Police Files Reveal FBI, Homeland Security & Secret Service Heavily Monitored Oscar Grant Protests

Below is a story about the huge amounts of surveillance that going on during the Oscar Grant protests.Some might say we shouldn’t be surprised about the strong presence of FBI, Homeland Security etc at Oscar Grant protests over the past couple of years.. That’s being a bit dismissive. The word is not surprised, but we should be concerned and be asking alot of questions. We should also note all this surveillance is connected to something much larger. Is this part of the ongoing efforts to monitor any sort of political protestor.  On many levels the US in terms of suppression has become like some of the very countries we often criticize and have even fought in an effort to bring Democracy and openness.

Many of us were well aware there were police informants and undercover officers who were embedding themselves in the Oscar Grant Movement. The very first rallies had folks who were riding for the police. Most folks who have long organized knew to expect that and on many levels worked hard to find various ways to counter and eventually a couple of the informants were identified and publicly outed.

However, with the Feds doing all this surveillance says something else. Why monitor protestors vs investigating the police who killed Oscar Grant?

There was no denying with the thousands who showed up at marches, rallies townhalls that police brutality had struck a chord in various communities. Black, Asian, Latino, whites.. When you have that many people come together and express outrage, one would think this should set of alarm bells and lead the Feds to ask themselves;  ‘What’s  going on with police in the Bay Area that so many people are out protesting’?  Are there any discernible patterns of police wrong doing? ‘Is there any sort of coverup or collusion going on?’ For starters we can look at all the potentially damaging material that convicted officer Johannes Mehserle was allowed to keep covered up thanks to the police man’s bill of rights.

People seemed to forget that an unarmed man was shot in front of hundreds of people while he lay face down on a subway platform restrained. Moments before being shot he was called a ‘bitch ass nigger‘ by an officer who was later fired when it was discovered that he and his partner had lied and covered parts of the incident.. Were the Feds investigating and monitoring that? How widespread was the coverup.. We do know that there was a police agency NOBLE that investigated and concluded there was negligence on the way BART handled things and recommended sweeping changes.. Shouldn’t the FEDS have been concerned about that verses protestors?

It’s also interesting to note that the focus seemed to be concerns about property damage. Not to justify broken windows, but all of us have been to Big Game events where Cal plays Stanford and stores have been ransacked and windows busted damn near every other year.. Have the feds been investigating that?

Judge Robert Perry

The conduct of Judge Robert Perry who is now the subject of a recall needs to be investigated. Here’s a judge who has a long history of covering for the police. Here’s a judge that told the family during sentencing that they should be happy the Barack Obama is in office. He intimated that Obama was an indication we progressed beyond race..

Again the feds are investigating things on our behalf and with our tax dollars. Most of us would like to see those tax dollars used to investigate the reason our justice system is broken and whats it gonna take to fix it.

-Davey D-

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Police files reveal Federal interest in Oscar Grant protests, “Anarchists”

December 15, 2010 | 9:29 AM | By Ali Winston

http://informant.kalwnews.org/2010/12/police-documents-reveal-federal-interest-in-oscar-grant-protests-anarchists/

Documents recently obtained by The Informant reveal the significant involvement of state and federal law enforcement in monitoring the various Oscar Grant protests in Oakland over the past two years.

According to internal Oakland Police Department documents about the July 8th protests that followed Johannes Mehserle’s involuntary manslaughter conviction, agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency, United States Secret Service, and the California Department of Justice were assigned to monitor crowd activities.

Thirty-three federal, state and local officers were assigned to video details posted in buildings surrounding Frank Ogawa Plaza and throughout the crowd of several hundred demonstrators. Among them were personnel from the Secret Service, the state Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, and Bureau of Intelligence and Investigation who took video of the protest. Some DEA and Oakland Police officers recorded the protest, while others dressed in plainclothes provided intelligence from within the crowd to OPD’s Emergency Operations Command Center at 1605 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

The documents indicate FBI involvement in monitoring the Oscar Grant protests as early as January 2009. A police report included in the case file of Holly Noll, a 24-year-old activist who plead no contest to charges of assaulting a police officer, shows the FBI was providing intelligence to OPD on the movements of “black bloc” anarchists in Downtown Oakland on the night of January 14, 2009, when the latest of several protests agitating for Johannes Mehserle’s arrest erupted into property destruction and clashes with police.

