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Oscar Grant Coalition Moving Ahead With Recall Effort of Alameda County D.A. Nancy O’ Malley ​

It was that report that prompted Grant’s family to ask O’Malley to reopen the case.

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A coalition is moving forward with a campaign to recall Alameda County District Attorney Nancy OMalley even though she has decided not to seek re-election.  

    O’Malley announced on May 18 that she will not seek a fourth term in 2023.

    The Justice 4 Oscar Grant Coalition is moving ahead with the recall campaign following OMalleys decision not to prosecute BART police Officer Anthony Pirone for his part in the shooting death of Oscar Grant III. Grant died after BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle shot him early on New Years Day 2009 at the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland.

    “OMalley does not deserve to be considered for the office of District Attorney, having demonstrated her willingness to disregard the law and morality when it comes to the police killing of black people, the Rev. Wanda Johnson, Grants mother, said in a statement.

    “There is a mountain of evidence to prove this case of felony murder, but OMalley has refused to put that evidence before a jury, Johnson said.

    Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the killing. Pirone knelt on Grant prior to the shooting and used a racial slur several times while pinning Grant to the ground. Pirone later said he was repeating what Grant was saying to him.

    A 2009 report by former Oakland City Attorney Jayne Williams and then-attorney Kimberly Colwell of the law firm Meyers Nave that was released publicly a decade later arguedthat Officer Pirones overly aggressive and unreasonable actions and conduct in violation of policy and acceptable standards contributed substantially to the escalation of the hostile and volatile atmosphere during the course of the incident.

    It was that report that prompted Grants family to ask OMalley to reopen the case. The Grant family alleges that Pirone played a larger role in their family member’s death than just pinning the young man to the ground.  

   Pirone brutally assaulted Grant and held him down on the BART platform to let Mehserle shoot him in the back, according to the coalition.

   The charge against Pirone would have to be premeditated murder because the statute of limitations has run out on the lesser charges of murder.

   “While Pirones overly aggressive conduct contributed to the chaotic nature of what transpired on the BART platform, the district attorneys office said in a report on its decision not to charge Pirone, there was no evidence that Pirone knew in advance that Mehserle was going to shoot Mr. Grant.

   Elected officials from all over the Bay Area have urged OMalley to pursue charges, including state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Oakland, and now-state Attorney General Rob Bonta.

    OMalley told Johnson on April 29 that prosecutors would not seek charges against Pirone.

    Once OMalleys term is up, her replacement could seek premeditated murder charges against Pirone as the statute of limitations does not expire on first-degree murder.

   Other support for an investigation of Pirone has come from Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson, who is now president of the Board of Supervisors and the board itself, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, the Oakland City Council, the Oakland Police Commission and BARTs own board.

    Still, the coalition said, OMalley will not let a jury weigh in.

    The coalition believes OMalley is unfit for office and it does not want her to retire with benefits and potentially ordain her successor.

    “The recall of Nancy OMalley will not only guarantee OMalley will never again be positioned to obstruct justice but also will send a strong message to all those who would seek to be Alameda County D.A., that the people of this County, the seat of which is Oakland, will not elect anyone not committed to bringing the Oscar Grant case to justice, said Alicia Garza, Black Lives Matter co-founder and a long-time supporter of the Justice for Oscar Grant Movement, in a statement.

    The coalition said the recall effort is gaining ground.

 

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Rep. Barbara Lee Issues Statement on 2nd Anniversary of George Floyd, Applauds Executive Order on Policing

“Two years ago, George Floyd’s brutal murder at the hands of law enforcement swept the nation. His life was taken from him by a broken, racist criminal justice system. While his death catalyzed protests across the country, real systemic change has largely been out of reach,” said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)

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“Hundreds of others have been the victims of racial profiling in the years since, some losing their lives, some making the news, other cases not getting the attention they warranted. On this painful anniversary, my thoughts and prayers are first and foremost with George’s family (pictured) and community,” said Rep. Barbara Lee.
“Hundreds of others have been the victims of racial profiling in the years since, some losing their lives, some making the news, other cases not getting the attention they warranted. On this painful anniversary, my thoughts and prayers are first and foremost with George’s family (pictured) and community,” said Rep. Barbara Lee.

Rep. Barbara Lee issued the following statement Wednesday on the second anniversary of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and in response to a new Executive Order on policing issued by President Biden:

“Two years ago, George Floyd’s brutal murder at the hands of law enforcement swept the nation. His life was taken from him by a broken, racist criminal justice system. While his death catalyzed protests across the country, real systemic change has largely been out of reach.

“Hundreds of others have been the victims of racial profiling in the years since, some losing their lives, some making the news, other cases not getting the attention they warranted. On this painful anniversary, my thoughts and prayers are first and foremost with George’s family and community.

“Today, President Biden made progress in repairing the broken system that led to George’s death with a historic Executive Order to combat police brutality. I commend the president for taking action to promote accountability, raise standards, increase transparency, and reform the criminal justice system.

“However, this EO alone is not enough. State and local police departments must follow. The Senate must find the political will to abolish the filibuster and pass meaningful police accountability legislation. Black lives and the fate of this nation depend on it.”

