I’ve been a bit lax on covering a few news-related items that normally would find their way onto this site because I’ve been bogged down with a handful of other priorities.  But I’ve got to take a moment to get you up to speed with the recent events out in Oakland, CA: on New Year’s Day an unarmed young man, face to the ground and being restrained by two police officers on the platform of a local train/transit stop, was mindlessly shot in the back at point blank range by a member of the Oakland Police.  The incident, unlike many of the countless acts of police violence that happen on the streets of America every day, was caught on video (I believe someone’s cell phone camera).  The video of the young man being shot can be seen here, if you really want to see it.  Last Wednesday, following memorial services for Oscar Grant, over 1,000 people took to the streets of Oakland to denounce police brutality and the senseless murder of a young man.  Some of those marching were grieving friends and family, some were concerned community members, and some were local activists and radicals.  100 people were arrested during the “riots” which saw a handful of windows smashed and a police car attacked.

Now comes news that one member of the media who followed the Wednesday night march, a well-known community journalist whose work in urban Oakland is sometimes compared with the “voice of the voiceless” Mumia Abu-Jamal before he was arrested on bogus charges of murdering a cop.  From Infoshop:

Of the dozens of professional journalists covering… Wednesday(‘s protest of) the police who executed young Oscar Grant and the authorities who condone it with their silence, it’s probably safe to assume that only one was fully at home on the streets of East Oakland. And he was the only journalist arrested and jailed and one of only two protesters charged with a felony. JR Valrey, minister of information for the Prisoners of Conscience Committee headed by Fred Hampton Jr., producer of Block Report Radio heard on KPFA and KPOO locally and other stations across the country, and associate editor of the San Francisco Bay View – raised in East Oakland, where dozens call him cousin – was brutally tackled and arrested by Oakland police for doing his job: interviewing protesters and photographing the demonstration. He was groundlessly charged with felony arson.

Folks are being urged to call
• Mayor Ron Dellums, (510) 238-3141
• District Attorney Tom Orloff, (510) 272-6222
• Congresswoman Barbara Lee, (510) 763-0370

And “remind them that it is Johannes Mehserle who, though sworn to protect and serve, used his service pistol to execute young Oscar Grant as he lay face down on the BART platform, restrained by two other police officers, by shooting Oscar point blank in the back. He’s the one who needs to be charged. The charges against JR and the other protesters need to be dropped.”