Carlos-Valentino stopped his car mid-span and  called local news station KCBS where he announced that his car was wired with explosives and he had a gun. he then followed up his call to the police where he announced the same thing. Needless to say local authorities went nuts. They stopped traffic, alerted the bomb squad, the free way entrances were closed. People upon hearing this man had a bomb started turning around on the freeway and headed back toward Oakland. Local programming was interrupted  and everyone was on edge. We had a man on the Bay Bridge who was ready to blow things up.

Everyone was on edge because they remembered an angry man White supremacist named Byron Williams who back in July was stopped by police on the 580 freeway leading to the Bay Bridge. He was stopped by police for some sort of traffic violation and came out with guns blazing. Williams had on full body armor and had an arsenal fit for a small army. When all was said and done, Williams shot 3 officers and left the freeway strewn with bullets. Williams was on his way to San Francisco to kill liberal workers at the Tides Foundation.

Craig Carlos-Valentino

With respect to Carlos-Valentino and his bomb threat, everyone was on alert. There was a stand-off on the bridge during which this man tossed his gun, allowed his daughter to run off to the arms of police who were near by.  He threatened to commit suicide  and was talked off the ledge of the bridge, the whole time folks had no idea about his car. Did it or did it not have explosives?

Eventually Carlos-Valentino was taken into custody. We later learned this man was upset because his wife was cheating on him and was gearing up to leave him.

This man causes massive traffic jams and got all sorts of law enforcement involved to make sure he wasn’t a domestic terrorist. Later the police explained his ordeal and Mr Carlos-Valentino will live to see another day.

The key words here  ‘He got to live’. Police used caution. They explained away a man who potentially put thousands of people’s lives in danger as someone who was not real threat, but someone who was disturbed. In other words he was humanized.  We came away feeling sorry for this man. We don’t know if  Carlos-Valentino  was abusive, cheated or did anything wrong. He was just a trouble man who issued a bomb threat.

One has to wonder why such caution is not ever afforded to any number of people who have done far far less in terms of endangering the lives of others or themselves, yet wind up being killed by police.

We can look at Amadou Diallo reaching for his wallet.. Shot 41 times. The man had no criminal record and was un-armed.

We can look at the case of Sean Bell who shot 50 times drove away from a club where he held a bachelor party. Bell was unarmed, had committed no crime, but well-trained police thought he and his passengers had reached for a gun.

We can look at  the shooting death of 7 year old Ayana Stanley Jones in Detroit. Police busted into the wrong house looking for a suspect, beat her suprised  grandmother and shot Jones.

Last month Denroy Henry a star football player at Pace University was shot after being ordered to move his car from in front of club where a fight occurred. Henry who was not involved in the altercation, bumped a police officer with his car. End result was the cop unloading his gun into the car and killing an unarmed Henry.

This list can go on and on. One has to ask the hard questions, why can’t law enforcement show the same restraint they do so many others who arguably do far worse. Hell even Byron Williams is still alive and he shot down 3 cops. Why are these unarmed men and women always being killed by police?

Derrick Jones

This past Monday police were called to the Kwik Kuts barbershop in East Oakland owned by popular 37-year-old father Derrick Jones. Police say Jones was involved in a fight with a woman at the shop, not his wife and when they approached he ran away. Jones who was unarmed was shot 8 times by two officers, one of whom shot him twice while he lay on the ground.

Police said they thought the unarmed Jones was reaching for his waistband. Eye witnesses vehemently dispute the tale. Jones had his hands in the air and was shot by cops who many feel had a vendetta out for him.

According to neighborhood folks, Oakland cops never forgot or forgave the way Jones and his family stood up to police for their brutality and misconduct when he was 16 years old and was accused of stealing his own bike.  Disbelieving cops assaulted him and his 19-year-old sister . The family fought back and got two of the officers involved fired.

Over the years Jones was frequently stopped and harassed by police and so were many of his neighbors. As one shop owner who wished to remain anonymous explained, ‘Any excuse to smash on folks near the barbershop was used’.  Monday’s altercation was no different. This time the shooting death of yet another unarmed Black man in Oakland came on the heels of killer cop Johannes Mehserle receiving a super light 2 year sentenced for the murder of unarmed Oscar Grant.