Oakland Police Officer Scott Seder’s report from that night indicates specific FBI interest in “anarchists.” The report reads as follows:

“OPD [Oakland Police Department] radio announced a communications order stating the FBI advised groups of anarchists, described as MW [male, white], 17-25 years old, wearing black and red clothing, were en route to the protest and planned to commit acts of violence and vandalism adjacent to the main demonstration.”

Jose Luis Fuentes, an attorney at Siegel & Yee, the law firm that is defending those arrested in the July 8th protests, believes the involvement of state and federal agencies in intelligence-gathering is part of a larger effort to scrutinize political protest. “They’re trying to build a case against ‘black blocs’ or anarchists as domestic terrorism,” said Fuentes. “The federal government wants to know who’s protesting. They’re documenting who the agitators are — This is all COINTELPRO resurfacing.”

The Counter Intelligence Program, or COINTELPRO, was an extensive federal operation that ran from the 1950s through the 1970s that monitored political activists, sometime using law enforcement to harass and discredit everyone from the National Association of Colored People to the Ku Klux Klan, who federal authorities considered dangerous.

But law enforcement personnel who worked the Oscar Grant protests say federal involvement had nothing to do with a political ideology and everything to do with keeping civilians and critical infrastructure sites safe and preventing disorder.

Oakland Police Captain David Downing, who was in charge of “Operation Verdict,” the police response to the July 8th post-verdict protests, says the handful of federal agents were nothing more than extra eyes among the several hundred law enforcement officers working on July 8th.

“Their only job was to be out there and videotape, be observers and feed information,” said Downing, who was in charge of Operation Verdict. The DEA, California DOJ and Secret Services agents were a fraction of the several hundreds of law enforcement agents from across Northern California who took part in Operation Verdict.

Much like several police departments provided officers to assist with crowd control, the state and federal agencies brought their investigative capacities to the table, as well as equipment. The FBI and DEA both offered helicopters for air support.

Documents indicate that anarchists were on everyone’s mind.

In a running police log from the July 8 protests and in emails exchanged between OPD command staff in the days prior, there is extensive mention of potential acts of property destruction and violence by “anarchists.” The log was later forwarded to the Department of Homeland Security’s National Operations Center. “They were interested in the event,” said Captain Downing.

During previous protests about the Oscar Grant case, media reports focused on property destruction allegedly perpetrated by “black bloc” anarchists.

“They’re a concern,” said Captain Downing of the Oakland Police. “They don’t really care about the cause other than using the mask of a large mob to engage in property damage.”

Defense attorney Jose Luis Fuentes remains convinced the intelligence gathered during Operation Verdict was part of a broader effort to intimidate political protest. The subtext is that, “If you’re going to protest and violate any law, we might prosecute you federally,” Fuentes said.

A November 16th primer on “Anarchist Extremism” on the FBI’s website describes the Bureau’s general policy on anarchists:

“Currently, much of the criminal activities of anarchist extremists fall under local jurisdiction, so they’re investigated by local police. If asked by police, the Bureau can assist. But we have a heavy presence at a major national or international events generating significant media coverage—that’s when the threat from anarchist extremists, as well as others who are up to no good, dramatically increases.”

According to an OPD investigative log, the FBI explored the possibility of charging some of the July Oscar Grant protesters federally.

FBI Special Agent Russell Romero contacted OPD on July 21 to set up a meeting about the July 8th incident. On July 27, Agents Russell Romero and Kari McInturf met with OPD investigators “to see if Federal charges can be brought.” Romero and McInturf obtained a list of all the July 8th arrestees and their charges from OPD. To date, no federal charges have been filed.

Where are all the Oscar Grant protests when we’re shooting each other in the hood?

It’s time to dispel a pervasive myth. It’s one that suggests Black people are quick to protest incidents of police brutality but nowhere to be seen when it comes to dealing with crime in the community. During the 20 months of protests around Justice for Oscar Grant we’ve all been to town halls where some ‘well-meaning person will stand up and make what they consider a ‘be all end all’ statement about how everyone is misguided for protesting police brutality when we have Black on Black crime happening everyday.

