There’ve been some important developments in the case which for me, is a local story. I’m glad it has national interest. My hope is that having 2 black men — Eric Holder as Attorney General and Obama as president — in positions of power that the universal American police policy of harassing black men for being alive and walking/driving down the street, too often leading to arrest, injury and even death.

Here’s some quick updates.

* Above, here’s Oscar Grant’s sister-in-law and family spokesperson reacting to Mehserle’s release on bond.

* Yesterday there was a protest that expanded quickly from a few dozen protesters to quite a few hundred according to KRON 4 tv which covered it live. People spontaneously filled the streets on hearing that bail was set for the cop who killed Oscar Grant at $3 million. Mehserle was unfortunately released from custoday. Many here believe that Grant should have been held without bond. Police cracked down quickly on the peaceful protest, arresting several people.

Oakland police say nine people were arrested in a demonstration that followed a bail hearing for former BART Officer Johannes Mehserle on Friday. Police spokesperson Jeff Thomason reports four juveniles and five adults were arrested for failing to disperse.

KRON 4 has been liveblogging the protests in Oakland. Good reading.

The scene for the protests was set by this news earlier in the week which infuriated the public:

The attorney representing a family in a wrongful death claim against BART is calling for the transit agency’s police chief to be fired for circulating a memo telling officers how they can send money, food, books and personal mail to the former officer charged with murder.

Attorney John Burris says the Grant family is shocked and appalled by BART Police Chief Gary Gee’s message, adding that it contradicts statements by other BART officials and board members previously condemning Johannes Mehserle’s actions, “It is unacceptable for the police chief, who ostensibly is investigating Mehserle and other officers to encourage offices to visit and make financial contributions to Mehserle.”

* A friend who reads JJP has encouraged me to say look — it’s not just about one bad cop. Who hired him, trained him, supervised him? The problem with racial profiling & police brutality is at the top and not just at the bottom. It’s training and policies and culture.

Earlier in the week, Oakland Police Chief Wayne Tucker resigned today in the face of a City Council no-confidence vote. From the San Jose Merc:

The resignation comes as the department is plagued with scandals and under investigation by the FBI. The state Justice Department is also investigating how the department handled the killing of journalist Chauncey Bailey in 2007. Tucker is also the subject of a whistleblower complaint filed in December, alleging he promoted the then-police union president in exchange for killing a no-confidence vote by rank and file officers.

[...]

Tucker also lambasted council members for criticizing his promotion last year of Capt. Edward I. Poulson to the head of the Internal Affairs Division despite Poulson’s record of having interfered with an internal affairs investigation in 2000.Investigators found Poulson ordered subordinate officers to lie about the beating of a drug suspect, Jerry Amaro, who later died of complications of broken ribs. The FBI began an investigation of the case last week and Poulson was suspended without pay. No criminal charges were ever filed.

* Also last week, Color of Change unleashed another action related to the Grant case.

It wasn’t just one cop attacking Oscar Grant on New Year’s Eve. A new video shows that before Grant was killed, officer Tony Pirone punched him in the face without cause, hitting him so hard that he dropped to the ground. Experts have called it criminal. So why has the District Attorney said he’s not pursuing charges?

It took two weeks and thousands of people speaking out before the DA charged Oscar Grant’s killer with murder. Clearly, it will take continued public pressure to see that justice is served throughout this case. This is a moment to demand accountability, and your voice is critical.

Please take a moment to click the link below. By adding your voice, you’ll help us publicly confront District Attorney Tom Orloff, and put pressure on California’s Attorney General to keep an eye on how Orloff handles the case. It only takes a second. And please ask your friends and family to do the same.

http://www.colorofchange.org/grant/?id=1489-129670

Please take a sec and do it for Oscar…and for his parents.

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