We are posting up audio from the rally for Justice for Derrick Jones which took place in front of his barbershop yesterday. Folks need to check out what’s being said to get a full understanding of who he was, what his family did here in Oakland and how this relates to the injustice experienced by Oscar Grant’s family.

Here in pt1 Derrick Jones’ friend speaks about what happened after he got shot by Oakland police and the how witnesses are being intimidated by the police. Also Oscar Grant’s Uncle Bobby speaks and talks about what took place in the courtroom during sentencing. He reminds people what its gonna take to bring about justice and how the shooting of unarmed Derrick Jones and unarmed Oscar Grant are connected.

Minister Keith & Uncle Bobby

We finish off with some enlightening remarks from Yvette of BAMN who runs down what this case is about and why it appears to be some sort of vigilante killing. Jones was targeted by OPD

http://www.swift.fm/mrdaveyd/song/77329/

In pt 2 Minister Keith of the Nation of Islam gives a passionate speech about the legacy of ‘unarmed Black men’ being shot.  He also gives details as to how these shootings are supposed to be investigated. He calls out the DA Nancy Omally

http://www.swift.fm/mrdaveyd/song/77334/

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Johannes Mehserles Lawyer Calls The Grant family ‘Mean-Spirited’

All I can say after reading this is ‘Wow’.. These folks have no shame..Absolutely no shame..

D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfYGQNZAeQc

BART trial: Mehserle attorney calls Oscar Grant’s family ‘mean spirited,” requests sentencing delay.

Michael Rains

Now that the gag-order in the case has been lifted, the attorney for former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle is speaking out.   KGO-TV asked Michael Rains on Sunday his reaction to Oscar Grant’s family denouncing Mehserle’s letter of apology.  Grant’s uncle called Mehserle’s letter“garbage” and said that any letter of apology should have been directed directly to them and should have been sent much earlier.

Rains told KGO-TV on Sunday, “You know what, I don’t think that when the family remains that hostile and that nasty and mean-spirited that Mr. Mehserle should be out there offering olive branches because they will not be received.”

Rains is seeking a delay of sentencing so he will have enough time to prepare his post-trial motions.

He says the jury was “confused” and in a hurry to reach a verdict and “get out of the courthouse.”

Rains said the involuntary manslaughter charge and the gun enhancement charge which the jury convicted Mehserle on, were mutually exclusive because involuntary means without the intention to fire a gun.   Rains will ask the judge at sentencing to set aside the conviction and order a new trial.

Grant’s family is seeking a federal prosecution based on civil rights violations. Rains called that “highly unlikely or altogether impossible.”

original source: http://www.examiner.com/x-27745-SF-Headlines-Examiner~y2010m7d12-BART-trial-Mehserle-attorney-calls-Oscar-Grant-family-mean-spirited-requests-sentencing-delay

Media coverage of the Oakland riots after BART shooting trial verdict slammed (video, photos)

The San Francisco Bay Area media is taking heat for its coverage of the Oakland riots from the political right, left and center.

On the right, national radio talk show host Michael Savage is slamming the media for “stirring people up” following the verdict in the Oscar Grant case.

Savage told listeners on his show, which originates from the San Francisco Bay Area, that the “vermin in the media” are the “true terrorists” who fanned the flames of violence in the wake of the verdict that found Mehserle guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

Savage, who is not known for his subtlety, said those who caused trouble in Oakland were “white communists and anarchists” and “white scum.”

Savage said the real hero in Oakland during the rioting was Oscar Grant’s grandfather and namesake. Savage played a speech by the senior Grant urging nonviolence.

Savage noted that Oscar Grant senior wore a ball cap with the words “Airborne US Marine Corps.”

Said Savage, “I don’t believe he found it in the ashcan.”

Savage’s opinion about the media was echoed by someone who is Savage’s political polar opposite in the media.

Charles Karel Bouley, who goes by Karel, a talk show host on the left-leaning Green 960, told listeners that the media effectively rallied the rioters.

“The media so wanted a riot yesterday in Oakland, they created one,” said Karel .

Karel also read aloud from Mehserle’s letter of apology and mocked the Mehserle for implying that he was a victim too.

Karel said that Mehserle should have been convicted of voluntary manslaughter.