We’ve all read editorials or heard callers on radio talk shows lay claims along these lines; “We are our own worst enemies” “How can we expect the police not to kill us when we keep killing each other” or “Where are all the protests when we’re shooting each other in the hood?”

Now on the surface such remarks seem like a strong dose of tough love where some concerned community member or leader is attempting to redirect misguided anger away from the police and back onto us.. They are supposedly helping get our priorities in order. However, such conclusions are deeply flawed, play into troubling stereotypes and are simply erroneous.

There's always been Peace Efforts in the hood. To suggest there aren't any is a flawed argument

The truth of the matter is we do care about our communities. How we handle complaints against a public servant who we pay with our tax dollars may be very different then how we deal with Ray Ray the Thug who lives in our hood and is causing problems. And to be quite frank, we’ve long had ‘Increase the Peace’ rallies,  ‘Stop the Violence‘ summits Summer Jam festivals to raise money for peace organizations etc all in our communities. Why some insist on acting like they don’t happen is beyond me. It suggests that those who make such claims are disconnected from the people and neighborhood they critiquing.

It’s interesting to note some of these assertions about lack of peace efforts are now increasingly being put forth by police, police sympathizers and right-wing pundits who start off by dismissing activists, protestors and community leaders as misguided or disingenuous for protesting the police but  ‘remaining silent’ to Black on Black crime. Here’s an example of what one police sympathizer posted up on my site the other day.

For the advocates, politicians, religious leader and other community leaders, I found that a lot of you have a habit of getting on the soapbox and crying foul and social justice to your followers when the opportunity avails. However, where are you all when there is/are (1) Black-on-Black or Brown-on-Brown crime, (2) schools are falling apart, (3) affirmative action was eliminated in good old liberal Cali, (3) young Black, Latinas and Asian girls being pimped and exploited [look no further than International Blvd/14th], (4) job/economic development opportunities, (5) low voter/political participation and (6) businesses being looted and temporary shut down that affect jobs and revenue. Where were you all when the young track star was gunned down or the pregnant women were shot or the boy was paralyzed by a stray bullet during piano practice. Where were you? Yes, the typical response to the usually dumbfounded individual when posed the question by the reporter… after trying to find those right words to say, is to blow off the question and stress that injustice of the “racist police” must stop and Oscar Grant’s death will not be in vain. If I was a family member of a victim of crime, I would be saying WTF, where were you all at for me. But, I have found that in the Bay Area, it is better to scream, shout, and react rather than putting deeds to words and being proactive in getting results. Too many of these so-called leaders or voices of the community have been talking (ala Tea Party, Glenn Beck, Fox News etc.) without doing any walking or showing tangible results. And many of them have a hard set take it or leave it mentality (ala Republicans) or it is you and not me mentality. And to tell you the truth, I (and probably the majority of other in Black and Oakland community) are getting real sick of the B.S and rhetoric from these glory hounds.

Here’s another example of a police officer who came out for the Pro-Johannes Mehserle rally in Walnut Creek earlier this summer. He’s the white guy with the baseball hat and you can hear him raising the same questions; Where are you when y’all are out there killing each other?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFtjO91dW9g&feature=related

Now on the surface such remarks sound somewhat ‘logical’ if you watch the news and see coverage of an Oscar Grant protest and don’t see coverage of protests or vigils for victims of crime. The truth of the matter its a false narrative.

For example, several days ago I challenged the person who posted this accusation where he accused organizers of being glory hounds to give me a list of names of organizers who are out there protesting at Oscar Grant rallies, but not doing community based work designed to uplift and heal the community. I also posted up this challenge on my twitter feed. It’s been 4 or 5 days and that person nor anyone else has yet to produce such a list. The reason is because when it comes down to it,  it was all talk. This poster like most critics who echo the sentiment of ‘Where y’all at? was nowhere to be found himself.

In addition, his sweeping statements conveniently discounted the fact that almost all the main organizers behind the Oscar Grant movement have long been involved with healing work in the community. Many are part of organizations that specifically work with at risk youth everyday.

