UPDATE: The march was a peaceful event, as reported on Saturday. The family of Oscar Grant sent this note to city and police officials to thank them for their professionalism:
“We the family of Oscar Grant would like to thank the mayor of Hayward for allowing the peaceful march and celebration of Oscar Grant’s birthday.
His death has awakened this community to the needs of all the citizens. Through injustice and tragedy our great nation was founded. We can now see that there is a problem in the BART system. Working together, we, the people (the Legislature, BART and the citizens) can change what is needed to change.
We would also like to thank the businesses of Hayward and the patrons of those businesses who were affected by the march. We are sorry for any inconvenience it may have caused.
To all the police officers that were there: Thank you. Your professionalism in the march and at the rally was greatly appreciated.
Saying ‘thank you’ is such a small thing but that is all we the family of Oscar Grant have to give.”
There will be a rally and march by friends, family and supporters of Oscar Grant beginning at 4:30 p.m. Friday at the Hayward BART station. The demonstrators reiterated a list of demands on Thursday, among them calling for BART officer Johannes Mehserle — who shot and killed Grant at the Fruitvale BART station just after New Year’s — to return to jail. Police say they’ve been talking with Grant’s family, and everyone is hopeful that the protest goes off without any ugliness. They did, however, send an officer around the downtown area to alert merchants about what’s going on, and will have extra officers in the area during the march. Press release from organizers of the march is after the jump.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Oscar Grant Protesters to Shut Down BART
Oakland, CA— On February 26, 2009 at 4:30pm at the Fruitvale BART Station, No Justice No BART will hold a press conference to announce that on Thursday, March 5, 2009 we will shut down the Fruitvale BART Station during the evening rush hours.
No Justice No BART is a campaign of protest actions targeting BART in order to advance community demands in the wake of the police murder of Oscar Grant.
It has been two months to the day since BART police murdered Oscar Grant and there has been no progress holding anyone at BART accountable. Therefore, we have no confidence that BART as an institution is making an honest effort to respond to community concerns.
In the interest of accountability and justice, the people involved in Oscar Grant’s murder and the attempts to cover it up must be held responsible for their actions. Furthermore, immediate measures must be taken to ensure that BART police can never kill again.
Until our demands are met we will hold weekly actions that disrupt BART’s ability to conduct business as usual. These demands are:
1. A full, competent, successful prosecution and conviction of former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle.
2. An independent investigation of the other BART officers present during Oscar’s murder! Each individual officer involved must be named, along with a list of possible or probable violations of police policy and procedure, as well as any potential criminal liability. Upon completion of the investigation, all officers suspected of procedural violations must be fired immediately, and any officers suspected of criminal wrongdoing must be fully charged and prosecuted by the District Attorney.
3. Suspension of all officers present during Oscar Grant’s murder, for the duration of any investigations into their conduct.
4. BART employees who are already known to have engaged in cover-ups, procedural wrongdoing, and abuse of authority must resign, or be fired immediately. This includes:
– BART Police Officer Tony Pirone, who was videotaped violently assaulting Oscar Grant prior to his murder, as well as participating in the cover-up that followed.
6. The BART Board must abolish the BART Police, fully divesting BART of any police power over the communities it serves!
– BART Police Chief Gary Gee, who attempted to cover-up the murder, and who has repeatedly failed to protect both the public and the public interest.
– BART General Manager Dorothy Dugger, who has failed in her role as supervisor of the BART police, and is complicit in the cover-up of Oscar Grant’s murder.
7. Protesters arrested during mobilizations for justice for Oscar Grant must be released immediately and all charges against them must be dropped.