Read the full text of the executive order here.

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Protest of Palestinian American Journalist’s Killing by Israeli Police Draws 500 in S.F.

“If you were a Palestinian anywhere around the world who watched the news since the late ’90s, you grew up with Shireen Abu Akleh,” said Sabreen Imtair, a San Francisco State University student and Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) member in an interview during the protest. “A lot of people are saying they lost a household member. We are really feeling her loss right now.”

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Protesters march down 16th Street in San Francisco on May 14 to speak out against the Israeli killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, 74 years of occupation, and USA support of Israel. Photo by Zack Haber.
Protesters march down 16th Street in San Francisco on May 14 to speak out against the Israeli killing of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, 74 years of occupation, and USA support of Israel. Photo by Zack Haber.

By Zack Haber

Starting at noon on May 14, over 500 people rallied and marched in San Francisco’s Mission District to protest the killing of Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and 74 years of Israeli occupation of Palestine.

“If you were a Palestinian anywhere around the world who watched the news since the late ’90s, you grew up with Shireen Abu Akleh,” said Sabreen Imtair, a San Francisco State University student and Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) member in an interview during the protest. “A lot of people are saying they lost a household member. We are really feeling her loss right now.”

Abu Akleh, who had worked for the Al Jazeera news network for 25 years as one of the most prominent journalists reporting in Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, died of a bullet wound on May 11 while covering an Israeli army raid in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank.

She was wearing a blue vest with large white letters stating “PRESS.” During Abu Akleh’s massive funeral on May 13, Israeli police beat people carrying her casket.

“We’re not even able to bury our dead in peace,” said AROC organizer Sharif Zakout during a speech at the San Francisco protest. “It’s disgusting.”

AROC, Palestinian Action Network, Palestinian Youth Movement, and Jewish Voice For Peace organized the San Francisco demonstration. It was one of at least 60 such actions occurring between May 14-16 around the world to remember Abu Akleh and to mark Nakba Day, an annual commemoration for Palestinians that began after 1948, when the British government formally stopped recognizing the state of Palestine and recognized Israel in its place.

This sparked the Arab-Israeli war when Zionist military forces expelled over 750,000 Palestinians and captured 78% of Palestine’s land.

In an interview at the protest, Lisa Rofel, a member of Jewish Voice For Peace, spoke out against Israeli occupation and explained why the Jewish group was present.

“We’re here because we strongly support the Palestinian struggle for liberation from Israeli occupation,” Rofel said. “It’s an occupation which has been vicious, cruel and inhumane and now has turned into military rule over almost every aspect of Palestinians’ lives. We also demand an end to U.S. complicity in that occupation.”

According to a report by Congressional Research Service, the Biden administration has allocated over $3.8 billion in military financing and missile defense funding to Israel this year.

During the demonstration, a diverse array of people that included elders along with young children, marched about a mile-long route carrying signs, banners, Palestinian flags, and art as they chanted in English and Arabic. Over 18 marchers carried one giant Palestinian flag together.

Some protesters carried signs stating 55 journalists have been killed by Israeli forces since 2000, a figure The Palestinian Journalists’ Union cites.

Other protesters carried signs calling attention to Ahmed Manasra, a 21-year-old Palestinian who has been imprisoned since he was arrested at age 13 after being with his cousin, who allegedly stabbed two Israeli settlers in Pisgat Ze’ev.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, UN bodies and the International Court of Justice considers Pisgat Ze’ev an illegal settlement.

Chris Gazaleh, a Palestinian American artist based in San Francisco, made some of the art for the rally by creating signs inspired by Palestinian architecture and Arabic calligraphy to represent cities that Zionists ethnically cleansed during the 1948 Nakba.

During a speech at this year’s San Francisco Nabka rally, Rivka Louissant, a Haitian cultural worker who organizes with the an anti-war and anti-racism coalition ANSWER, spoke about how people and organizations are increasingly supporting an end to Israeli occupation and the struggle for Palestinian autonomy.

“Support for Palestinian rights and BDS is more popular than ever,” Louissant said. “The public is waking up to the evils of imperialism.”

In April of last year, Human Rights Watch accused Israel of “crimes of apartheid,” and in February of this year, Amnesty International described Israel as an “apartheid system,” and characterized its treatment of Palestinians as “a crime against humanity.”

Some local politicians have recently shown support for Israel. During a speech at the rally, AROC organizer Sharif Zakout criticized San Francisco Board Supervisor Rafael Mandelman for his recent visit to Israel for the Israel Seminar in light of Shireen Abu Akleh’s killing. Zakout characterized the seminar as “a propaganda trip.” The Israel Seminar is organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council, which has taken a public stand against the BDS movement, and has refused to denounce Israeli attacks against Palestinians. Photos from the trip, posted on May 15 and 16, also show Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín, and San Mateo Councilmember Amourence Lee.

“We are here today to say the Bay Area does not put up with that BS,” said Zakout to cheers from the protesters. “We stand with oppressed people everywhere. From Haiti to Palestine to Sri Lanka, we stand by resisting all state violence, colonialism, occupation and warfare.”

