Downtown Oakland riot link round-up

Based on the heavy activity on the open thread and all the searches coming here, I figured you guys might want a dedicated space to discuss the events of last night. Here you go.

And if you missed the excitement and want to read about it, here’s some links to accounts of the rioting in Oakland:

133 thoughts on “Downtown Oakland riot link round-up

  1. Jennifer

    I think that BART has handled this whole situation terribly. There has been no communication from them about processes and procedures. I even saw the spokesperson watch the cell phone video for the first time live on camera — his reaction for all to see. I think that people who want the officer criminally prosecuted should know that if he had been compelled to talk to BART investigators, nothing he said would be admissible in a criminal court. I agree with an earlier post by Max — this is a tragic event for the victim and the officer. Clearly the officer was distraught at the moment of the shooting, and the family has lost a son, partner and father. But coming home last night, seeing a car in flames just a couple blocks from my home (the car was on fire at 2nd and Webster), really scared me. I was still thinking of buying a home in Oakland this year, despite the incompetence of city leadership, but now, um, probably not.

  2. Ralph

    Jennifer, I would not let one night deter you from buying a home in Oakland. Since 2006, I’ve lived in various parts of Nancy’s district (dntwn Oakland) while I am completely displeased with her as a councilperson, I see a city growing. Come to the Uptown district to see what I see – smell the change, be the change.

  3. Brian T

    I too believe that Oakland has so much going for it, so much potential. I’ve only been here for two years but I love the feeling of community here. The events from the night before makes me want to stay, not move out. I’m going to “be part of the change.” No, Marin or the suburbs aren’t for me.

    I’ll be going to the grand opening gala at the Fox and get a drink at Flora, the first of many.

  4. V Smoothe Post author

    I added your post, Luke, and a couple of other things that came out after I initially posted the list. I’ll just keep adding links as I find them.

  5. Mike Spencer

    Hey V., Did u miss anything?????Wow, what a newsfeed for all things riot. Thanks for the resource.

    I would like to see how many of those cited have Oakland on their identifiication. Bet it’s 50% Oakland, 30% SF, 20% Berkeley. Professional douchebags.

  6. ConcernedOakFF

    Let me tell you from a relatively first-hand prospective, this “riot” yesterday was 90% full of Out of towners that wanted to break things and set things on fire. The so-called organizer that handed out flyers all over the bay area should be arrested for inciting a riot. He caused a lot of people to be involved that otherwise might not have been.

    There were even videos on Youtube that were young white kids that were obviously not from here trying to stir up a WTO situation (seattle) in order to create chaos.

    F-ing disgusting.

    I am guessing 3 years for the Downtown and Uptown businesses to recover lost revenue, and for many of them, it will be FAR too late.

    This makes me so mad I could set something on fire….oh wait….civilized people DON’T DO THINGS LIKE THAT!!!!!

    F-ING Animals.

    The OPD showed so much restraint that they should get halos. Seriously, you can’t imagine the abuse that they took and stood silent.

  7. oaklandhappenings

    First things first:
    Kudos to OPD (and any law enforcement organizations involved) for arresting dangerous people; those who not only terrorized Oakland Wed. evening, but likely time and time again with crime over the years. Also, fortunately, to spear what’s left of Oakland’s reputation to other media sources, they didn’t have to shoot anyone. Although after this week’s trauma, I trust it would only be of self-defense if need be.
    Secondly: If just the protesting alone makes Oakland stronger, then hopefully that offsets the mini-riots which would make it weaker.
    Third: Nobody, and I mean NOBODY–figuratively speaking–f*cks with the Fox theater, by damaging it! Bastards. Phil T’s comments in the Trib were encouraging, although he wasn’t quoted with any timeline regarding the terra-cotta damage. *Provided that the damage gets fixed during the remaining estimated time of construction, there are only (at least) 27 more days until the grand opening.

  8. Navigator

    I feel so bad for the small businesses and shopkeepers downtown. You see them outside with brooms trying to pick up the pieces left behind by these mostly out of town Animals who come to Oakland to destroy our town just for their sick recreational enjoyment.

    I saw a clip on the news last night of some guy coming to the Oakland Court House to pick up a friend teacher from Berkeley High who had been arrested in the disturbance. I saw two young white kids picking up an Asian girl from the Court House. They were all smiling like this was one big joke. Oakland has become THE place for out of towners to come and trash for fun. This mindset goes back to those idiotic sideshows in east Oakland. It’s time that these people receive a severe sentence for coming to Oakland and creating mayhem. We need to send a message to young people from all over the Bay Area that Oakland is not your personal punching bag.

    It was sad to see that the Animals were at it again last night, at 14th & Broadway. This time there were only about 100 of them throwing garbage cans on the street and trying to incite another riot. The cops should have rushed those those idiots and arrested all of them on the spot for disturbing the peace, inciting a riot, vandalism, littering, etc,. It’s time that we send a message that this type of behavior will no longer be tolerated in Oakland.

    One of the news stations interviewed the owner of a car set on fire around 14th & Broadway the night before. The poor woman was crying saying that she only had liability insurance and didn’t know how she was going to get her young children to school. Even through her limited English, you could see her tears, and hear the pain in her voice, when she asked, “why do these people do this?” The only answer I have is that they’re selfish, self-centered Animals who have no regard for anyone else. The family of Oscar Grant pleaded with the Neanderthals for peace. The Mayor of Oakland asks the “City” for calm. Like it’s the “City” that’s doing this. We are legitimizing these ass holes if we thinking that pleading with a few rampaging knuckleheads, many of them from out of town, with a heart felt and rational argument, is going to do a Damn thing.

    Come on Dellums , grow some balls and tell it like it is. You should stand up and tell the World, “Oakland will not tolerate this behavior in our city. We will not allow a fringe element from throughout the Bay Area to come to our city and incite a riot. If you do so, you will be arrested, and charged to the fullest extent of the Law.”

  9. Becks

    Hey everyone – I need your help. I’m compiling a list of businesses that were vandalized on Wednesday night so we can all make a concerted effort to patronize these businesses. If you know of any businesses that were attacked, please help me create this list over at Living in the O. Thanks!

  10. 94610BizMan

    Navigator, Oakland tolerates many types of anti-social and thuggish behavior. Recreational rioting is an irregular fixture on the west coast (remember Seattle). There is a romantic attachment around the Bay Area by too many people to the idea that “direct action” somehow promotes “justice”.

    There was no parade permit to march to the city center. There was a clear opportunity to stop the march when they reached the foot of Lake Merritt by the Kaiser Convention Center (I was there). But there were no orders from the Chief or the Mayor to stop them. Stopping the march before the riot would have lead to howls of police brutality.

    There is a continuum from tolerating public urination, public thuggery and up to the occasional riot. Public safety is clearly not a city priority, which should have been clear to anyone before the riot.
    The cost of “regular” crime to Oakland businesses is enormous; it is just hidden because it is a daily occurrence.

    The loss isn’t just the businesses that were trashed, it is the future cost of businesses leaving or NOT investing in Oakland.

  11. Izzy Ort

    Martin Luther King Day Riot now in the planning stages?

    This morning’s Chronicle has a quote from a Reike Redmond of Revolution Books commenting favorably on the property destruction downtown.

    Although I am well aquainted with Revolution Books, an outlet for the Revolution Communist Party, USA, which has nationwide presence but Berkeley roots, I wanted to see if ther was anything else on the net about Ms. Redmond.

    In doing so I came across a blog of one Ian Bone, age 61, whom wikipedia calls a “prominent English anarchist”, and publisher of the anarchist newspaper “Class War”.

    Mr. Bone says that there is “a big march planned for January 19th – Martin Luther King day.”

  12. Art

    Hey Becks, it would also be great to contact them to find out some way to donate, etc.—I’d be happy to help with that. I actually tried to give Tacubaya a small donation to pass along to Flora yesterday afternoon, and was somewhat surprised when they gave it back to me because they weren’t really sure how to handle that. It would be great to set up some sort of mechanism for people to show some financial support beyond just visiting the businesses.

  13. Ken

    I think the only way to “donate” would be to continue s\upporting these businesses.

    I saw a lot fo out of town white hipsters and troublemakers of all stripes. I agree with Mike Spencer’s assessment above that arrestees were mostly from SF, Berkeley and other cities, with at least a third or so from Oakland.

    People were out because it was “exciting” to see and participate in the riots. I only went out to look and document.

    Oakland isn’t your ghetto play land, go shit in your own sand boxes!!

  14. Ken

    i like this sfgate comment from goalie33:

    “When anger fuels your protest, no matter how peaceful you plan it to be, people are bound to get out of control. In my opinion protests never advance the protesters’ agenda and only end up hurting innocent people, like these shop owners. Protests always seem like a way to avoid real action. Instead of protesting a corrupt police force, why not sign up and become the type of police officer wish for? Instead of protesting unjust wars, why not become a politician and stop them from happening in the first place? Its easy to make a sign and start fires. It takes hard work to bring about real, positive change in our world.”

    and from ble:
    “the rioting thugs who destroyed business and personal property are the scum of the earth. they used a legitimate social protest as an excuse to cause damage and mayhem, and I doubt many of them even knew what they were “protesting”. I saw TV clips of some punk on top of a car, repeatedly smashing the windshield with a road barricade. Was this a form of protest? No, I’m sure he was just getting his jollies by breaking something and being a vagrant. These types of scum are as bad as the cop that shot that kid and are taking advantage of a situation for selfish reasons in order to satisfy their hedonist desires. I hope they track down each and every one of the people they caught on that tape.”

