13

Oakland youth and the Oscar Grant verdict

A jury could begin deliberations this afternoon or tomorrow in the Mehserle murder trial, and there’s been much talk (some have called it hype) about what the reaction in Oakland will be, especially if the former BART police officer is acquitted. Youth UpRising is doing its part to keep the peace producing the above video and organizing an event at 5 p.m. on the day of the verdict, whenever that is. (Flier below.)

Heard of other activities?

Youth UpRising flier

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Katy Murphy

    The Oakland school district has posted safety tips for parents and information about the precautions it’s taking:

    http://publicportal.ousd.k12.ca.us/19941063019519640/site/default.asp

  • http://none Lon

    Why is this video ‘Private’?

  • Hot R

    Unfortunately, if students will kill each other for no reason every day as you’ve described in recent stories, what will they do when they do have a reason (Grant)or a target (the police)even if they connection is not that direct? We have already had recent examples, some of which I attribute to the media being manipulated by Grant’s family and attorneys. Ironically, they will get their money even if Mehserle is not convicted. All that is being accomplished is costing the City and County and merchants money they cannot afford, while potentially causing riots and damage in Oakland which will threaten the well-being of all the citizens. Name one African-American leader with enough pull to stop these riots… It’s not Kamala Harris. That recent “surplus” BART had should have been paid into a fund to pay for the damage from the inevitable riot.

    By the way – BAD idea to have any kind of rally that day. It will get hijacked.

  • Katy Murphy

    Good question. It wasn’t yesterday.

  • Katy Murphy

    OK, I’ve found another version of the PSA and posted that. It should work now.

  • Nextset

    Well, the way I see it, the good parents will keep their kids safe and out of the expected Oscar Grant riots. The bad parent(s) will have their kids in the middle of it.

    As far as what the schools will do? That’s a harder question. Some things are still the parent(s) responsibility and not the schools, and kids with good parents have a much better life expectancy than those without. By life expectancy in this instance I mean avoiding early death and serious injury, as well as avoiding casualties such as getting raped/molested/STDs/early addiction and so forth. (Victimization is neither race nor class neutral)

    The schools are in no position to nursemaid the kiddies to keep their casualty odds down. I wish they could, but it just doesn’t seem to work out even if you do try.

    Having children under age 21 going to Oscar Grant rallies upon the verdict is even less safe than having children of similar age attending candlelight vigils for the dead in gang killings. Just not a good idea, really unhealthy thing to do.

    Can the schools tell people that they really should stay home and watch it on TV? I suppose they could physically pass out a flyer. Would it change much? I doubt it.

    Same thing with AIDS education. And Sex education. And Domestic Violence Education.

    The schools are not a substitute for a parent. It doesn’t work when you try. And trying sure annoys the kids and the families.

    So what to do?

    Think of it as evolution in action.

    As for the verdict, the “murder” case is less than worthless. I also predict no manslaughter conviction. I expect an outright aquital or a hung jury lopsided for acquital. With this jury I don’t see a hung jury. They will try to end this.

    What the schools could do is teach the kiddies the definitions of these crimes and better yet, pass out the state jury instructions on them and have the kids read that aloud. They need to understand what the jury is going through and why things look the way they do. Kids are more easily manipulated by anarchists if they are kept stupid. Of course the schools aren’t doing this – which leave the kids easily riled by exhortations of “unfairness”.

    There is nothing unfair about the terms “Gross Negligence” and “Malice” & “Contributory Negligence” which are well defined. There are published cases discussing fact patterns historically found to be Malicious and Grossly Negligent. The reason those in the know are expecting not to have a guilty verdict is we know those terms and we know something about jury trials. While anything is possible – this doesn’t look so good for the Oscar Grant (Parolee Thug?) partisans.

    Ditto Rodney King Affair. Same verdicts, same process.

    In re-reading this I see my own contradictions. On one hand I feel you can’t fix stupid. On the other hand I say you can reduce the march over a cliff by educating the would be rabble. It seems I’m saying that the rabble aren’t rabble when they really know the score. As if teens make logical choices when they have a hot date to go to a riot.

    Maybe I’m just fatalistic about all of this.

    When I’m talking to people who want to be angry and enjoy feeling victimized, truth just doesn’t do much good. They have to go get it out of their system. It will be interesting when they encounter other people who don’t intend to be good victims. The Korean Merchants from the Rodney King riots, I hear they’re now armed to the teeth. Police agencies have used their Fed hand-outs to buy really powerful weapons.

    Brave New World.

