From Oscar Grant to Pace University Student Danroy Henry-Remembering those Killed by the Police

Bay Area Residents were insulted to see this sign calling for Freedom of a killer cop during the SF Giants Playoff game.

This past week the Bay Area and those who want Justice 4 Oscar Grant were insulted when the father and supporters of killer cop Johannes Mehserle showed up to McCovey Cove in a Yacht next to Candlestick Park during the Giants playoff games and unfolded ‘Free Mehserle’ banners. The signs were seen nationwide as TV cameras would show the signs when panning into the outfield.

Bay Area folks weren’t having it and dispatched a boat of their own to the cove to unveil large Justice 4 Oscar Grant banners. Police supporters driving the Yacht attempted ram the Grant boat and now the Bay is on fire as the November 5th sentencing looms near.

This Saturday at 12 noon there will be a huge rally in downtown Oakland in front of City Hall.. The rally sponsored by the Longshoremen’s Union will be accompanied by them shutting down ports on the west coast to bring attention to the Oscar Grant case…

As folk here in Cali rally for Oscar Grant, many will also have their hearts, minds and attention on the recent police killing of 20-year-old star football player and Pace University student Danroy Henry aka DJ Henry.

For folks who don’t know the story, last weekend, Henry and fellow teammate and best friend Brandon Cox were parked in the fire lane in front of a bar in Westchester County near the Pace University campus, when a chaotic fight broke out. Henry and Cox weren’t involved. In fact Henry was the designated driver and was waiting to take his friends home.  When police showed up on the scene and did what they normally do, start barking orders with a ‘take no mess‘ attitude as they began ordering folks around, trying to clean up the scene. Among those ordered was Henry.

According to police they tapped on the window of Henry’s car and ‘he suddenly sped off hitting an officer and putting his life in danger‘. Police claimed they were fearing for their lives as one officer was supposedly clinging to the hood of the car, thus compelling them to shoot and kill Henry. Note this is the story the police told and its been debunked by dozens of witnesses on the scene.

According to passenger Brandon Cox and witnesses to the horrific scene, cops tapped on the window and Henry slowly drove off believing he was being ordered move away from the fire lane. He didn’t speed off and no officer was hit and left clinging to his windshield, yet shots were fired into the vehicle killing Henry. This was a popular well mannered young man who was not a known troublemaker, had no criminal record and who was unarmed.

Our hearts go out to Pace University football player 20 year old Danroy Henry who gunned down by police & handcuffed while he lay dying. Thousands came out for his vigil. This week's Pace games were canceled

After the car was stopped/crashed, Henry was pulled out and handcuffed while he lay on the ground dying. His friends rushed to his aid and were tasered and handcuffed by Mt Pleasant police. . Some of his friends knew CPR and wanted to keep him alive. They were in shock he was shot by the police. It was only after witnesses, many of them white screamed at police that what they did was wrong that they relented and took the handcuffs off the mortally wounded Henry.

When the ambulance arrived, medical workers were directed to the police officers who were hardly injured (they got hurt after shooting Henry). While they looked after the police, Henry lay on the ground with bullets wounds for over 15 minutes before he was tended to…As we know he eventually died from his injuries.  More details around this are still forth coming. Thousands came out for a vigil to honor Henry. This week’s Pace football game  was cancelled

Our experience with Oscar Grant, had many of us here in Cali wondering if police in Mt Pleasant, NY employed similar tactics to cover up their wrong doings. If folks recall, in the first hours after Grant was shot, police funneled reports to local media about him having a criminal past. This was aired and used as some sort of justification for him being killed that fateful New Years morning. We’re almost sure police were looking for dirt on Henry. Fortunately this was a good kid and so the typical police narrative of the bad apple being shot doesn’t hold water.  As we speak police have been combing the area ‘looking for witnesses to collaborate their story’ that Henry was in the wrong and put officers lives in danger.

Oscar Grant

We don’t think so. For many of us this is Sean Bell and Oscar Grant all over again. Our condolences and prayers to the Henry family. They stated in interviews that they want the truth. We hope that’s afforded to them and that the police do what never happened with Grant, apologize to them for this inexcusable behavior.

We also hope that good minded peace officers will take bold steps forward and speak out and say ‘enough is enough’. It’s good to see Republican Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Henry’s home state, is speaking out and calling for an investigation. Hopefully President Obama will speak out the way he’s done when officers have been slain.