  15. Andy

    Read that from Reike Redmond. What an idiot.

    Though the majority of the comments here are strongly against the riot, I cannot believe how many other people on the radio, papers, etc. poop poop the riot, saying that no one was killed, they just lost property. F’ing nuts. Bizman clearly articulates how rotten this riot is for Oakland. The City should have been better prepared.

    These people that were arrested should be fully charged, locked up. Bail should not be reduced – these people could easily start another riot.

  16. SF2OAK

    I don’t think OPD performed particularly well-if the goal was to not shoot anybody yes they achieved that but standing by silently while the city burns is weak. That they could not quash 120 rioters, stop them from destroying a police car, and general mayhem is ridiculous. What happens when a real riot breaks out, where there are 1000′s in the streets, a terrorist attack or an earthquake? The fact is that OAK is flammable must change the way we deal with punks & thugs. How about should any of these alleged criminals be sentenced they be forced to wear pink, sweep the streets for 30 days with a sign alliterating their crime and be forced to pay full restitution? How can one think that a retail revitalization can take place with the backdrop of this economy, the crime in OAK, the bureaucracy in OAK, and did you read the story of a restaurateur being held up for 9 months to get PGE service. And good retail will bail this city out- 1 Billion is spent elsewhere by Oaklanders, there is fear in the streets from the restaurant take over robberies, to images and scenes like this and BART inability to control it’s own stations. Good luck.

  17. 94610BizMan

    “What happens when a real riot breaks out, where there are 1000’s in the streets, a terrorist attack or an earthquake?”

    I sincerely hope everyone who reads this blog has a personal plan for these contingencies. A plan that does not rely on the authorities to save your butt.

  18. Pekoebrew

    In today’s SF Chronicle (Jan 9), quoted is one Reiko Redmond of Revolution Books in Berkeley. “I uphold the whole protest from start to finish”, and called the events a “righteous rebellion”.

    Perhaps it might be “righteous” if some of our broken glass were delivered to their doorstep…

  19. Luke

    I agree. Let’s go deliver all the broken glass to Revolution Books doorsteps. What an A*hole. I want to smash their windows in, but then I’d become just like them.

  20. Ken O

    Good quote from sfgate on bart board of directors meeting yesterday:

    bee_traven1/8/2009 8:20:43 PM
    Someone wrote that Dereca Blackmon of CAPE didn’t organize yesterday’s events. That’s not what the Socialist Worker is reporting: “Dereca Blackmon, one of the principal organizers of a rally and march of nearly 1,000 people on January 7 to protest the murder of 22-year-old Oscar Grant…” [] Dereca is also the executive director of “Leadership Excellence,” which is funded in part by Oakland taxpayers under Measure Y. I do hope none of the at-risk youth she mentors at LE took part in last night’s violence.

  21. Patrick McCullough

    Before becoming an Oakland resident and family man, I was a brick-throwing-at-the federal building teen-aged activist who later served seven years in the U.S. Navy and learned and used every crude epithet before being honorably discharged. I apply them now to every participant and idiotic organizer of the march-turned-riot.

    These useless/naive/hypocritical/foolish/nihilistic jerks have set Oakland back farther than we can soon recover from, what with their vandalizing our struggling businesses, terrorizing and endangering patrons and workers, and, considering the sure to be lackluster confidence building from the politicians, destroying the already dismal prospect of enticing new business and customers to our city.

    These thugs, punks, and backers had better stay the hell away from taxpayers like me who are not nearly as tolerant of their behavior as are the cowering incompetents at city hall. There are more of us than them and we know every tool, trick and tactic better than they. If they plan to pull this again, they’d better bring along their own first-aid kits. Get off my lawn.

  22. Patrick McCullough

    To be deserving of anyones’ respect, each Oakland office holder must act to identify, prosecute and sue every riot participant and event organizer — in addition to withdrawing funding from every entity whose official took part in the riot.

  23. Navigator

    I would love to get the addresses of everyone of these idiots vandalizing the city. How would they like it if someone went to their houses and broke every freakin window?

    If they can be identified in a specific crime they should be made to pay restitution to the victims. I saw the photograph of a hoodlum in the paper with a red beanie with long hair sticking out of it, smashing windows with a piece of lumber. There’s one we can identify and charge with a specific crime. He needs to either come and fix that window, or pay restitution. Also, we have clear pictures of the knuckleheads dancing on top of cars. Who was the blond girl kicking the USA Today news box and standing on an overturned garbage container set on fire? These people need to be identified and held accountable for the damage they caused.

  24. Larry Rice

    If the BART incident had happened at the Fremont BART station instead of the Fruitvale BART station, would there have been a “near-riot” in Fremont? I tend to doubt it. But, when it is common knowledge that Model City has one-half a police force, coupled with cop-hating public officials whose mindset is stuck in the “off-the-pig” 1960′s, and a City Council known for handing out millions of dollars in police-misconduct settlements, then we become a thrill destination for area trouble-seekers hoping to cash in if they can goad an officer to take a swing at them.

    While shootings and vandalism may be a novelty to people living in the hills, in my flatland neighborhood they are the depressing routine. The New Year was announced here by volleys of gunfire, in a city that ostensibly is a leader in the gun control movement. Graffiti is vandalism. Littering is its own form of vandalism. It vandalizes our quality of life. Such activities have long been tolerated by our city leaders, who shower ex-offenders, truants and dropouts with services and programs, while our schools are starved of funds for the children who stay out of trouble.

    Why are the people distressed by Oscar Grant’s death not similarly outraged when a black youth on the streetcorner is executed by a rival drug dealer? Where were the marches and the speeches when Chauncey Bailey was slain? If investigations are not completed quickly enough for our liking, why at the ballot box do we starve OPD of funding for investigators?

    What you are seeing is the flowering of the Model City. The acrid tear gas fumes you smell are the faded perfume of the take-from-the-taxpayer, give-to-the-ungrateful “progressive” ideology, a naive, bankrupt philosophy that may soon bankrupt our city.

  25. Navigator

    Larry, that’s a nice conservative rant. However, that’s not the point.

    Would there have been a riot in Fremont had the shooting taken place there? Probably not, because BART headquarters is in Oakland. Secondly, Fremont is a boring suburb with few publicity generating targets. By contrast, Oakland is a large city where there are more things to smash and where San Francisco’s ever vigilante media attention will shine a very bright spot light, for a very long time.

    The idea that this riot happened just because this is “Oakland,” is preposterous. The same thing would have happened in San Francisco, probably to a larger degree, except the publicity would have been a fraction of what it has been in Oakland. That’s the difference Larry.

  26. Navigator

    San Francisco has the ability to downplay and hide its riots in order not to harm their tourist reputation. Oakland doesn’t have that ability.

    The Rodney King riots in San Francisco were virtually ignored. I have a relative whose a first responder in San Francisco who told me about the unreported mayhem that went on. Also, when the Forty Niners won one of their Super Bowls there was a riot in San Francisco which received very little publicity. There are similar types of riots in San francisco related to political issues where windows are smashed, cars are vandalized, and garbage cans set on fire, on a regular basis. The San Francisco media is restricted in reporting fully on those riots because it would have a detrimental affect on San Francisco’s tourist industry. In Oakland, they can let their hair down and report extensively on this without the worry that the Chamber of Commerce might become agitated.

  27. Navigator

    A disturbance like this would have been called a “demonstration” or “protest” in San Francisco. In Oakland, it’s called a “riot” or the “Oakland riots.” Remember, not one person was shot, injured, or killed in this disturbance.

    Also, where are these so called “300″ businesses which were damaged in downtown Oakland reported by the Chronicle and Chip Johnson? I didn’t realize that downtown Oakland HAD 300 businesses. How do we get 300 damaged businesses from a few broken windows on 14th Street, damage to half the storefronts on 17th Street, and a few businesses around the Fox Theater in the Uptown District? Maybe thirty businesses. But, 300? Is there a little embellishing going on in regards to the “Oakland Riots” by the San Francisco media?

  28. Pekoebrew

    Luke, do you live in the lakeside apt neighborhood? E-mail me if you like, pekoebrew is on aol.

  29. Max Allstadt


    That’s just not true. First of all, if a cop car got set on fire and that many businesses got vandalized and there were mobs of people wandering around breaking things in SF, they would call it a riot.

    Also, I can’t confirm the 300 number myself, but the damage was in many more places than you listed. It spanned from Jackson and 8th to Telegraph and 20th in random pockets. Even if there weren’t 300 businesses smashed there were scores and scores of cars destroyed.

    I rode all over town that night and saw most of the damage first hand. There were also at least half a dozen dumpster fires. The fact that they went up so fast in the rainy season tells me that some asshole anarchists were carrying BBQ lighter fluid. That and the fact that is smelled like it a few times.