  • Nextset

    I see Willie Brown predicts a conviction for involuntary manslaughter and no significant time. His opinions have to be taken seriously but I don’t feel his predicted result is as obvious as he does. I see to many similarities to the Rodney King trials and I see too many women on the jury. Opposite sex jurors in my experience tend to give breaks to defendants that same sex won’t especially in a “difficult” trial, and especially when the jurors are not racial opposites. Simply put it’s easier for them to fantasize about the defendant when the same sex jurors don’t tend to go there (“poor so-and-so, etc). I don’t feel I have a strong command of exactly how much detail the jury has sat through, I’m mainly going on what is publicly known about the whole mess to date. I believe that jury (as most non-black juries would) is going to identify with the nice young officer and not the predatory parolee – which on top of the facts of the case (ordinary negligence vs gross negligence vs contributory negligence) should produce and aquittal, as it did in Rodney King. And remember your reasonable doubt standard. If there is a reasonable doubt that this CAN happen without gross negligence, he walks. Is it true that there are 4 other documented similar shootings involving officers and departments with newly introduced Taser deployment – none of which ever led to a prosecution much less a conviction? Was that mentioned in this trial?

    Some of this reminds me of people starting high-speed chases with the cops then complaining when they got run into/over during the chase. That’s not gross negilence either. I suspect the jury will be talking about these things.

    If anything, the presence of Grant’s family in court during the trial will increase this disidentification. Collectively – the family/society of Oscar Grant are why Los Angeles Unified is less than 6% white and all the mothers work so they can send their kids to schools without people like the Grants. They know them, and they do not like them at all.

    Disidentification. It’s one of the things our urban public school system has produced in full force. It’s what makes the products so unemployable, and it can also lead to Rodney King verdicts AND the OJ Simpson verdicts. These juries, these people, are living in two nations, separate, distinct, and irreconcilable.

    And if I’m right in this case – maybe I’m not – the rioting (if it occurs) is part of this disidentification. It leads to non support of the urban schools, and their products. And the process continues. Our suburban police agencies have purchaced full automatic weapons with federal stimulus money (so I’ve heard). Even certain school districts have. If the rioters approach homes and buildings with Molotov Cocktails they will be shot, I expect.

    But I’m not sure the rioters would expect it. Maybe they are correct that OPD will allow them to destroy their own neighborhoods and even the downtown without slaughtering them like the suburban police and residents will. They may have a point, Dellums is Mayor – you won’t see any “shoot looters on sight” order from him.

    It must be the school they went to. The schools teach the notion that you can do too many things and not be (literally or figuratively) killed on the spot. I seem to remember my teachers telling us “you can be killed for less…” on occasion.

    On some level all of this mess starts with the urban schools carefully not teaching the kiddies what world they are in.

    People who go looking for trouble usually find it. They should wear flack jackets and have lots of life insurance. Like the cops do. Grant didn’t, and neither will the potential rioters.

    Think of it as Evolution in Action.

    And we’d have less of this if the urban schools maintained deportment standards instead of educating some people with lower deportment standards in the name of keeping them pacified and the administrators safely employed.

  • harold

    What do you know about the Grant family?

    They seem like good people … well spoken on TV … thoughtful, measured comments (given the context), especially Oscar’s Mother.

    I didn’t know Oscar, but i know he didn’t “deserve” to die on that evening.

  • J.R.

    It’s a strange thing about people, sometimes they make bad choices in life and make choices about putting themselves in bad situations or places where bad things can happen and put themselves in danger. Parents ask the question “where did I go wrong”? Well the answer is right in the mirror. I hope that “mamalady & babymama” both enjoy the big payday because one thing is sure, that money will provide 1,000,000 times more than that thug ever would have. He didn’t deserve to die, but all his life he kept making the wrong decisions and sooner or later your luck just runs out. If he would have been killed in a robbery attempt or drug deal gone bad his family would not be in line for a shot a the lottery like they are right now. There is upside to this, but that money wont last long, it never does.

  • Nextset

    Willie Brown got it right as always. I look forward to his continuing predictions and analysis – even if I don’t come to the same conclusions. You can’t argue with success.

    Harold: I know nothing about the Grant Family. I do know a lot about the families of parolees in general. I also know a lot about families of rehab people in general. There are very good reasons why any person such as the deceased became a dead parolee, and they start with Bio Mom and Bio Dad, and go on to include the family and society of the subject. I read enough accounts of the goings on surrounding the trial and the Grant family and partisans to feel confident that the issues I spoke of were likely to occur – even if that is not borne out at the moment. I can’t say with any certainty that actually happened in LA, only what tends to happen.