Many of the organizers and activists that have fought for Justice for Oscar Grant have been doing work in their respective communities for a long time. That would include folks like Tony Coleman and spoken word artist Ner City

If he or anyone else actually did look up names then they would’ve discovered most of the folks out there at those rallies come from organizations like Leadership Excellence, Youth Speaks, Eastside Arts Alliance, Black Dot Cafe, Homies, United Playaz, Youth Uprising, Barrios Unidos, Urban Peace Movement, Youth radio, Colorlines, Zulu Nation, Grind for the Green, Silence the Violence, POCC, Ella Baker Center, All of us or None, Love Life Foundation, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and this is just a short list. Point being… all these organizations as well as the numerous churches ranging from Allen Temple, Olivette, the Nation of Islam etc. involved with seeking Justice for Oscar Grant do work every single day in the community. They do this work without the glare and spotlight of TV cameras.

Much of what they do is not glamorous work. It doesn’t make for good TV news coverage. After all, as most who put in work will tell you, it takes more than a march and a vigil to turn things around in the community. It’s about building trust and nurturing relationships. It’s about teaching folks conflict resolution. It’s about trying to find ways to uplift people’s self-esteem. It’s about being there for those who are in the most distressed situations and helping those find ways to heal those who are lashing out because of past traumas as well as heal those who are victims. There are no easy solutions.

Do we really only come together to protest the police? Almost every last one of the mostly religious leaders pictured here has programs that specifically deal with violence in the community. Look them up, check their record

Many of these organizers are also the ones that frequently serve as long-term mentors to the troubled youth they encounter. Other work with them in art and cultural programs where they can express themselves as a way to healing and finding new direction. Many work in the schools or have been a part of leadership camps where they volunteer their time. Others have given money. Still others go behind the walls either to prison or juvenile facilities to work with those who are usually shunned and discarded. Many do work where they help those who just out of jail transition back into society. Very few have sat back and placated violence in the community. One has to question the sincerity of those who would suggest that. Common sense would tell you otherwise.

With respect to protesting police brutality, there’s a few points we should be clear on. First marches and rallies around instances of police brutality usually happen when the most egregious situations go down. I.e. the shooting death of an unarmed Black man. Not every assault, abuse and humiliation has resulted in a huge show of support. Perhaps they should because then folks who live outside those communities most subjected to police abuse would understand how pervasive and widespread it is. But sadly many find themselves spread thin because they are already doing other critical work in the community.

Most organizers understand police misconduct is systemic and requires long-term solutions where your both pushing for change within the department and pushing for accountability mechanisms on the outside via legislation. Because the police are part of the government which our tax dollars pay for, one may use a variety of tactics to bring attention to a concern and petition for change. Hence a large march and rally in front of city hall in theory sends a strong message to lawmakers the community is upset and is demanding changes.

Lawmakers at City Hall looking out their windows and seeing a large protest  understand the end result could be the community voting them out of office if they ignore their demands. Lawmakers understand that a protest could lead to community members withholding campaign contributions in future elections. They also understand that lack of response to a protest could result in a costly disruption of business as usual. Voting, Protesting and economic punishment are the languages many law makers understand and so a skilled organizer applies them.

This leads us to a deeper understanding of the dynamics at play when we’re dealing with the police. Keep in mind,  we pay their salary, training and equipment with our taxes. They are hired to protect and serve us and have been given an array of powers including the right to carry firearms and use deadly force to help them carry that out their duties. When they fail at their job it’s a big deal because much has been invested in them and much is expected.

This is no different then the way we collectively act when an airplane crashes versus a car. Car crashes happen more frequently, but when  plane crashes our societal confidence  is shattered and we quickly seek ways to ensure the public not to be afraid of boarding a plane again..

When incidents of police brutality occur it shatters the confidence we as people are supposed to have in them and the system. People stand up to seek justice as a way to restore faith into the process we are told we need to take to address grievances. When that also fails which is how many saw the judges sentencing decision of Johannes Mehserle, people move dangerously close to completely checking out and being despondent or  they become extremely angry and start rebelling.

We don’t have the same political investment and focused social expectations of the neighborhood thug. In many ways we feel at the end of the day we have as a community have the tools and resources to ultimately contain and shut down the thug. In the back of many people’s minds we simply have not exhausted all our options. It’s only when we feel we dont have final say so over the thug do we as community react the way we do when the police kill someone.