    It was a riot.

  30. Colin

    The BART police are an accident that’s been waiting to happen for a long time. They are essentially security guards, not police in the sense that they have very little training. The most certainly shouldn’t be carrying fire arms.

    That people don’t see the difference between the BART police and the OPD (or The Man, whom several folks seem to be holding responsible for all of this) is sad. But then, the whole situation is sad.

  31. James H. Robinson

    Well, these riots were MUCH more damaging to Oakland’s reputation than an HBO series.

  32. billy

    trying to read through some of these was pretty difficult… it’s a real shame what’s happened, but i figured it would be obviously to anyone with a brain that the problem is the cops! not the punks, thugs, rioters (out of town or not, transplants, who cares)

    doesn’t matter who riots… blaming the rioters is like going to a hospital and yelling at people for being sick. or something similar.

    anyone who has a wide scope of the streets in oakland, from the bottom to the top, knows that the police are the problem.

    watch, it’s because the fingers are pointed in the wrong direction that there’ll be INCREASED police activity ALL over the bay, as there were all night last night in oakland and san francisco, harassing people needlessly… i saw 3 accounts, 2 in oakland, 1 in sf, yesterday, just coming into and out of a handful of places throughout the evening… harassed for the usual *crap* but it seemed extra busy last night.

    in fact, they’ll probably have to train and pay the bart cops more after this for public opinion.

    big money pit, ALL of it

    those of you who feel safe in oakland should feel safe because most people in oakland are not truly dangerous. the police cause more crime than they cure, ask any criminal!

    or ask anyone who lives in a high crime neighborhood of oakland and watches the cop presence rise and feels the reverberation of that presence spread and cause violence. it happens without fail.

  33. DonkeyKong

    Joe Strummer said it best:

    White riot – I wanna riot
    White riot – a riot of my own
    White riot – I wanna riot
    White riot – a riot of my own

    Black people gotta lot a problems
    But they don’t mind throwing a brick
    White people go to school
    Where they teach you how to be thick

    An’ everybody’s doing
    Just what they’re told to
    An’ nobody wants
    To go to jail!

  34. James H. Robinson

    Right, it’s not the looters fault. They aren’t responsible for their actions. Being a looter is NOT the same as being a sick patient. There were many peaceful alternatives, such as boycotts or actually VOTING.

  35. Navigator


    I didn’t realize that a cop car was set on fire.

    However, in San Francisco during the Rodney King riots a relative of mine who is a San Francisco firefighter told me that there were people running around in San Francisco pulling people out of cars and beating the crap out of them. That was a riot, and, it WAS covered up. Also, during one of the Forty Niner Super Bowl victories, many frat boys with bear cans jumped up and down on cars, got on top of a trolley, and wrecked havoc all over town. That was also a riot which received very little publicity. It seems that when frat boys tear stuff up after their favorite team wins a title, that somehow is considered cute fun.

    Also, how many times have we seen “protests” in San francisco where windows are broken and trash cans are set on fire?

    I guess to qualify as a “riot”, the occurrence needs to happen in an area perceived to have a large minority population, or in a city with little media influence. What’s the criteria for official “riot” status. Is it burned garbage cans? smashed windows? Or do we need a certain number of burning cars in order to achieve “riot” status? How about burnt to the ground liquor stores? Are those required? How about killings and shootings? How many of those are required?

    What happened in Oakland was NOT a riot. If THAT qualifies as a riot, so does all the damage caused on a regular basis in San Francisco by the anarchists. We are doing Oakland a disservice by once again going along with the San Francisco media as they embelish our “300″ damaged businesses, and calling that violent “demonstration” a “riot.” It will only help harm our image even more, if that’s possible. Let’s call it what it was, a violent demonstration.

  36. Max Allstadt


    So it seems that your standard of riot includes mass vandalism, random arson, and melee assaults of random citizens. I only require mass vandalism and random arson… so I’m like the “Safety School” for riots, making you… the UCLA?
    Maybe somebody who requires actual gunplay might be Harvard in this metaphor? Anyway, I commend you on your high standards.

    To be fair, there were some things about that night that were rather encouraging. This generation of East Bay youth is seemingly desegregated enough that they didn’t stoop to beating eachother up along racial lines. It’s also encouraging that nobody got beat up. We’ve graduated from race riots to class and age riots. That is, in all seriousness, a sign of progress.

  37. Navigator


    No I wasn’t. V, you know how I feel about the people who did this.

    The point I’m trying to make is that we need to hold the media accountable for accuracy, fairness and consistency. V, where were the “300 businesses” vandalized in downtown Oakland? I’ve heard estimates of damage in the range of $150,000. I’ve NEVER seen a $150,000 dollar “riot.” Never. That wouldn’t repair one burned down home in East Oakland.

    Now what happened in LA, THAT was a riot. In the Rodney King riots 56 people lost their lives, hundreds of businesses were burned to the ground, and the damages were in the hundreds of millions.

    Although I deplore what the thugs did, and how that affects the struggling, hardworking, small business owners, I worry much more about how certain entities will use this disturbance to harm Oakland’s economic future by exploiting certain footage, and by embellishing damages.. That’s the real danger to Oakland right now. The physical damage, although reprehensible, is relatively minor. The PR damage could extend into the millions.

    However, by no means, am I trying to minimize the terror created for folks who were at the scene. I’m just saying that what happened in downtown Oakland doesn’t deserve riot status based on media examples of what is, and what isn’t, a “riot.”

    Anyway, I’m curious of what you think this disturbance will do to Oakland’s economic future. Will Oakland go backwards economically? Will this soon be forgotten, and Oakland can again move on with the progress which was being made downtown? Did this actually create curiosity and interest in Oakland? Do people who looked at the video around the Country and around the World feel that it was a justifiable reaction? Will Oakland be seen as having an “exciting” nightlife? Just asking.

  38. billy

    yeah this wasn’t a riot.. . and i think that “rioters” or “looters” who destroy the property of innocents are responsible for their actions, but i don’t blame them ONE BIT

    looks like something off any college campus, really.

    they need to direct their anger away from the windows of cars and shops and into effecting change in themselves and around them, of course, but who can be blamed for getting upset when a cop kills someone for nothing? i’ve known plenty of people who have lost someone to a cop, and i can’t recall a single one that deserved it. People are scared because of the cops, who hasn’t acted wierd around a cop? i for one have pulled my pants up many times in exactly the same manner, no belt or whatever, boxers riding, ya know, but i’m white guy in my twenties, i couldn’t sag hard enough to get shot by a cop on my best day.

    gotta get these guys under wraps, most cops i meet are really nice, especially in oakland, but i’m just hoping this results in focus and cutbacks in stead just rubbing some money on it.

    we need better cops, and less of them, and they should focus on whats important: internal affairs and keeping racist cops out of the dept

    this aint the 1900′s anymore, if it wasn’t all a racket/moneypit, it would get done a much better way, perhaps it should start with different numbers up in the statistics department somewhere, numbers that end the cycle of blaming blacks for everything simply because they’ve been arrested and put in jail so much.

    you take a bunch of cops that focus on arresting blacks, and then after they do that, they talk on and on about how many black criminals there are and how many black men are in prison… same people that put em there in LARGELY unequal weight.

    and then act all surprised about the numbers and stats of the criminals and the prison population.

    and that gives all the cops (and about half the white people i’ve ever met) good reason to believe that young black men are up to all the crime going around, well i don’t agree with them. it’s a bunch of SHIT.

    i mean the guys detained weren’t all black kids or anything, but it doesn’t even matter that much anymore… white kids that identify with black culture and look like it have been dealt the same treatment.

    it’s just so sad, because the video is exactly what i would imagine, seems to me nothing goes down unless there’s a (probably ex military) cop with a buzzcut around treating civilians like shit, and then he shoots him. too much, thats one of the saddest things i’ve ever seen in my life, right in the same place i’ve sat against the wall so many times.

    so yeah, this riot affected some innocent people, but the point is serious, and the point is that those ready to riot getting particularly pissed off by this ever increasing police presence. and the salary for starting cops is crazy much if you ask me, billboards everywhere, jesus christ have mercy.

  39. billy

    but yeah nobody made the riots about race i don’t think, but no cop in his “right mind” shoots a white kid on bart with a group of white kids.

    maybe someone can prove me wrong.

    give your racist friends shit if you have any, it’s a war for our minds, and if you know any cops, ask them if that wouldve happened to 4 white kids… i doubt it.

  40. Patrick

    When is the last time BART was forced to stop a train due to the actions of “4 white kids?”

  41. Mike Spencer


    Finding good cops is tough, that’s why the salaries have gone so high. How would you like to go out every night on the job wondering who will take a shot at you? (I know it cuts both ways because cops are shooters too.) I would suggest don’t even hire cops under 30–too much testosterone. I have never been a cop and I don’t have the frame of reference of being hastled by cops (other than on the job a few times ) Oakland police seem to draw from a pretty broad pool of people. I have seen a fair number of Affrican American military vets in the ranks.

