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I'm Not Surprised At All

Bay Area youth respond to Oscar Grant shooting and protests

YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia, Commentaries, Words: Various Authors//Video: Min Lee Posted: Jan 16, 2009

Editor's Note: The shooting of 22-year-old Oscar Grant has galvanized Bay Area youth to protest and speak out about their own experiences with excessive police force. YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia is a project of New America Media.

Not Surprised By Cops Acting Shady

To me, the BART police officer who shot Oscar Grant just shows that some officers cant handle the power that comes from carrying a gun. It just makes you feel powerful -- period -- to know you can take someone's life with the click of a trigger. The answer is to find more cops that got a pure heart.

VIDEO: Jan. 13th protest and march in Oakland CA.

You see, I have seen the police do shady things to people and get away with it and it just adds more hatred to my heart for all law enforcement. I know about the abuse of power firsthand because they did the same thing to me when I was in jail. I had pushed a button to come out of the room for some air, and I was told to not push the button. I asked to talk to someone because I couldnt breathe and pushed the button again - thats when they came and beat me up. I was handcuffed on my wrist and ankles and dragged and beaten and had the clothes cut off me. Then I was thrown into a safety cell and left in there for hours. I noticed that the cops that said they voted for John McCain for president in November were very racist to people in jail. They just didnt treat you fair and they really abused their power cause they where mad we are going to have a black president and the majority of the jails is black, so they see it as my people coming up in this world and they dont like that.

The justice in this country is broke and I feel people have the right to act violent due to the BART shooting. Police are trained gunmen. That cop could have shot him anywhere else where he would not have died - like in the leg - but he chose to kill him. The solution is that more laws need to be made to protect people from being treated unfairly by the law, so the people will feel more safe and everybody will be treated equal no matter if you got a badge on or youre in an orange jumpsuit.

- Jerome, 20

Cops Are Racist

I cant believe what that BART police officer did. Well, nah, dont let me lie because me and my friends always have run-ins with the police and they try to hurt us with their racial comments like: "Its always the black people and they always play the race card, that time is over. We dont have to cater you black f-----s any more. What more do you guys need? You already have a black president. It just proves to me that were far from a change. Now in the case of Oscar Grant, I didn't hear about it on the news. Actually, a friend told me and asked me if I wanted to go to the protest for this dude and I said: Why not? Im all for trying to make a change in the world. Its a must that we change as people.

- Faith, 19

The Police Officer Needs to Go to Jail

I have had issues with the police. One time they told me to sit down and I didnt want to. But they made me sit down. As for the police officer who shot Oscar Grant, I think that he needs to go to jail because there are a lot of people who are protesting and angry at him - feeling like if it was anyone else, he would surely be in jail. I was involved in the protests in Oakland, and I felt that it was a way to let the police know its not okay to act that way just because they got the power. I feel that the protest was a good way to make changes in this world. I also feel it was good that a lot of people came together and spoke on how they felt.

- T, 17

Not the Only Young Black Man Shot This Year

Oscar Grant wasn't the only young black man shot by police this year, or even on New Years Day. In New Orleans French Quarter, 22-year-old Adolph Grimes IIIs murder has an eerie connection to Grant. He, too, was a young black Father, shot in the back at the hands of the police on New Years Day. There arent many details about the Grimes case, except that he had possession of a gun (a gun that he was licensed to carry), and that the young man with no prior police record is said to have opened fire on the police first leading to 14 shots being fired into his body at the hands of New Orleans finest. The difference here is that there is no video, nor is there a train full of eye witnesses so it will be easier for police to claim that this murder was justified, I mean its always justified right?

Strike three is the police shooting of Robert Tolan, the son of a former baseball player Bobby Tolan. An officer who mistakenly pulled him over on suspicion of driving a stolen vehicle shot Robert in the chest. Tolan survived, and is reported to be in fair condition, but his parents say they have plans to file charges against the Bellaire Police department.

Three Black men, three police shootings, coincidence? Im not suggesting that all of the police officers of the United States of America got together and decided, Hey lets kill young black men this year. If anything theyre conducting business as usual, but on the eve of Barack Obamas presidency nothing is too far fetched.

- Jazmyne, 20

Did He Do It on Purpose?

When is it okay for a police officer to shoot and kill an unarmed man? Even after he is already handcuffed and laying face down on the floor? I think BART officer Johannes Mehserle killed Oscar Grant by accident, but there was no reason for him to draw his gun, let alone point it at the victim. In the video you do not see any sign of resistance when two officers were driving their knees into the guys back. Grant was following orders just as the officers asked.

I was talking to my two older brothers and one commented that he thought the officer did it on purpose. He said: "I think he did it because he could. He violated his power (as an police officer)". I believe there are good cops, and there are bad cops, dirty suits, whatever you want to call them. My oldest brother said he had heard the officer was reaching for the taser gun, which is yellow. How did he confuse a black gun with a yellow gun is incredible.

Last week there was a riot in downtown Oakland, and another one this week, where cars were set on fire, windows were broken, a police car was jumped on top of. I seriously do not know how a violent protest was going to change anything. The police would just have to use violence to get the protesters to disperse. The only goal we could accomplish with the protest on Wednesday night was to lose more lives. Oakland is so angry right now it is blind to reason.

- Oscar, 16

Time for Revolution

Up until I learned of the BART shooting, I had been feeling pretty good about my New Year. New years day at 7:00 A.M., my brother and I found ourselves still awake, with an inability to sleep. So we woke my other brother up, climbed on to my roof, lit a cigarette and I watched the first sunrise of the year with people I love.

That hope I mustered on my roof was crushed the next day when I was hanging out at Dolores Park, and all of the drunks, bums, taggers, hipsters and DP rats started talking about how a BART Police Officer had shot and killed a man at 2:15 A.M. on New Years Day at Fruitvale BART station. The outrage the crowd displayed was overwhelming, and when I got home the first thing I did was watch the video.

These are the folks who are supposed to make me feel safe. No. I could hardly believe it. I watched a head-on view of an officer, who was on TOP of a black man and holding both his hands, stand up, draw his gun, and without ANY hesitation, shoot him in the BACK. You've got to be kidding me.

And what are kids supposed to think when they see this? Which some of them most definitely will; the video is everywhere. Are they supposed to see a cop the good guy holding a man who is doing close to nothing, then let go, stand up, and shoot him like a horse with a broken leg? I thought I was watching a movie when I saw it, in a scene where a mobster with absolutely no morals executes somebody who cut his coke. I clearly watched an officer execute the trust that all my fellow citizens and I have in him, and all of his colleagues.

Little did I realize how badly I want, how badly I feel a NEED, for a revolution to start.

- Silvano, 17

Related Articles:

Riots, Ruckus and Radicals: A message to the anarchists that hijacked the Oscar Grant protest

BART Slaying Gives Oakland Rocky Start in '09

Towering Obstacles in Prosecuting the Oscar Grant Killing

Pigs Go Home: Oakland Riots Bring Out My Demons

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