M-1 of dead prez noted our reaction or lack of reaction to police terrorism centers on how we deal with power

Right now we don’t feel we get the last word with the police..I think M1 of dead prez said it best on our radio show yesterday.. This all boils down to power and who ultimately has it. In theory the people are supposed to have it, but thus far the police as an institution have positioned themselves as the final power broker over various marginalized communties in particular Black and Brown.

With the Oscar Grant killing we saw the police exercise that power by executing him for all to see on the eve of the inauguration of nation getting its first African American president-(January  1 2009) Grant’s public slaying was a brutal reminder to folks that even with a Black President in the White House, you have no power.

That feeling of powerlessness motivated a lot of people to seek justice and turn the tables. Lots of obstacles were tossed in the way and with each step they were overcome and done away with by those seeking justice.. The DA was changed, the BART police chief forced to resign, officers were fired and for the first time in California’s history, a white officer was brought to trial in criminal court for the murder of a Black man. The balance of power was shifting resulting in a people starting to believe the system could be something we could depend upon thus giving the people final say so.

Unfortunately but not surprising, there was major push back as the police departments throughout the state sought to retain their hold. Every single police union in California came to Sacramento pledging support for Johannes Mehserle. They chipped in resources, paid for his lawyer and basically went all out to help him win his trial.

When Judge Robert Perry went out of his way to side with the police and blame Oscar Grant for his own death, it was a cruel reminder to the family and the community at large that we dont have power especially within the system we invested in.

Bottom line is that some of the police brutality cases are much more then isolated incidents.  They are major markers that indicate there’s an opportunity to flip the script, dismantle or at the very least, peel away some layers from an oppressive institution. With this in mind, when you hear someone complain that our community is protesting the police but seemingly not protesting the the day to day violence, its hard not to see this as a ploy to keep us from challenging an institution that needs to be held accountable.

Take a second look at that video from the Pro-Mehserle rally and see if you see a man (the white cop) who is genuinely concerned about the loss of Black lives in the hood or someone who simply wants to hold onto power at all costs.

As for the ‘concerned community’ members who raise these questions… well some folks have always been afraid of us leaving the plantation and being free.

Something to ponder

Davey D

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

Killer Cop Gets away w/ Murder: Johannes Mehserle Gets 2 Years w/ Credit for Time Served!

This man got two years w/ credit for time served for shooting an unarmed , subdued man at point blank range..

 

Hard Knock Radio Oscar Montage: ‘The Verdict & the Letter-We Want Justice

This is a montage put together by DJ Mike Biggz of HKR…This is what we opened our show with this aftermnoon…

http://www.swift.fm/mrdaveyd/song/76109/

Today we had a gross miscarriage of justice.. Judge Robert Perry threw out the gun enhancement clause.. (10yrs) and then gave Johannes Mehserle 2yrs with credit for 146 days with time served..

Football star Plexico Burris did more time shooting himself than Mehserle. Michael Vick did more time  than Mehserle..

Rally today at downtown oakland 2pm.. Shame on mehserle., the Judge and any police officer who sat back and allowed this to take place without speaking out..

Today was not a good day..It makes you wonder if there even is a such thing as JUSTICE.. Maybe it doesn’t exist. maybe we been hoodwinked and bamboozled..

Lemme know if someone knows where JUSTICE is at?

Eric Holder? President Obama? Why are u guys in office if your not gonna make sure justice is not carried out..

We should also remember that earlier today, Neo Nazis showed up at the courthouse and started funk with Black folks, in particular the Black Riders.. One Neo Nazi was arrested while three Black Riders were arrested. Yep the racism was thick both on and off the bench.

Here are two heartfelt speeches to give folks better context as to what’s at stake.. The first one is from Oscar Grant’s ‘sister in law’ ( the aunt to his daughter Tatiana… Its a letter to Judge Robert Perry where she breaks down how his death has impacted the family.. The second is from Minister Keith who has been on the case from day one.. He sums up everything that has happened and what we are ultimately seeking-Justice..

http://www.swift.fm/mrdaveyd/song/76046/ Open Letter to Judge Robert Perry

http://www.swift.fm/mrdaveyd/song/76047/ Minister Keith Speaks

Follow @OscarGrantTrial for up to date info on sentencing on twitter