  42. Chris Kidd

    Wow, it looks like Susan Mernit took a 15 minute spin around the internets and decided to tell everyone their websites were crap. Now *why* would an internet web consultant grade no one higher than a “C”? Hmmm, I wonder.

    Just the idea that she would chastise 4 or so blogs for not having riot coverage while leaving out some of the phenomenal riot blog coverage like that on 38th Notes and Living in the O just shows to me how very little effort was put into her critical assessment. Well, I guess this would be only fitting: Susan, you get an F. F minus.

  43. billy

    i don’t know the last time, do you? do you know what they were doing at all? they say “fighting,” that could be anything… maybe you’ve heard something from someone who was on the train?

    thats a pretty offensive comment you made… you sound like another asshole bigot to me, implying that you too believe that its always the black kids causing all the trouble… you simply fester with the same bullshit attitude that killed this kid in cold blood.

    well i don’t know anything at all about when bart trains have been stopped and for what.
    one word: UNARMED

    regardless of what you think about all that, please remember that two things happened before this man was shot: first there was an unarmed fight or ruckus of some sort. second cops came.

    you can never prevent fights, people will always get in fights, but they need to get through it themselves, talk it out, fight it out, whatever it takes for those people to finish their fight and learn from it, and most people learn to never fight. whatever, we’ll always have fights, but we don’t always need armed police. why is that ALL police are armed? anyway the point is that everyone would be FINE if there hadn’t been a cop with his finger on the trigger beating up KIDS. i was disgusted before the gunshot even went off.

    sadly its just the way it is… god damn racist triggerhappy cops man, hopefully soon people will learn that rioting won’t change anything.

  44. billy

    it sure is tough to find good cops, because nobody wants to be a god damn cop except a bunch of assholes… gang members to a tee, at times above the law. scary, really.

    what they need is half as many cops, double the salary until they’ve got some serious people. courageous, straight shooting men that don’t shoot boys… i don’t know where they find these whisker dicked cops we got today.

    but i do agree about older cops, we need different cops… older, experienced, people who can really shoot well and don’t freak out. i mean this video makes it so clear cut that the cop freaked out and got scared… and moved his finger to the trigger, took the safety off too, if he even had it on.

    either a shitty cop who cracked under pressure dealing with what was most likely a little *scuff* on bart, or a murderous bastard…

    he’s definitely not both a good cop and a good guy. couldn’t possibly be both, a good cop and a good guy wouldn’t have shot a kid.

    paying cops what twice as much as teachers? the problem there is that high salaries probably in fact bring in even worse types…

    but yeah oakland is high tension, better believe it. if you live in oakland and you aren’t feelin it, you’re livin in a dream. if you aren’t feeling the pressure the cops are putting on the streets, you’re still livin in that dream.

  45. Brian

    “anyway the point is that everyone would be FINE if there hadn’t been a cop with his finger on the trigger beating up KIDS.”

    So billy, in your perfect world, what should have happened on that train on New Year’s? Let the fight it run its course while the other passengers in the car watch?

    I’m glad that officers are armed. If I call for help I want more than a glorified security guard to come to my rescue. Then again, being an Asian guy from the suburbs I tend to side with the cops since I’ve never got in trouble with the law or been harassed by “the man.”

    I wonder how last night’s hopeful rioters got to 14th & Broadway? BART perhaps? Hypocrites!

  46. Navigator

    What happened on the train is irrelevant. We don’t know the details of this “fight” and it shouldn’t matter. The bottom line is that Oscar Grant was sitting against the wall at the station along with some other guys. The cops then decided that they wanted to drag Oscar from the wall and pulled him to the ground. He had his hands up implying that he didn’t want any trouble. They had a number of cops around him, one had a knee across his neck. The guy was restrained, and there was no need for that cop to stand up and pull a weapon at that point. The cop stood up, reached in his holster, pulled out his gun, aimed the gun, and fired a shot into the back of a defenseless human being. That’s wrong, no matter how you slice it.

    The only thing that brought what happened in that station to light was the footage from private citizens. Without that, it would have been the word of the BART cops against the witnesses at the scene.

  47. billy

    yeah, i probably would have watched, wouldnt you? i’ve broken up fights that were truly unfair or cruel before, i doubt it was, but who knows, it may well could have been. i get

    if i were to set imagination to it, i’d bet that some riotous dancing would probably get bart to stop the train

    yeah, reality ain’t for the faint of heart…. you should try facing it.

  48. len raphael

    V, you’re doing something right if that gal rates the Oakland Tribune higher than your site and other non media sites here.

    Nav, you totally missed a historic moment in SF media Oakland positive pr: where Clint Eastwood actually admits he attended Oakland Tech. btw, unless something happened in the last 10 years, don’t think Clint has ever donated a nickle or showed up as a speaker at graduation at Tech. Nav, how about contacting Clint’s staff and asking for him to give back to Tech?

    The Wire fans: the current Baltimore mayor just got indicted for a bunch of stuff done while councilmember. she looks amazing like an aged ver of the councilwoman in the hbo series. Nevertheless, our sister city of Baltimore had a significant crime drop during the indicted mayor’s term.

    -len raphael

  49. tagami

    A generous turnout… turn out of …of out of town… knuckle heads…yes.

    I love this town! Ozuma and Mua are great new places you gotta get inside to see the fox … we will get through this crap … out of town knuckle heads hmmmm

  50. tagami

    Bart…brain fart…young cop…guilty of bad judgement…most likely guilty of much much more…bart….brain fart.

    I struggle to see the nexus between BART’s poorly trained officers actions and merchants in down town oakland. I would be more sympathetic if the out of town anarchist would have broken windows at BART HQ or even Orloff’s office, but bum rushing the windows of Flora and the Fox…Freakin un-cool way freaking un-cool. BART should pick up the tab! every freakin dime of it.

  51. oaklandhappenings

    Hey, Tag– I find that your calling these guys “knuckleheads” to be the biggest of understatements. I hope that you are thinking of something more profane–yet accurate–than that, even if you find it too dirty a term to post on this blog.
    BTW– since you are a spear-header/advocate of the Fox, how long will it take to repair any structural damage to this gem? Will it still open in 26 days, barring any future disaster?

  52. Dereca Blackmon

    FYI, Dereca Blackmon is no longer the Executive Director of Leadership Excellence but wishes some of you spent more time getting to know the youth of Oakland instead of stereotyping them. And no, LE youth weren’t out there b/c some “progressive” agencies really do help youth learn to make smart choices. Tax dollars doing good -again.

    Dereca Blackmon watched the property damage at home like you after the PEACEFUL rally ended at 6:30 – 4 miles away from the vandalism.

    Dereca Blackmon will never compare human rights to property rights and is grateful to the many business owners who expressed compassion for the pain of the citizens.

    Dereca Blackmon would rather have poor citizens in Oakland that love each other (they don’t make the news but they are real), than all the loathing and fear “ownership” seems to breed for some.

    Dereca Blackmon wishes more of you were concerned about the injustice that cost a man his life and the ineptitude that leaves a city longing for even one interrogation of an officer 10 days later.

    Dereca Blackmon will stay off Patrick’s lawn if he will move it out of her city – your bigotry is not wanted here!

  53. Navigator

    Dereca Blackmon, needs to realize that a peaceful demonstration is OK. Trashing a city that didn’t have anything to do with what happened on that BART platform, is NOT.

    Dereca Blackmon needs to realize that scaring businesses out of Oakland, along with hampering the ability of the city of Oakland to recruit new businesses to the city, will not do the unemployed youth of Oakland a bit of good.

    Dereca Blackmon needs to realize that Oaklanders do not appreciate the fact that 70% of the knuckleheads arrested were from out of town. We don’t like it when people from Berkeley and San Francisco come to our city to tear things up and burn cars to the ground for their personal recreational enjoyment.

    Dereca Blackmon needs to understand that Oakland is trying to build a healthy vibrant downtown in order to entice more businesses and more affluent residents with disposable income so that we can create a larger tax base which in turn will create a larger city budget so that we can build more parks, create more jobs for the youth of our city, improve our schools, keep our libraries open, clean our streets, etc. Trashing this city doesn’t do a damn thing to address what happened on that BART platform.

  54. tagami

    Ya know Navigator is on track

    If all of the rioters, terrorists, anarchists were oaklanders I probably would feel a little different about the situation.

    But they were not! The vast majority were in fact out of town “rent a mob” knuckleheads or (%@*&%!$#)’s who lack the constructive spine to build anything or communicate in a meaningful and peaceful way.

    Oaklanders have the capacity to peacefuly protest and should whenever they feel it is warrented and in my years here we have not done this to our city.

    Dozens of small business owners were impacted. Dozens of cars belonging to janitors who barley make the living wage were impacted. Our children were being summoned not to the peaceful life long struggle of civil rights, but to the eye of chaos and the brainless act of destruction.

    I was born here. I have lived in every part of this city my whole life. I came out of poverty. I will not accept the false argument and plastic label that if I have had any measure of success that somehow I crossed over to become out of touch with the community and those in need.

    we live in a world where we need consequences to bad choices. All of those arrested and caught in the act should be charged and made an example.

