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Openish Thread: What's Your Take on the Oscar Grant Riots?

The shooting of 22-year-old Oscar Grant on a Bay Area Rapid Transit train platform, by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle on New Year's day 2009 was captured on multiple cameras and video phones. The shooting led to several days of protests, and some rioting and looting in downtown Oakland, in January of 2009.

Last week, Mehserle was convicted -- in Los Angeles, by a jury with no black members -- of involuntary manslaughter, a crime that doesn't carry a mandatory jail sentence. (Although the use of a gun may create conditions that mandate a jail sentence.) The decision was met last Thursday with two hours of peaceful protesting, followed by a night of clashes between police and protestors, as well as looting and vandalism throughout the center of Oakland.

There's still a great deal of confusion and disagreement about what actually happened the night of the protests. (I'm not linking to any stories because there are too many. Go ahead and Google it.) What is clear enough is that this whole mess is reminding many people of the Rodney King riots in 1992, which began with a similar incidental video recording of police brutality and ended, for many Asian Americans in L.A., with irreparable damage to their businesses and homes -- and to their sense of community. For many, the Rodney King riots underlined Asian Americans' precarious position in the black/white mainstream racial landscape.

The looting and vandalism in Oakland last week didn't affect Asian American businesses in particular, but what were Asian American business owners thinking? Were there fears that they would be targeted? What were Asian American Oaklanders thinking? In fact, what were Asian Americans in general thinking last week while waiting for the verdict, or watching the protests get out of hand?

Were you there? Were you watching on TV? What were you thinking/worrying about? How did you, and do you, feel? Let's download about what happened last week.

PLEASE NOTE: I'd love to hear accounts of what happened from people who were there, but let's not fight about it. There will be no grandstanding, personal insults, attacks, cursing, straw man arguments, racist language, stereotyping, or excessive passion. Please stick to your own experience and point of view, and try not to impute experiences or points of view to others.

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Angie wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

The Situation at Hand:

I heard a rumor that Grant's group of friends were jumped on the train and had not instigated the fight.  I also heard the fight was over before the police arrived and pulled people off the train.  The fact is, Oscar Grant was a sweet-faced, young father who was innocent of all crimes the night he was murdered, and his murderer has escaped proper prosecution so far.  I'm elated to hear that the feds have picked up the case, but the local government has really dropped the ball.  I heard they're going to be filing lawsuits against the rioters to cover the cost of the extra police force, firefighters on standby, etc...  I saw video of a police line snagging peaceful protesters from the streets to be beaten and arrested.  Are these people the "rioters" Alameda will be sueing?  When did our judicial system become a source of revenue rather than justice?  I could understand lawsuits by business owners to cover damages, but who would they sue?  Perhaps they should consider filing lawsuits against the local government.  They expected and responded to the situation and still failed to do their jobs (PROTECT AND SERVE).  As far as protesting goes, I firmly believe we're going to have to take it to a national level.  It's obvious that nothing can be achieved in the east bay area until it gains national attention.  The local government will just keep slapping the citizens around (or worse) every time they complain.  I should've taken notes when I was told about other innocent and helpless citizens who, in recent years, have been gunned down by local police.  Oakland has a serious problem and it's going to take the rest of the country to help sort it out! Spred the word, but focus more on Mr. Grant's innocence, love of family, and goodness.  It's what haunts that officer every day of his life, and it might haunt others who hear about it too.  Hopefully, some of the people who hear about him will help fight the system that murdered him. 

sfkid wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

Peace is Louder than Violence

I think it would have made a stronger impact if the activists and people who cared had a silent sitting protest rather than shout and march and storm. Any idiot can be loud and break windows and steal, and its only easier in the mayhem of anticipated riots.

 

I saw the police readying for the riots for weeks, and it only made me sadder that Oakland fell into the trap of poor expectations. There's a time for noise and anger, but I don't think the backdrop of violence would console Oscar Grant in any way.

Oakland homegirl wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

I was home, watching on TV.

I was home, watching on TV. Not happy about the decision, but less happy that people seem to think that coming into a community of color, breaking windows and setting fires is an appropriate way to protest a verdict that inadequately values the life of a black man. You're angry? Trash your own house, you pretentious MFers. As for the folks who were taking a five-finger discount on shoes while wearing Oscar Grant masks: Ghouls. The whole thing made me regret every demonstration I ever participated in.

 

Anonymous wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

About Oscar Grant & Black Community

The reason the Blacks community receives Police harrssment, check point, suspecison, arrest, and violence due to:

It takes two to dance.

The Black community has a unreasonable high crimes against races other than Blacks.  Many of these crimes never or hardly committed by other groups.  These crimes require police to identify, arrest, and put to rest those who are danger to the general population. 

Imagine when you have 10% of the population commit more than 50% of the crimes in this country.  The tax payers have to pay police time, resource, and risk their lives and money to locate these criminals.  How would you feel if 50% of the other groups commit crimes against your people and your people hardly commit crimes on them?

Well, not just Whites alone complaint Blacks are trouble in our society.  The Hispanics, Arab, Indian, Native American, Asian, Pacific, and other Americans.  Read the news, just acknowledge it.  You people just need to behave, take care of your problem, povety, disease, crimes, and blames.  Don't just point finger and start think how to contribute to this society than taking in such as welfare, corruption, disruption, society unrest, anti-social, anti-government, anti-police, and stop saying people discriminate Blacks.  You create discriminations based on the behaviors, results, problems, and back impression or images created on society and other people's mind.

Did you know many of U.S.'s cities or certain part of cities are ran down by Blacks either w/ crimes, drugs, illegal, prosititution, pimp, and violent neighbors.  Don't you think people hate those?  Don't you think these people should have be legi and start their business, go to school, be scientists, doctors, lawyers, working professions but .  . .

Hey, look at the mirror and reflect yourself.  Should Oscar Grant and his group not fighting and causing disburance on and off the train, the police didn't have to come, nobody has to spend the money to go court, public resource to clean up the mess of the riots created mostly by Blacks, and the cop doesn't have to go to jail or his career or life not messed up.  Because of thugs, he is over as far as his career and on going suffering down the line.  We are living in a modernzie society and Grant and his group/gang made the police stress and caused accident.  Hey, who's fault?  The other groups are doing things like this and create this friction. 

Claire Light wrote 4 years 2 weeks ago

No More Comments Like This Please!

Thank you, Anonymous, for demonstrating straw man arguments, grandstanding, and stereotyping. This is the perfect cliché of the type of comment we're NOT looking for on this thread.

Please talk about YOUR experiences of the aftermath of the Oscar Grant verdict on this thread. Any more comments like this will be deleted.

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