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Reparations Task Force: What to Expect in the Committee’s First Report

California’s AB 3121, signed into law in 2020, created the nine-member task force to investigate the history and costs of slavery in California and around the United States. AB 3121 charges the Reparations Task Force with studying the institution of slavery and its lingering negative effects on Black Californians who are descendants of persons enslaved in the United States.

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Six of the nine members of the California Task Force to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals for African Americans. From left to right are Don Tamaki, Jovan Scott Lewis, chair Kamilah Moore, vice-chair Dr. Rev. Amos Brown, Dr. Cheryl Grills, and California State Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena). CBM photo by Antonio Ray Harvey.
Six of the nine members of the California Task Force to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals for African Americans. From left to right are Don Tamaki, Jovan Scott Lewis, chair Kamilah Moore, vice-chair Dr. Rev. Amos Brown, Dr. Cheryl Grills, and California State Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena). CBM photo by Antonio Ray Harvey.

By Antonio Ray Harvey, California Black Media

The California Task Force to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals for African Americans will submit its first report to the California Legislature in June.

The 13-chapter document will detail the committee’s findings so far and include recommendations related to them.

Task force member Donald K. Tamaki said the “comprehensive report connects the dots between past racism and its current consequences.” He also inferred that the report presents a “landmark opportunity” to shape the national conversation around reparations.

“I think the report will not only attract California publicity but will also be looked upon nationally,” Tamaki said before the task force approved the report. “With the report, we can go out to the people to develop an allyship and (generate) support for it.”

As prescribed in Assembly Bill (AB) 3121, the report will establish how California laws and policies have disproportionately and negatively affected African Americans. The report will be available to the public.

The California Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Civil Rights Enforcement Section formulated the document based on hearings, expert testimonies, and evidence accumulated since the panel first convened on June 1, 2021.

One of the DOJ’s duties is to facilitate task force consultation with various experts on California history and reparations. The department also provides administrative, technical, and legal assistance to the panel.

The preliminary report opens with an introduction that leads to chapters focused on enslavement, racial terror and political disenfranchisement, among others. It also covers a range of topics documenting historical injustices Black Americans have endured, including housing segregation, separate and unequal education, environmental racism, and others.

Titles such as “Pathologizing the Black Family;” “Control over Spiritual, Creative and Cultural life;” “Stolen Labor and Hindered Opportunity;” and “An Unjust Legal System,” among others, frame the testimonies and historical accounts recorded during the task force meetings.

Task Force Chair Kamilah Moore wrote the foreword. Her introduction is an overview of the task force’s activities over the last year.

“This interim report will catalog all those harms we’ve discussed throughout those two-day virtual meetings since June of last year,” Moore said in an online Blk TLK Platform discussion in April. “It will also have some preliminary recommendations for the legislation to adopt.”

The first report was supervised by Michael Newman, the California Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Senior Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Enforcement Section (DOJCRE).

The task force voted to describe the first presentation, the “Interim Report.”

Tamaki said about 10 DOJCRE attorneys — including Deputy Attorney General Xiyun Yang, DOJCRE Legal Assistant Francisco Balderrama and additional DOJ staff members created the report.

In a collaborative effort, the diverse DOJCRE team, Newman added, consulted with the task force to determine edits, make clarifications in terminology, modify corrections, and implement recommendations.

“It was a labor of love for everyone who worked on it,” Newman said during the task force meeting held in San Francisco on April 14. “I also want to thank all of the (task force) members and the community’s input in producing an incredible record.”

California’s AB 3121, signed into law in 2020, created the nine-member task force to investigate the history and costs of slavery in California and around the United States. AB 3121 charges the Reparations Task Force with studying the institution of slavery and its lingering negative effects on Black Californians who are descendants of persons enslaved in the United States.

The group is tasked with studying and developing reparation proposals for African Americans and recommending appropriate ways to educate Californians about the task force’s findings.

After the task force decided on March 30 that lineage will determine who will be eligible for compensation, the panel approved a framework for calculating how much should be paid — and for which offenses — to individuals who are Black descendants of enslaved people in the United States.

An expert team of economists identified 13 categories that would be the basis of the method used to calculate damages and determine what constitutes harms and atrocities. A second report is due by July 2023 when the task force two-year charge is expected to end.

Members of the task force include Moore, a Los Angeles-based attorney, reparations scholar and activist; vice-chair Dr. Amos Brown, a civil rights leader and respected Bay Area pastor whose journey to leadership started under the tutelage of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s; Cheryl Grills, a professor at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles; and Lisa Holder, a nationally recognized trial attorney.

Rounding out the panel are Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena); Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles); San Diego Councilmember Monica Montgomery Steppe; Dr. Jovan Scott Lewis, chair of the Department of Geography at the University of California Berkeley; and Donald Tamaki, Esq. is an attorney best known for his role in the reopening of the Supreme Court case Korematsu v. the United States, which led to the conviction being overturned of Fred Korematsu who refused to be taken into custody during the imprisonment of Japanese Americans in World War II.

For more information, visit https://oag.ca.gov/ab3121#

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