  55. Patrick

    Dereca Blackmon is welcome on my lawn anytime – but only if she drops the ridiculous third-person.

    My question was as a result of billy’s statements:

    “you take a bunch of cops that focus on arresting blacks, and then after they do that, they talk on and on about how many black criminals there are and how many black men are in prison… same people that put em there in LARGELY unequal weight.”


    “and that gives all the cops (and about half the white people i’ve ever met) good reason to believe that young black men are up to all the crime going around, well i don’t agree with them. it’s a bunch of SHIT.”

    If his words aren’t explicitly racist, I don’t know what is. As a white man, am I justified in destroying public and private property now as well? I’m the bigot for asking a question? Hardly.

    And, unfortunately, it’s not a bunch of SHIT, it’s a fact:

  56. Patrick

    BTW, Oakland is MY city too – and the last time I checked, Freedom of Speech was still legal in Oakland. If that dost bothereth thee, Dereca Blackmon, perhaps thee should get hither!

  57. John

    One of the disappointments of the “thug-ish” response to this shooting is that it provided an opportunity to those people who either have not grown up, moved on, or otherwise, gotten over their hatred for the police. It shows that that mindset is alive and well and being passed on from generation to generation.

    Yes, a terrible think happened. But, so many people have spent years and decades working on community problem solving, building trust and communication across races and cultures, and working on themselves and their own characters. Yet, a situation like this occurs and it shows that not everyone accepts, believes, or is willing to make the necessary changes in their own responses in order to make a better city and a better world.

    We’ve been through this kind of thing before. We’ve been through police shootings of citizens before; we’ve had the riots and civil unrest and we know the outcomes to all those different responses. We know what works and what does not work. We know how to solve problems and resolve difficult issues in a way that will bring justice to those who deserve it, but also in a way that does not harm innocent parties,. We know all these things.

    So, the disappointment is to see that, despite all that we know, there are still many, many people in our own community who will throw way all of that progress and those efforts. They willingly and gleefully take center stage knowing full well that they can do so and that the cameras are rolling…and they will trash, destroy, and deny, all of those positive efforts for all those years, simply because of their own hatred and lack of ability to respond in a positive manner.

    This is the greatest disappointment for me.

  58. Navigator


    I agree, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, and many other former Oaklanders should do more for the city. However, let’s not forget that Clint made sure that at least one of his movies was shot and set in Oakland. True Crime was shot in Oakland because Clint Eastwood insisted on it. A few of the scenes were shot at Le Cheval and at City Center. The Tribune Building was featured prominently in the Film.

    Also, to be fair, Tom Hanks did contribute to the renovation of the Skyline High School auditorium a few years back.

    I think Dellumns needs to get famous and wealthy former Oaklanders along with people like Bill Gates, to invest in the city. I’m not talking about just grants and that type of thing. I’m talking about business investment in the tremendous potential of this city.

    For example, all anyone has to do is walk around the Oakland Produce District just north of Jack London Square and see those historic structures, see the charming overhangs over those 15ft foot wide sidewalks, and then see the possibility of a French Quarter, or a Pioneer Square, in Seattle, type of entertainment district. That area is screaming for restaurants, pubs, sidewalk cafes, nightclubs, etc. Oakland just needs a vision and a little investment from former Oaklanders who care about their hometown.

    What do you think Phil. Can I interest you in the Oakland Produce District? I realize that you’ve done so much for Oakland already. Unfortunately, others aren’t doing their share of making this great city, even better.

  59. Hayden

    The BART shooting is a great tragedy–and I haven’t seen any significant number of folks saying otherwise. A number of newspaper story commenters noted that we did not see the same focused response (i.e., big protest) to the many murders and other violent crimes in Oakland (or elsewhere, for that matter) last year.

    Perhaps that’s due in part to the police being involved here. While plenty of people have their own read on what the police mean and who they are, and that read–that history–surely helped contribute to the response, the police are also identifiable and public and something that can be fixed. That folks are not out protesting in the same way (even without the mayhem) for all the other violent crime suggests they are at as much of a loss for what to do about all that violent crime as everyone else. And of course, where does one protest that? One cop, one BART station–it’s much easier to focus.

    Whatever the BART policeman did, it’s a good bet that addressing that won’t address the crime map for my neighborhood, which looks like a confetti explosion. The main rap on Oakland that people from far away know is crime. From far away, the protests look like more of that.

  60. Max Allstadt


    What really strikes me about your comments is that while you presume that cops are all vicious meat-heads, the tone of your writing makes you sound like you have the very same spirit within you that you claim to decry. You’re just pointing the barrel of your hate in the other direction.

    You make a lot of assumptions. Do you know any cops, personally, off the job? There are some who read and even occasionally post on this blog, and what they say is usually a far cry from matching the vision you’ve cooked up of the problem.

    As for the whole “reality ain’t for the faint of heart” crap. I was there. It wasn’t scary at all. It was just stupid. I have to say that the lack of malice between human and human on that night was somewhat of a relief. The stupidity was that these kids, while not out for blood, couldn’t see that they were bleeding this city with every dollar worth of damage they did.


    You’re absolutely right. Out of town douchebags had a lot to do with that night. I’m pretty sure that the guys I saw smash the windows of the School for the Arts were local, though. All the more depressing. They trotted a straight line west after they were done.

  61. Navigator

    Hayden, don’t feel bad about the crime confetti map for your neighborhood. They all look like that in major urban cities. If you go to the San Francisco Crime Map and punch in crime for the last ninety days for a one mile radius of Union Square, it looks like a horrible case of measles

    Even in places like Pacific Heights you’d be surprised at the number of auto thefts, burglaries, and robberies..

    Although crime in Oakland is way too high, and we need to do everything to address serious crime in your neighborhood, and in EVERY neighborhood in Oakland, our city does get a disproportionate share of the negative attention.

  62. Navigator


    KRON had an exact breakdown of the city of residence of all of the 105 vandals arrested during the disturbance in downtown Oakland. Thirty three were from Oakland. The next largest group was from San Francisco, followed by Berkeley, with the rest from various cities from throughout the Bay Area. So, that’s what, 70% from out of town?

    That’s outrageous. They trashed our city for their selfish recreational enjoyment. If you want to protest and tear shit up, do it in your own town!

  63. DoubleA

    One of the things that really pisses people off in situations like this is the following, taken from an article written January 2nd, before the videos came out:

    “While witness accounts reported by news organizations indicate Grant was on the platform and handcuffed when he was shot, BART spokesman Jim Allison said the victim was not restrained when the gun discharged. BART officials wouldn’t comment on whether the shooting was accidental or deliberate.

    “Any incident with that many people, you’re going to have different perceptions of what happened,” Allison said.”

    If the videos hadn’t been released, BART probably would still be maintaining that that Oscar Grant was not restrained when shot. Either Jim Allison was lying, or the cops at the scene lied. If Jim Allison was lying he should be fired, along with anyone else at BART that tried to engage in a cover up. If the officers were lying, they should be charged with obstruction of justice.

    I am in no way condoning the riot, but crap like this is what creates the anger that can lead up to one. BART didn’t even issue an apology until Thursday, the day after the riot. If BART had been honest and quick to respond, we might not have had the situation that allowed the vandals to mix in with the angry but peaceful protesters.

  64. Max Allstadt


    I don’t dispute the numbers. From what I saw on the ground, the make up of the crowd was largely out-of-towners.

    But. I was on my bike on the north side of the Fox when four assholes threw rocks through the windows. They fled west. I watched them continue west past the Uptown Apartments. I’m pretty damn sure those particular assholes were local, or at least very likely to be local compared with most of the other assholes I saw at work that night.

  65. Dim

    I know this is kind of a footnote to the whole tragedy, but… is there a procedural-explanation for why the BART train stayed at the station for the whole detention process? It seems like having a train full of people right there might have added an extra level of pressure for the officers, though I guess I’d understand if they wanted to hold the train to preserve evidence/other suspects. Not trying to remove blame from the cops, just want to know what happened and why.

  66. Patrick McCullough

    I didn’t want the other Patrick to be blamed for my “Get off my lawn” comment, but the third-person writer got that as wrong as her responsibility for playing with fire. The admonishment to “Teach your children well” presupposes that the teacher is less of an idiot than the students. If the irresponsible/emotional/naive want to do good they should not be so presumptuous that they think their input is not superflous to what’s already engaged.

    I wrote “Get off my lawn” yesterday, said it and enforced it long before the Oak Tech alum made it a movie tag. (Gran Torino is a pretty good movie) And by the way, for the respect authority challenged, it’s not just a comment, it’s a command. The punks and their idiot backers need to know that there are some people who just won’t take their crap and are prepared to take on knuckleheads who don’t appreciate the message. No brag, just fact.

    Get ready for the next round of excuse mongers who are going to say the solution is jobs and justice for all. Wait a bit though, the poverty pimps will have to go on a taxpayer funded retreat before formulizing this latest revelation. For them, a dose of reality: There aren’t any jobs you want and are qualified for, so what next? Are they going to riot and act foolish every week? If so, how about doing the responsible taxpayers a favor and make your jihad video now so we’ll know what next of kin to notify when your folly runs into the hard wall of reality.