Many of us will be speaking out both today Oct 22 and tomorrow during the rally as we pay tribute to Grant and other victims of police violence. We leave you with some videos that will hopefully raise awareness about the gravity of police brutality.

written by Davey D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXQmeT9nmLw&feature=player_embedded

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOk7Elnv79w

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-4o1CxvKfE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSFs1CQYDgY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMgccsq1IyM

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Killer Cop’s Dad Unveils ‘Free Mehserle’ Sign During SF Giant Game-Oscar Grant Supporters Counter

Killer Cop Johannes Mehersele

Looks like the father and un-remorseful police supporters of the killer cop Johannnes Mehserle who killed an unarmed Oscar Grant in front of hundreds New Years morning 2009 will not let up. According to Indy Bay the father and Mehserle’s brother have hung huge ‘Free Mehserle‘ banners from their Yacht in the McCovey Cove which is right outside of AT&T Park where the SF Giants play.

The other night the Yacht and sign made national attention and enraged the community which quickly responded by sending out boats carrying signs calling for Justice 4 Oscar Grant.  Yesterday we talked about this on our Hard Knock Radio show and learned from our guests that when folks holding the Oscar Grant banners showed up, Mehserle’s dad tried to run his boat into their smaller craft.

What’s at stake here is that Mehserle who is facing involuntary manslaughter charges is scheduled to be sentenced November 5th. The verdict is seen by many as unfair and way too soft for a guy who has a history of violence both on and off the force. Many feel that Mehserle is literally getting away with murder. The fact that every single police union in California petitioned the California Assembly in support in addition to funding his defense where expert witnesses were being paid 50 and 60 thousand dollars a pop sent a clear message. The police although paid by tax payer dollars are not in step with many of the communities they serve.

There’s a reason why so many people of all backgrounds have taken to the streets in support of Grant. First, what took place that fateful night was egregious. Racial epithets being hurled at Grant moments before he was shot, police falsifying reports to cover up the incident, the men on the platform forced to sit there for handcuffed hours after Grant was killed was inexcusable. The fact that there were no police officers holding press conferences assuring the public what took place was wrong brought up painful memories for many who have been victim or witnesses police misconduct.

As was pointed out during our interview with organizers Rachel Jackson, Jack Bryson and Jack Heyman of the Longshoremen’s Union it should be remembered that  since the late 70s over 10 thousand people have been killed by police. Bryson pointed out the overwhelming majority Black and Brown men.

Since the verdict, the police and cops-can-do-no-wrong Mehserle supporters have held all sorts of rallies around the Bay Area in an attempt to influence the sentencing judge. The rallies are held as a way to show that the public backs Mehserle and believes his story that he accidentally grabbed his taser as opposed to a gun.

Most of these rallies have been held in the suburbs 20-30 miles outside of Oakland where Mehserle did his dirty deed. I guess they wouldn’t find a supportive crowd in this neck of the woods which again, should show you just how disconnected things are between the police and  communities they serve.

It’s interesting to note that the police have adopted many of the tactics and populus slogans used by activists to bring attention to political prisoners. At these often sparsely attended rallies, you will see signs that read ‘Justice 4 Johannes Mehserle‘, ‘Free Johannes‘ even the The System is broken Free Mehserle Organizers present the story as if Mehserle is the victim, even though he’s the one who did the killing and has  yet to personally apologize to  the family including Grant’s 4-year-old daughter.

The community responded to Mehserle's father Free Mehserle signs with signs supporting Grant

The stunt with the Yacht is pulled from the direct action playbook of activists who often find themselves shut out by mainstream media and resort to hanging banners in public spaces as a way to bring attention to a cause. What’s sad here is that the police already have tight relationships with the media. We saw that during the day of the verdict where reporters were mainstream reporters were embedded along with the police while everyone else including scores of independent journalists were threatened with arrests, even after show department issued press passes. The police had created a second tier of passes.

Grant supporters are not sitting back and allowing this to go unchallenged. In addition to dispatching boats of their own, there are a plans by the Longshoremen’s Union to shut down the port of Oakland this Saturday. As Jack Heyman pointed out, many of his members could relate to the Grant killing. They have sons and daughters who have been mistreated by the police. Many of his members have found themselves being hemmed up. Heyman pointed out that when their union was forming there were striking members shot by the police. Heyman wrote a great article explaining why the Longshoremen’s Union will be shutting things down this weekend in support of Oscar Grant. Justice for Oscar Grant! Jail for Killer Cops! Longshore To Shutdown All Bay Area Ports

There will be a big rally in support of Oscar Grant this Saturday at 12 noon in front of Oakland City Hall. Perhaps folks should show up with signs that read ‘Fry Mehserle’ instead of ‘Free Mehserle

written by Davey D

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