The media also got slammed from a voice in the middle. KGO radio talk show host Ronn Owens told listens on his 9-noon show, “We the media were counting on these riots, I am surprised we didn’t just go out and take out ads, that said ‘listen to us, we will have the best riots coverage.”

Owens added, “It’s almost like the media was disappointed it wasn’t a bigger riot.”

What did you think? Click on the comments button above to leave your comments.

Previous Updates:

Letter of apology from Johannes Mehserle released Friday in wake of  Oakland riots (photos, video)

Johannes Mehserle issued a hand-written letter of apology dated Sunday, July 4, 2010, four days before the jury found him guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Here is the text of the letter. A PDF of the letter was posted on the SFGATE.com site. Click here to read it. The hand-written letter is addressed to Michael Rains, Mehserle’s attorney.

The attorney for the Grant family, John Burris, commented on the letter during a brief interview on the Gil Gross show on KGO radio at 2:45 p.m.

Although Burris called it a “good statement,” he said Mehserle should have apologized on the right of the shooting. Burris said he had not been able to talk to the Grant family since the letter was released early Friday afternoon.

“It doesn’t change any facts, Mr. Grant is still dead, he did it,” Burris said. The attorney reiterated that the letter would have been better received it had come earlier.

Here’s the text of Mehserle’s letter:

Mike –

Please try to get this message to the public:

I don’t know what the jury in this case is going to decide, but I hope those who hate me and those who understand that I never intended to shoot Oscar Grant will listen to this message.

I have and will continue to live everyday of my life knowing that Mr. Grant should not have been shot. I know a daughter has lost a father and a mother has lost a son. It saddens me knowing that my actions cost Mr. Grant his life, no words express how truly sorry I am.

I hoped to talk to Ms. Johnson (Wanda Johnson, Grant’s mother) and Ms. Mesa (Sophina Mesa, Grant’s girlfriend and the mother of his daughter) in the days following this terrible event, but death threats toward my newly-born son, my friends and family resulted in no communication occurring. I hope the day will come when anger will give way to dialogue.

For now, and forever I will live, breathe, sleep, and not sleep with the memory of Mr. Grant screaming “You shot me” and putting my hands on the bullet wound thinking the pressure would help while I kept telling him “You’ll be okay!” I tried to tell myself that maybe this shot would not be so serious, but I recall how sick I felt when Mr. Grant stopped talking, closed his eyes and seemed to change his breathing.

I don’t expect that I can ever convince some individuals how sorry I am for the death of Mr. Grant, but I would not feel right if I didn’t explain my thoughts as I wait for a decision of the jury.

Johannes Mehserle

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Oscar Grant Family Press Conference: The Trial, The Verdict & What the Mainstream Press Covered Up

Oscar Grant's Uncle, Cephus Johnson aka Uncle Bobby along with Minister Keith Muhammad.

Sat July 10 Oakland, Ca: There was a press conference held at True Vine Church Here organizers along with the Oscar Grant family returned from Los Angeles and gave a Community Report Back. They go in on the jury and the press.

Minister Keith Muhammad started off by presenting a detailed break down of what took place in the courtroom. Here are the links below..followed by a brief summary of what was talked about…

http://www.swift.fm/mrdaveyd/song/50228/ pt1

http://www.swift.fm/mrdaveyd/song/50231/ pt2

http://www.swift.fm/mrdaveyd/song/50226/ pt3

Minister Keith talked about the jury and the way they deliberated. He noted the instructions given to the jury and the steps they were supposed to take in determining a verdict. He explained the delays that took place  and what they met. He noted the instructions Judge Robert Perry gave to them. Folks need to hear this portion of the press conference and keep in mind many of the concerns that Minister Keith and the Grant family raise around how quickly the jury returned a verdict. On many levels, it seems the jury didn’t fully deliberate at all.

The issue of the jury’s racial make up is talked about and how the lack of African-Americans raised cause for concern and impacted the verdict. Los Angeles is almost 25% white but was 75% on the jury. The claim that there were no Black jurors available was outlandish. Minister Keith outlines what Judge Robert Perry insisted upon in terms of selecting a jury. Many people felt the prosecutor David Stein dropped the ball. As was pointed during this press conference, he was handcuffed by the specific instructions and method dictated by Judge Perry…

What’s most troubling is what was not reported by the mainstream press around both the jury deliberation and instruction. They also spoke about how harshly the family was treated when the jury was finally reached a verdict. They weren’t even allowed in the courtroom, by callous guards..