  67. Patrick

    I guess I was rather presumptuous to assume that I was the only Patrick…now I have first-hand experience in how presupposition can lead to unjustified rage.

  68. Patrick McCullough

    Dear Patrick,
    A good lesson for us all. Maybe we can satisfy the race-baiters and easily confused by, in the future, identifying ourselves thusly: Me, as the poor ignorant oppressed Black Pat, and you as the rich uncaring privileged White Pat.

  69. Navigator

    Can I be the White former Oakland Tech student whose dad died when he was 12 and whose mom raised five kids by herself without a firm grasp of the English language and the ability to drive a car. A mother who had to go to public assistance for a short period of time, but eventually got a driver’s license, found a job, and raised five decent and productive children all by herself. Can I be the white kid who went to 90% African American school at the time, and enjoyed growing up in my multi-racial neighborhoods, and played sports and socialized with kids from every race and ethnicity.

    That’s why I love this city. This town gave me so much and made me the person that I am today.

  70. Patrick McCullough

    We’ve got a lot in common, far more than any differences. But don’t dare think we can expect to be thought of as decent-living, peace-loving, Americans who hope communication, education, and empathy will prevail; the pigeon-holers won’t allow it. Until things actually change, who can believe it?

  71. Navigator


    Thanks for standing up to the thugs who were trying to take over your neighborhood. For those of you who don’t know, Patrick McCullough is an Oakland hero for standing up for himself and for his neighborhood against criminals. Those were the same type of criminals, with the same mind-set, which terrorized downtown Oakland. Thanks again for your courage and your commitment to this city and to your neighborhood.

    I hope things have improved for you, your family, and for your neighbors.

  72. Michael Biven


    It was clearly a riot. There was unrest, destruction of property, physical attacks and I’m not talking between protesters and police, but between the rioters and some of the press and by-standers. I was there starting at 12th and Broadway on Wednesday night and then caught to where the Mayor walked to city hall. When the mayor finished his speech and walked inside it was only a matters of minutes before I heard “riot, riot, riot, riot” shouted. At that point a large group ran off and started destroying vehicles, window fronts and then split off into multiple groups. The one that we followed continuing the same damage and adding burning a few dumpsters and cars to the mix. They were not demonstrating, the demonstrators had mostly backed off.


  73. Navigator


    My point is consistency in the Bay Area media in reporting “riots.” There have been disturbances in San Francisco in the past where windows have been broken, garbage containers set on fire, and I never heard the word “riot” from the media.

    Also, after reading an article in the Tribune regarding the damage in downtown Oakland, and reading quotes from merchants on 17th Street explaining how hard it is to get people to shop there and change the perception of Oakland, I see one of those same 17th Street merchants giving an interview to KPIX and being quoted saying, “This just gives you the feeling of how unsafe it is down here.” I’m speechless. Why would you denigrate the place where your business is located to the San Francisco media? I’m sure that kind of denigration will get people down there to shop. Even if that wasn’t the entirety of the interview, that’s the part they will use. That’s their entire angle. The SF media wants the World to know that Oakland is a scary and unsafe place. Don’t fall for it. Never denigrate the place you’re trying to do business in to the San Francisco media.

  74. Navigator

    “Hunter clarified a statement he made at a news conference Thursday that there were “300-plus businesses affected.” He said he was referring to the number of businesses in the area city officials were surveying for vandalism.”

    This is from the Oakland Tribune referring to the erroneous reports from Chip Johnson and the San Francisco media that “300″ businesses were vandalized.

    How long will it take the Oakland fear mongers to correct their statements?

    There were no where near “300 businesses vandalized in downtown Oakland.” The City was taking inventory of the 300 businesses in the AREA. The San Francisco media pimps need to get this information straight! How long will they allow this misinformation to fester?

  75. Navigator

    So far, the City of Oakland has received requests for help in covering expenses from damages, from 38 businesses.

  76. Chris

    Protest the Protesters!

    The cold blooded killing of 22 year old Oscar Grant by a BART police officer is a grave injustice and the entire community should rally aside Oscar’s friends and family in demanding that those responsible are held accountable. We must ensure that such travesties never occur again.

    In the wake of Oscar Grant’s murder, a splinter group supposed anarchists or so-called revolutionaries opted to use the event as a political springboard to advance their message. They did so without regard to the decades of struggle and injustice faced by the poor of Oakland. They destroyed the vehicles, broke the windows, and terrorized the communities of Oakland who lived amidst the terror of oppression their entire lives.

    The actions of these so-called revolutionaries were conducted on the backs of the oppressed. Just as a slave owner used the hard work of the African Americans to advance his financial agenda, these protestors used the grief and injustice that permeates Oakland’s poor to advance their political agenda.

    These professional protestors come from lives of privilege. Their message may have merit, but their actions make them no different than the BART police officer who shot Oscar Grant. The violence they have brought to our City hurts the very people they claim to fight for.

    We can’t stand by idly and allow the poor and oppressed of Oakland to continue to be manipulated to serve the agenda of the privileged class.

    This group will be holding an emergency meeting tonight to discuss additional plans to co-opt the death of Oscar Grant for their political gain.

    Please join us in Protesting the Protesters and standing against the perpetuation of violence against poor people.

    Protest Revolution Books – Sunday, January 11 at 7pm
    2425 Channing Way

  77. oaklandhappenings

    Navigator, thanks for sharing that personal story several posts back– it is good that you turned out well, despite the hardships when young.
    PhilT and others– thank you for verifying that most of the “slime” from Wed. evening were from out of town. Does anyone know yet where the ones who were charged with the felonies (alone) were from? Was that percentage higher outside of Oakland than within, or were there only 3 total (which sounds like a VERY low number, btw).

  78. Patrick

    What an enlightening story about Patrick McCullough in the Chron:

    A _15_ year old, Melvin, was reaching for a gun, and Mr. McCullough shot him to protect himself at his front door, which injured the perpetrator. Melvin’s mother’s response, after a $60K settlement:

    “He nearly killed my son and almost ruined our lives.”

    And when Melvin was interviewed for the article, his take on Mr. McCullough’s desire to protect his family’s safety:

    “I don’t want to talk about that snitch”.

    Seriously, if you’re rear ended at a stop light, the insurance company still assigns 10% fault to you simply for being there. How can a 15 year old, playing with guns, and his mother, remove themselves from any responsibility whatsoever? Talk about entitlement!

  79. Navigator

    I apologize for posting this on the previous older thread by mistake.

    Oaklandhappenings, Thanks for the kind words.

    In my humble opinion, it is outrageous that Oakland gets stained and vilified for this mess. The media has not done a good job letting the World know that 70% of the vandals arrested were from out of town.

    This whole thing was a regional mess played out in Oakland’s downtown. A young man from Hayward is killed on his way home form San Francisco by a BART cop from Napa, in a regional transit station. This tragedy is then followed by a protest, which was then followed by violent disturbance where 70% of the culprits were from out of town, and Oakland gets vilified for this? What’s wrong with this picture? Why isn’t there more outrage over this? Why do many Oaklanders just sit back and allow the media to misrepresent what happened?

    The San Francisco media is presenting this to the world as “Oakland thugs( read: young black hoodlums) are running wild and once again destroying their own city, in the, “Oakland Riots” where “300 businesses” have been damaged.”

    Let’s see, we have people coming over from San Francisco and other cities to trash our town, and then, their media comes over and compounds the problem by misrepresenting what happened to the World? They tell the World that “300″ businesses have been damaged, they infer that the damage was done by Oaklanders by showing selective pictures of who was arrested, they interview local merchants with scary OAKLAND stories, and then they contrast all of this with their “peaceful” daytime protest between the Palestinians and the Israelis in San Francisco. The Message: You see America, you see how violent Oakland is, and how civilized WE are? Oakland is more violent than the middle east.

    They send us their anarchists and then blame us for the ” Oakland Riots.” Again, why do wee accept this without uttering a word?

  80. Navigator

    I think we need to hold one protest in Berkeley, and the other in San Francisco in front of the San Francisco Chronicle building. Better yet, how about 9th street in Old Oakland in front of Chip Johnson’s office? Chip knows darn well that there haven’t been 300 businesses vandalized in downtown Oakland. All the guy has to do is take a half hour stroll during his lunch brake. Yet, this San Francisco columnist perpetuates these inaccuracies to Bay Area residents. That’s just plain wrong, Chip!

  81. Brooklyn Avenue

    “How can a 15 year old, playing with guns, and his mother, remove themselves from any responsibility whatsoever? Talk about entitlement!”

    Sure, but what do you expect? Who does take responsibility in today’s world? Not Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld, not the officer who shot the unarmed young man, not the CEO’s on Wall Street who took enormous risks and enormous salaries, then begged the government for bailouts, not…

    I’m certainly not defending that 15-year-old or his mother, but I can’t say I’m surprised that they weren’t repentant. Shame and responsibility have basically disappeared from our culture entirely.