    Still, you should always check with Willie Brown if you are lucky enough to find or hear reports of his opinions. Age and experience are gold.

    And Harold, quit personalizing this by thinking the issue is that Oscar Grant “deserved” to die, or that anybody is saying/thinking that. That is the way children react prior to getting the age and experience to get into the mind of other people – the jury included. This mess isn’t about Oscar Grant. It’s about whether a worker on the job deliberately used his employer provided tooks to maliciously & intentionally kill someone (no evidence), or whether that worker used his tools of the trade in a manner that was grossly negligent and killed someone. You can have issues like this involving a bridge worker, and iron worker, a pharmacist and countless other workers who are handling deadly instrumentalities at work and are dealing with the public. Sometimes there is an altercation. Sometimes a wrench can be dropped onto the head or car of a passerby, sometimes the wrong thing is placed in the wrong place and someone is killed. The police unions are livid I believe. We still have issues of sentencing and appeals which will keep everybody on both sides riled up for years.

    My comment about the police unions concerns me. In New York (I believe it was NYC) one of the things the union did when there was action against a member over a racial controversy was to de-police the black neighborhoods – there was a term for this that escapes me. Basically they decided they would ignore things that they previously would have made inquiry over – ie “suspicious” activity. They only would respond to a specific call for service, they ceased all stops on suspicion. The results were the black neighborhoods quickly became no-man’s land. And these tactics included the black officers.

    Disidentification of part of the population for the other(s) is dangerous. Balkanization of the state..

    We’ll see what happens next.

  • Ms. McLaughlin

    The summer school program at Oakland Tech has been impressively proactive about the impending verdict. At our initial faculty meeting, the administrators and a representative from a local youth support group discussed how we might address the issue head-on with the students in our summer classrooms. During the first week of school, an administrator visited every room to get the discussion going if it hadn’t been already.

    My students English students have offered insightful observations about the situation. An ongoing topic of head-shaking has been the disconnection between the tragedy of Oscar Grant’s death and the opportunity to break into Foot Locker, for instance, and grab a bunch of 8-1/2′s. The general consensus in class is that tearing up Oakland is neither respectful of Oscar Grant, nor anything remotely resembling a productive form of social protest.

    With increasing news coverage of police and neighborhood preparations for the expected fallout of the verdict, we laughed in one class over the question, “What if they gave a riot and nobody came?”

    And yesterday, we discussed whether the media’s response overall has been pointedly inflammatory. A number of students had seen the early coverage on Thursday night, and I certainly had to agree with them about the need for televising the near-empty intersections downtown. There was definitely an underlying tone of, “Hey, there’s supposed to be a riot going on down here, but look how empty! Hurry, hurry! You’re late for the riot!”

    Some of my students felt that all the hooplah was way over the top and designed to purposely create bad news. I think they’re pretty sharp.

  • Ms. McLaughlin

    The summer school program at Oakland Tech has been impressively proactive about the impending verdict. At our initial faculty meeting, the administrators and a representative from a local youth support group discussed how we might address the issue head-on with the students in our summer classrooms. During the first week of school, an administrator visited every room to get the discussion going if it hadn’t been already.

    My English students have offered insightful observations about the situation. An ongoing topic of head-shaking has been the disconnection between the tragedy of Oscar Grant’s death and the opportunity to break into Foot Locker, for instance, and grab a bunch of 8-1/2′s. The general consensus in class is that tearing up Oakland is neither respectful of Oscar Grant, nor anything remotely resembling a productive form of social protest.

    With increasing news coverage of police and neighborhood preparations for the expected fallout of the verdict, we laughed in one class over the question, “What if they gave a riot and nobody came?”

    And yesterday, we discussed whether the media’s response overall has been pointedly inflammatory. A number of students had seen the early coverage on Thursday night, and I certainly had to agree with them about the need for televising the near-empty intersections downtown. There was definitely an underlying tone of, “Hey, there’s supposed to be a riot going on down here, but look how empty! Hurry, hurry! You’re late for the riot!”

    Some of my students felt that all the hooplah was way over the top and designed to purposely create bad news. I think they’re pretty sharp.

  • Donna

    On one station, I caught a VERY brief stand-up that Oakland youth had shouted down an anarchist and told him to go home and not to wreck their city. Sadly, no video to go along with that; guess it would not have attracted as many viewers as shots of a looting. Also, I didn’t see much publicity over the fact that most of the arrestees were from out of town.