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


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


Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

What Part of Unarmed Black Man Doesn’t OPD Understand? Rip Derrick Jones


Today we spoke with lawyer John Burris about this latest shooting on Hard Knock Radio. He gives us some keen insight-Peep the interview here: http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/65266

We also found out that Derricks family has deep ties into oakland and have long stood up to the police for egregious behavior. A few years ago their activism led to two officers being fired. Was this one of the reasons derrick ran and was ultimately shot?  Check Yahho group

***There will be a March today Thurs 11 2010 starting at 3pm ****

March begins on Bancroft and Seminary near Derrick Jones’ Barbershop and will end at the Fruitvale BART station.


So after a thousand police in full riot gear mass arrest 150 people in a Oakland neighborhood because someone ‘threw a rock’ prompting them to declared the entire block a crime scene, the police went and shot an unarmed man… Read the accounts below.. Also for up to date info on Oscar Grant as well as this case check out IndyBay.org

Another Unarmed Black Brother, Derrick Jones, 37, a loved Oakland barbershop owner and father of an infant girl,
met a violent death on Monday night, Nov.8, 2010, shot and killed by OPD (2 white officers involved), while “fleeing”, after they “thought” they saw a metallic object in his hand.

R.I.P. BROTHER DERRICK JONES. AGAIN.by mesha Monge-Irizarry, Idriss Stelley FoundationNov 9th 2010


Popular barbershop ownerand father 36 year old Derrick Jones was gunned down by Oakland police who thought he had a weapon..

Another Unarmed Black Brother, Derrick Jones, 37, a loved Oakland barbershop owner and father of an infant girl, met a violent death on Monday night, Nov.8, 2010, shot and killed by OPD (2 white officers involved), while “fleeing”, after they “thought” they saw a metallic object in his hand.

This OPD homicide occured only THREE days after Judge Perry sentenced the killer of Oscar Grant III, Johannes Mehserle, to 2 yrs in jail (less double credit for 146 days of time served = 292 days for “good behavior”), for “Unvoluntary Manslaughter”.

This is the third OPD officers involved Homicide of People of Color in 2010.
Derrick Jones’ grieving family has retained the services of John Burris, Oscar Grant’s Family attorney.


Today Tuesday, I caught the end of a Channel 7 talk show,
during which an complacent African American conservative anchor contends:

“By the way, it is my belief that Oscar Grant shooting was ACCIDENTAL”, and interviews a former OPD white officer and current prosecutor who exhorts the public not to jump to racially biased policing conclusion:
“This incident has nothing to do with the case of Oscar Grant. Grant’s killing was unvoluntary, while yesterday shooting was voluntary. You must understand that officers have to make split-second decisions when they have a reasonable belief that a suspect is armed and dangerous, and constitutes a life and death threat against themselves or others. Please you have to understand that it is the scariest scenario in an officer’s life”.


The Corporate press trickles cautious tidbits of information throughout the day.
At first, the race of the dead Brother and of the shooting officers is hidden from the public.
OPD spokesperson reluctantly admits that Jones was UNARMED, and that a “confrontation” occurred.
…Note the constrained terminology ?
Police initial communiques usually emphasize:
“Suspect lunged at the officers who feared for their lives”
or “Suspect pulled out a gun, knife” etc.,
or “Suspect turned around and repeatedly screamed C’mon-M…-F…rs -Go-Ahead- ‘n-Kill-me”
or “Suspect made a sudden furtive move”.

Apparently there has been no physical confrontation in Jones’ case.
Throughout Tuesday, the official party line keeps changing, from “confrontation”,
to “appeared to reach for his waist band”…
to “officer thought they saw a metallic object in the suspect’s hand”.


Remember young Brother Laronte Sturdville, 15, shot by OPD in 2007 while fleeing and attempting to pull up his sagging pants?
Luckily, the child survived after 2 weeks in intensive care, scarred for life, shot in the back of his neck while running, the bullet came out of his chin.
Or, Brother Mac Jodie Fox Woodfox, shot in the back and killed in 2008 while “fleeing” ?
all by OPD, and the hitlist on Oakland’ contemporary Plantation, the land of the-Proud-and-the-Free-OPD is endless amd continues to rage on.
(in one year, 2 months and 2 weeks, killer-cop Meherle is “eligible for release”….).

“Derrick Jones was unarmed and was not reaching toward his waistband when police opened fire”

“Family says man shot by Oakland police was unarmed,
Loved owner of a barber shop and killed by officers during a foot chase disputed police’s account Tuesday that he appeared to be reaching toward his waistband for a weapon”…
“Family and friends of Derrick Jones, 37, called Monday’s shooting unjustified and said witnesses did not see the Oakland man make such a move. They also said Jones was unarmed and that police used excessive force”.
“My cousin is not the type of person to harm anybody,” said Charles Jones…”It’s outrageous for somebody to just kill him like that.”
Police have declined to say how many times Derrick Jones was shot or whether a weapon was found on him, citing the ongoing investigation”…
“When officers arrived, Derrick Jones fled on foot, apparently to escape arrest for assaulting the woman Israel said”…
“But family and friends said Tuesday that Derrick Jones is being wrongly depicted as a ‘monster’ and was only trying to fend off an ex-girlfriend who came to his barbershop causing trouble”…
“the two officers repeatedly told Derrick Jones to stop and tried unsuccessfully to use a stun gun on him. He said the officers also saw Derrick Jones refuse to put up his hands, and he reached toward his waistband several times”….
“one of the officers saw a metal object in Jones’ hand, Israel said”….
“An attorney representing Jones’ family, John Burris, said Tuesday that witnesses he has spoken to said Derrick Jones was unarmed and was not reaching toward his waistband when police opened fire”
“Any time a human life is lost, the surviving family suffers the grief of that loss, so I offer my sympathies to the family of the man who lost his life last night,” Oakland Mayor Dellums said.
“Family and friends said Jones is the father of an infant girl, has been a barber for more than 20 years and has owned his barbershop for the past eight years”…
“Scott Riley, 40, another childhood friend, said Jones served about a year behind bars for carrying a gun to protect himself after he was robbed at his barbershop”…
“He’s being portrayed as a monster, and he wasn’t,” Riley said outside police headquarters. “This is all so senseless.”


Is the Mesherle verdict ensuring OPD’s license to Kill in all impunity ?
No correlation between the Murders of Derrick Jones and Oscar Grant III ?

Apparently, Civil Rights Attorney John Burris does not think so.
Neither do we….
or the 152 Oakland protesters arrested on November 5th after the public release of the Meherle’ sentence.

Mayor Ron Dellum, today, slapped together hasty damage control “condolences” to Brother Derrick Jones’ Grieving Family.


PS.. while folks are reading this lets not forget this monster Johannes Mehserle who’s father is running around predicting he’ll be home by Thanksgiving