  82. Patrick

    I hear you loud and clear. But I’m not talking about the world, per se, I’m talking about a single street in Oakland. When individuals are capable of absolving themselves of all responsibility, all hope is lost. Mr. McCullough stood up for every Oakland citizen’s rights to a safe neighborhood and as a result, our city is rid of two people who would rather accuse than admit responsibility. Good riddance.

  83. Navigator

    Let’s make it clear that this incident happened quite sometime ago.

    Also, brew, you’re more likely to see me in front of Chip Johnson’s office on 9th street in Old Oakland with a sign saying. ” CHIP, SHOW ME THE “300″ VANDALIZED BUSINESSES,” How’s that for a novice protester?

  84. Patrick

    OK, Nav. Patrick McCullough’s incident occurred in 2005. Not really all that long ago.

    I’m still not convinced that Chip deserves to be vilified. Much of what he says is true – and as he is an Oakland citizen, I would hope he is working in our best interest. Reporting falsehoods, of course, is never acceptable.

  85. Ralph

    Double A, i don’t get your point, grant was not in handcuffs when shot; and there are always a 1000 accounts of the same incident

    the events of this past week would have been classified as a riot regardless of location – except berkeley where it may have been classified as a people’s demonstration.

    about the only annoying thing we all know that it was a crazy mixed race crowd wreaking havoc to our fair city, but the media portrayal makes it appears that the coloreds are rioting on the plantation and need to be caged

  86. California Beat

    We’ve written and reported about this tragic incident extensively on our website, the California Beat. We’ve compiled a page on our site with all of our reports, multimedia, videos, photos, and comments from our contributors who are calling for Mehserle’s arrest and his exoneration.

    We’re updating the entire site with new information when it breaks, and keeping this page fresh with the newest stuff that we put up. You’re invited to come take a look.

  87. Stasiu Nabozny

    For anyone who’s interested: Bill O’Reilly slandered the city of Oakland with his Talking Points Memo for today (what a surprise). You can view the link here,,2933,479364,00.html, but what he says is that the people of Oakland normally tolerate violence and crime in their city, and haven’t spoken out in the past about it, and are being “selectively” outraged over this incident.

    I’ve already e-mailed Fox News about this, telling them what a crock it is, but I thought citizens of Oakland (I live in San Jose) might have something more forceful to say.

  88. len raphael

    in case you missed the last demo, you can catch one scheduled this wed jan 14th with no less than harry belafonte (oakland doesn’t rate Al S or maybe he’s mellowed out too much). there were a bunch of notices for this posted around oakland tech today.

    would think dellums learned something from last week and will bring in enough cops from other towns to calmly outnumber the protestors.

  89. das88

    @Stasiu Nabozny Thanks to the link for the O-Reilly clip. I bet Desley Brooks is fuming that she made it to National TV, but there was no identification of who she is.

  90. bartholomew

    From “Riots, Ruckus and Radicals” on the New America Media website (sub-headed “A message to the anarchists that hijacked the Oscar Grant protest”):

    I can’t say I would be happier if the melee was ignited by angry black people, but there was something quite disturbing about watching masked white kids (yes…I’m generalizing) setting out to be destructive during a peaceful demonstration for a young black man that had been murdered by the police.

    Here’s a message to the “anarchists” who were in Oakland that night: Take off the masks. Put down the bottles. I’ve had enough. This is my firebomb and it’s headed for your cozy bedroom or wherever you concoct your project mayhem fantasies. I will not digress from a position of disgust for anyone who feels that violence is the only answer.

    Full article:

    This is exactly the message that needs to be sent. If you see a masked kid torching a trash can, take him out. There’s no place in our community for this kind of bs. If the self-described revolutionaries think the law ought not apply then I’d expect they’d not complain when we beat their heads for trashing our city.

  91. Chris Kidd

    I’d really like to tell those wanna-be revolutionary kids of priviledge that their masked-anarchist ways are fun and all, but please take out your agression against your parents in some other city. Way to take the focus away from Oscar Grant –where it rightfully belongs– and make it all about yourselves. Congrats.

  92. Patrick

    Agreed, Becks…those posters are truly scary (even the misspelled “Oaklamd” on the top one barely gave me pause).

    “Protecting your identity is Protecting Yourself”?

    So when a cop commits an act of violence, like shooting a defenseless person in the back, apparently unintentionally, and then quits to protect himself from riotous violence and lynch-mob justice, it is not OK. Fine. I can accept that line of reasoning to a point. But when a group of people, many of whom I would suspect have absolutely no connection with Oscar Grant, decide to mask themselves and commit intentional acts of violence with bricks, fire and spray paint, that is supposed to be acceptable?

    Now, I realize that a presumably innocent man getting shot in the back is a far cry from what these posters advertise – assuming no one gets hurt or killed. But when individuals feel they have the right to determine an acceptable level of criminal violence they can inflict upon society under the mantle of “justice”, there is no justice – only anarchy – and not of the Max-bicycling-on-the-sidewalk sort.

    I hope that the National Guard is standing by. If this “ruckus” comes to fruition, it’s going to be messy.

  93. Navigator

    There was a riot in San Francisco last night and no one here cares. What’s going on? Thee were people setting garbage cans on fire, setting barricades on the streets, throwing trash on the street, “banging” on windows, and running wild through Union Square scarring the tourists, etc.

    KPIX downplayed the entire thing. Ken Bastida comes on and states, “There’s been another BART demonstration.” They then send it to a guy holding a microphone in OAKLAND, who starts talking about different aspects of the BART shooting story. They then cut back to the San Francisco “protest’ with only a “San Francisco” caption under the video.

    Also, in unrelated matter, KCBS brought up the fact that Oakland was the top city in the Nation in reducing smoking in public places. The KCBS anchor introduced the story like this. “There’s no there, There, but, there’s also no smoke there.”

    What can we do about this? How about instead of ridiculing anyone that brings this stuff up, why not get on their website and register your disapproval? Have any of you bitching about me bringing this up, e-mailed the media to let them know that 300 businesses were not damaged in Oakland? How about registering your disapproval to KPIX or to KCBS. I’ve let them know how I feel about this? If your not going to do something about it, don’t bitch about someone who will.

  94. Navigator

    Also, It’s a good thing that these people took the protest to San Francisco. If the San Francisco media, the San francisco Chamber of Commerce, and San Francisco political leaders think that only Oakland will get trashed by these hoodlums, the media and those in power would be more than happy to sit back and watch Oakland get trashed for their entertainment. Now, that the people across the Bay have a stake in this whole mess we should see more resources brought to this situation.

  95. V Smoothe Post author

    Enough, Navigator. I am sick of you spamming my blog with your endless rants about the “biased” San Francisco media. So are all of my readers. If you feel so strongly about the issue, I suggest you start your own blog documenting these perceived slights that you appear to be obsessed with. These screeds are no longer welcome here.

  96. Navigator

    Patrick, what makes you think that what the cop did was unintentional? He had no reason to reach for ANY weapon at that point. The man was subdued and on the ground face down with a knee on his neck. That cop was pissed, and he wanted to deem out some justice. If you look at that video you can see that he reached for his holster a couple of times before he was able to actually pull that gun out. Immediately after the shooting, the other cops look at him like, “what the hell did you just do?” That’s when we see the hands to the head in a “what the hell did I just do,” reaction. Was that a genuine reaction, or was it contrived as a response to the other officer’s reactions?

  97. Navigator

    Incorrectly stating to the World that 300 businesses were vandalized in Oakland is a “perceived slight?”

    Criticizing the media is obviously off limits in a Better Oakland blog.

  98. V Smoothe Post author

    Navigator, perhaps if you weren’t so determined to discover some grand media conspiracy against Oakland everywhere you look, maybe you would have taken a second to think about where the 300 number came from, instead of just throwing a fit about it. Gregory Hunter, from CEDA, told the press that 300 business were vandalized at a press conference on Thursday. A number of stories then repeated this official statement from a city spokesperson. When Hunter later corrected his statement, local news outlets then ran stories saying that he had done so, and that the number of actual vandalized businesses were lower.

    Criticizing the media is far from off limits on this blog, but spam is, and as far as I’m concerned, these rants are no more appropriate than the hundreds of viagra ads that get caught in my filter every day. You need to stop it.

  99. Navigator


    The only media that I saw run the article explaining how Gregory Hunter told reporters that the City of Oakland was “surveying” the 300 businesses in the downtown area for any vandalism, was the Tribune. I don’t think that he told them that 300 businesses were “vandalized.” I haven’t heard any other media recant this. Perhaps you have links for the Chronicle or other media which shows this. If you do, I would love to see it. Maybe Chip Johnson will inform us of the correct number in his next column. This is a major discrepancy. It’s important to get it right. The difference between 300, and maybe 50, is huge. Right now most of the world thinks that 300 businesses were vandalized in Oakland.

    V, Out of respect for you and for your blog, I’ll respect your wishes and try to refrain from criticizing the media. My intention was not to spam your blog. I felt that I was communicating with fellow Oaklanders who feel the same way. Again, I apologize.

    Also, thanks for the civil discussion. I appreciate that.