Below is the link to the podcast detailing the Jury selection and deliberation as well as how the family was treated in court. Minister Keith also lays out some key issues that were presented in court but covered up by mainstream media… What should be noted was during his presentation much of the mainstream local media was present from KPIX to ABC etc..I would encourage folks to listen to the presentation which is in 2 parts and see if any of this is reported. Ask yourself why it hasn’t been in the news.

http://www.swift.fm/mrdaveyd/song/50228/

The Harsh Treament of Oscar Grant’s Friends Both That Night & On the Stand

Killer cop Johannes Mehsersle

In pt2 of the Community Report back… Minister Keith lays out the under reported treatment of Oscar Grant’s friends who sat on the platform and witnessed their friend be killed in front of them. He talks about the harsh treatment they received by the police including taunts after Grant was killed. He explains how the young men some as young as 15 were handcuffed and made to sit in jail handcuffed for over 6 hours after Grant was killed and then informed that they were NOT arrested and were free to go.. This is beyond heartbreaking

Minister Keith details the testimony the boys gave in court and the video footage they took while on the platform. Key aspects to the boys testimony including how the Johannes Mehserle‘s defense attorney Michael Rains tried to mock them and assassinate their character when they took the stand. Hearing about what Oscar Grant’s friends endured is beyond troubling.

Also included are details around the judge’s treatment. The boys when seeing the video broke down in court and the jury was instructed to leave.. They did not want their tears to impact the jury. With Mehserle the jury was allowed to stay when he cried. Minister Keith also explains how Mehserle was coached on how to cry..

Included in this portion is a lot of other key elements the mainstream press witnessed and was presented yet decided not to include in any of their reports. The most glaring was the behavior of Mehserle’s partners and them using racial epithets..

They also lay out the role, the money spent and conflicting testimony delivered by the expensive expert witnesses that Mehserle brought forth. He spent 65k on one witnesses who attempted to tell everyone the dozens of videos showing Grant’s shooting were unreliable and inconclusive.

He spent 50k on another expert witness a former cop named Greg Meyer who tried to tell us that Mehserle meant to use his taser. What the mainstream press ommited was showing how Mehserle ion several occasion brandish his taser that night in attempts to taunt and intimidate Grant and his friends who were never charged with anything or legally arrested. Grant took a picture of Mehserle holding the taser two minutes before was killed.

Lying cops Marysol Domenici and Tony Pirone

It was also pointed out that the officers and media claimed that Grants friends were out of control and threatening, however none of the videos or police reports indicate this.

What was also glaring were the lies told by Mehserle’s partners Tony Pirone and Marysol Dominci.

Below is the podcast to part 2.. This is very detailed,,pay close attention..please pass it around.

http://www.swift.fm/mrdaveyd/song/50231/

Uncle Bobby Speaks to the Letter of Apology Released by Johannes Mehserle

Cephus Johnson aka Uncle Bobby is the uncle to Oscar Grant. Here he talks emphatically about the ‘apology letter’ sent by Johannes Mehserle. He says its garbage and fake. He explains that the letter was never addressed to him, Oscar’s mother WandaTatiyana (Oscar’s daughter) or Sophena (the mother to Oscar’s daughter). He also talks about how Mehserle in his defense chose to assassinate Oscar’s character while invoking the policeman’s bill of rights to keep his hidden.

He noted that the letter was garbage and was as fake as the tears he shed on the stand. He said that Mehserle needs to spend 14 years in jail an then write a letter of apology and give it to the family privately. Cephus also explains the lies Mehserle detailed in his letter including how he attempted to attend to Grants aid after shooting him. Uncle Bobby points out that the video shows Mehserle handcuffing Oscar after he shot him..

Cephus also addresses the issue of violence during protest. he talks about police dressed as undercover agitating the crowds. Its later pointed out tht the family never called for violence. Its unfair to place blame on the family. Below is the podcast of the full press release and interview we did with Cephus Johnson. The video just shows a portion of his remarks.

http://www.swift.fm/mrdaveyd/song/50226/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfYGQNZAeQc

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