Thursday, March 23, 2023
64.9 F

Does A Riot Solve A Deplorable Injustice?

Police brutality is a reality in every major urban community in our nation. The attitude in many police departments is that we will get them, before they get us. There is a war in the streets and the majority of Americans have no idea of the tensions and mindset that exist between the police and community.

There is a sub culture that exists with the youth, and the police are considered the enemy. Many of the youth have lost faith in the system, and an explosive condition exists on a daily basis. The police and the government have failed to establish a dialog with this sub culture and the police maintain control through force.

Early New Year’s day, 22 year old Oscar Grant was handcuffed, shot, and killed by a Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer in the back, as he lay down on his chest. He had been subdued by three officers, and he was cooperating with their request.

Somehow the situation became confrontational and an officer made a mistake going for his taser, and instead pulled his gun. There is an investigation being conducted by BART and the Oakland City Police Department.

Many of residents believe, based on information documented by cell phone pictures, that the young man was shot execution style in the back. This tragic incident has created anger in the Oakland community and many residents feel that the police think they have a license to kill. They feel that this incident will be investigated, swept under the rug, and they will continue to use lethal force.

On January 7, 2009, a demonstration started as a peaceful rally at the Fruitvale BART station. This rally was organized by credible political organizations and concerned members of the community attended the rally. The purpose of the rally was to show support for the family and demand that the government launch an immediate investigation.

The response of the police department was to form a human barrier and close the station, and pull down a metal gate. The peaceful demonstration turned into a march into the streets of Oakland and erupted into violence.

Windows were smashed, numerous cars were vandalized and burned, trash cans throw into the streets, and cars & buses stopped in the street. There were 300 businesses damaged and 105 protesters and residents arrested. The residents were arrested for a variety of offenses, vandalism, arson, inciting a riot, gun possession, and assault on a police officer.

A bad situation has developed into a deplorable condition, and there appears to be little action to resolve the situation. There was a press conference asking the residents to remain calm but the officer who shot the young man has not been indicted or charged for breaking the law. I have yet to hear of an apology to the community or the family from the BART and police department as a result of the incident.

This situation in the Oakland community will not improve without accountability and transparency. Our community will not develop trust and faith in the police until they can develop a dialog and work together as partners. The residents in the city pay their taxes, and they expect integrity and credibility from the police department, because they work for the citizens.

We can not always solve problems in our community through force. If the police had acknowledged that they had made a mistake and developed a community support group the tensions and anger may have been diffused. Police brutality is a reality in every police department in this nation and any situation has the potential to develop into a negative experience.

The disturbance in Oakland turned into a negative experience because the different elements in the community refused to connect and communicate. As long as the establishment tried to keep the situation quiet and silent the anger was never diffused or resolved.

The violence in Oakland is a microcosm of what can happen in every major city in the nation without a youth initiative to diffuse the tension with the police. There is a need for strategic priorities that address joblessness, hopelessness, and poverty. The economy is creating desperate conditions and there is a lack of communication in all the urban communities.

Violence is never a solution to injustice and police brutality, because urban insurgency destroys the businesses in the community, and creates a police state. The violence in Oakland is a lesson to the country and the establishment that urban problems must be confronted with doable partnerships and effective collaborations.

Hopelessness, crime, and desperation are realties in urban communities, but the residents must be treated with respect and dignity.

By Roger Caldwell

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -

Latest Articles