  100. Coolhand Luke

    And just why the hell was he in Nevada? What kinda shit is that? Was that one of his secret hiding places or was be bookin it? Further, why were the police “hiding” him to begin with? If they knew where he was, they should have arrested him!

  101. jarichmond

    He was probably in Nevada to avoid being killed himself. Prior to his resignation from the police department, they were having to move him around to avoid the death threats he was receiving. Plus, you can’t hold someone in jail without formally charging them with a crime, so my guess is that they waited until the DA’s office told them they had put the charges together before they made the arrest. In light of this news, I’d be expecting to hear an announcement about charges from the DA really soon.

    Also, as for the media, at least KTVU and the latest articles from the Chronicle have reported the amended number of businesses damaged and explained that the earlier number was given by the city as the businesses in the area. Sensationalized? Sure. Conspiratorial? Not on this one..

  102. Max Allstadt


    The media repeated Gregory Hunter’s mistake with the 300 number. I heard them repeat the mistake on NPR national news. Then, when Gregory Hunter recanted his mistake and lowered the estimate to 45 businesses or less, I heard the media repeat his correction on NPR national news. No conspiracy, no bias. They accurately reported what they had been told by a government source. Twice.

  103. OaklandSpaceAcademy


    Though I disagree with the breadth and depth of your theory of SF media bias, I believe there is a kernel of truth to it. I just think you overstate the case and attribute too much to some vast conspiracy.

    When there are individuals who wildly propose a conspiracy theory to what many people believe to be simple everyday human behavior (in this case, the tendency to better observe what is closer), it has the unfortunate effect of pushing those who don’t see the conspiracies to then deny the behavior exists at all.

    I think this is what is happening with your rants. Which is all the more unfortunate because there is bias, and it does need to be addressed. But your approach makes the problem worse.

    I second V’s suggestion that you start your own blog on the topic. You clearly are passionate about the issue, and seem to have some degree of time to do this (though it will take longer than you think). Most importantly, I think could be interesting and is definitely something I would check out, at least until you either changed my mind or prove you’ve gone berzerk on the topic.

  104. Navigator


    This will probably be the last time I post here regarding this issue. I’m only posting this because you addressed me personally.

    I’ve never said that there was “a vast media conspiracy.” Those are someone else’s words. I try to deal with each issue on its own merits. However, I can tell you that I’ve researched the San Francisco Chronicle crime archives. I can tell you that I’ve researched the number of times the moniker “Oakland” appears in a crime headline as opposed to the moniker “San Francisco.” It’s not even close to being proportional to the amount of crime. I can tell you the number of times that the Oakland updated homicide number makes it on the headline as compared to San Francisco. I can tell you how many times San Francisco Chronicle crime reporter Jaxon Van Derbeken omits San Francisco’s updated homicide count in his articles, while at the same time, Henry Lee constantly uses Oakland’s . I can tell you how rarely the moniker “San Francisco is used in crime stories compared to the moniker “Oakland.” I know I know, I can hear Max playing the violin.

    I can also tell you how I contacted the General Manager of KCBS, Ed Cavanero twice,and had two erroneous stories regarding Oakland homicide numbers retracted. I remember driving to work in the morning and listening to KCBS retract those erroneous stories. I felt pretty damn good about myself. I felt empowered.

    By contrast, I come on this site with a historical perspective, along with a certain amount of knowledge regarding this subject through careful study and research over many years, and somehow, I’m perceived as a threat, I’m shouted down, I’m ridiculed, I’m marginalized as some conspiratorial nut, etc. I don’t need that. I’m not trying to dominate anything. I’m just trying to make a contribution to my hometown.

    Anyway, I appreciate the small acknowledgment.

  105. Navigator

    How many black eyes can one city take?

    How come no one was guarding City Center? First we have 17th Street trashed, now, it’s another of the few bright retail spots in downtown Oakland. I mean this isn’t rocket science. Why didn’t the Oakland Police Department cordon off City Center?

    Of course, the few punks who broke the windows are getting most of the publicity. Now, the City of Oakland is hiring private security to do what the Oakland Police Department couldn’t do. Does anyone in the Oakland Police Department know what they’re doing? Do you have a plan to deal with these disturbances? Can’t someone figure out where the high value targets in the downtown area are? I’m amazed at how many times this police department has allowed this city to be embarrassed Nationally by a few misguided thugs.

  106. 94610BizMan

    OPD knows how to from a line or cordon off an area. From the “personal communications” I’ve had from a few OP that were on the streets there were no orders from the chain of command for decisive action

  107. Patrick

    What a disaster.

    In order to prove murder, the prosecution has to prove intent. California Penal Code Section 187a states “Murder is the unlawful killing of a human being, or a fetus, with malice aforethought.” In other words, they have to prove that Mehserle willfully intended to pull his gun with the intention of shooting and killing Mr. Grant. Based on Mehserle’s well-documented reaction immediately following the shooting, is this possible? Even second degree murder requires acting with complete disregard for human life and a highly probable death. Mehserle’s lawyer will certainly point out that the gunshot – in and of itself – would not have been fatal except for the unexpected ricochet. Even voluntary manslaughter requires intention to kill – but with the “heat of the moment” excuse. So, that leaves us with involuntary manslaughter, and sentencing guidelines of 2-4 years. What will the protesters think of that?

  108. OaklandSpaceAcademy


    Don’t tell me you can tell me, just tell me.

    I didn’t say YOU said there was a vast SF media conspiracy, that is something I (and others ) said. So you are right on that count, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

    I don’t doubt you have historical perspective or a certain amount of knowledge; you obviously follow the issue closely. But make your case with numbers, you claim to have them.

    It will be very interesting and informative, I’m looking forward to it. Be sure to contact me when you do.

  109. Butch

    Mayor Dellums is a Statesman in his own mind. He is Sad and Old. A feeble Has-Been that has no business trying to lead Oakland. My sadness is rooted in Oakland having a Really Poor Management Team. Drum the Limp Dxxxxs out. No Fuxxking courage in this bunch.

  110. Navigator

    Patrick, The intent of the officer will be better known once we get witness testimony of what was said prior to the shooting. This, combined with the video, and with the testimony regarding the officer’s general tone and behavior as he dealt with the developing situation, will make his mindset a bit more clear. This case can certainly still be tried as a second degree homicide case with a good chance of conviction. The mere fact that he pulled that weapon without an evident threat, pointed that weapon, and fired a shot at nearly point blank range into the back of a defenseless human being who was restrained, could lead any reasonable person to the conclusion that this may result in the death of that human being. Therefore, it is reasonable to conclude that the officer knew the extent of the damage his reckless use of that weapon would cause.

    Also, the officer’s reaction right after the shooting could have been contrived as a reaction to the other officer’s reactions. I’m sorry, but the “oops” defense is not irrefutable.

  111. Navigator

    OaklandSpaceAcademy, I would love to tell you, but I can’t on this site. Maybe at some point when I have more time, I’ll go on your site and document everything if you would allow me. Thanks.

  112. Oh Pleeze

    I take exception to cheapening Oakland’s riots as ‘unplanned’, or ‘[a] peaceful protest erupting into violence.’ The anger wasn’t spontaneous: It was planned, if not orchestrated. Photos show protesters carrying posters with incendiary, derogatory and hateful slogans against the police. These knuckleheads* took time to think up which hate slogans would hit a nerve, and then get them printed *well before* the protest started. Their slogans were intended to hurt and to incite anger, and they succeeded. These maleficent, self-centered brats twisted an honest display of grief, sympathy and support into their own self serving melee, and in doing so, betrayed Mr Grant’s family, the people who joined together to grieve with them, and the entire city of Oakland. Their acts are unforgivable.

    * knucklehead: Thank you, spiritual monkey, for resurrecting that fine old noun!

  113. Max Allstadt


    I’m trying to type and play the world’s smallest violin at the same time… it’s kind of awkward.

    To be fair, I have never been entirely dismissive of your claims of bias. It’s just the frequency that you make them that gets me. We had a really interesting offshoot conversation about neighborhood names and how crime reporting about Oakland doesn’t use those names often. You have some legitimate points. My sarcasm only really kicked in when I felt like you were overdoing it. I really would value it if you created a website which did A-B comparisons on local reporting. Or for that matter a watchdog site in general. It would be nice for people less connected than me to have somewhere to learn that Chris Thompson doesn’t live in the Bay Area, for example.

  114. Navigator


    I appreciate that. Yes, I’ve really enjoyed some of our discussions. I know I can be overly opinionated at times and considering that this is V’s blog, I probably should be a bit more considered. Anyway, just keep an open mind and an open ear. Take care.

  115. len raphael

    in the spirit of these postings, for first time in 30 years, went to 15th and bway at night to go to a restaurant. MA’s praise of Ichiro was more than justified.

  116. Charles Pine

    Oh Pleeze commented, “I take exception to cheapening Oakland’s riots as ‘unplanned’, or ‘[a] peaceful protest erupting into violence.’ The anger wasn’t spontaneous: It was planned, if not orchestrated.”

    There’s another angle, too: the failure of the Jan. 7 protest organizer to take measures to keep the event peaceful when the potential for unfocused anger to boil over into a riot was obvious. See