Author Archives: j4ab

Demand Justice from Oakland City Leaders!

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Quan, Santana and Jordan

The Justice 4 Alan Blueford Coalition will be attending an Oakland town hall meeting this week on public safety and other issues. The meeting is scheduled to include: Mayor Jean Quan, OPD Cheif Howard Jordan, City Administrator Deanna Santana and City Council Member Pat Kernighan.

Wednesday, 5:30pm at Edna Brewer Middle School, 3748 13th Ave, Oakland.

They’ll be talking about public safety (by telling us that the solution to our 120 murders is more police, gang injunctions, and youth curfews), infrastructure (because that pothole that’s about 3 feet deep on my street and has been there for the last 6 months speaks well to their ability to resolve infrastructure issues), attracting new businesses to Oakland (aka the new business development districts that are behind all this gang injunction nonsense in the first place), and schools (sure we closed down 5 of them and plan to further de-fund them to pay the $4.6 million dollar settlement that OPD stuck us with for repeatedly strip-searching people in public, but we swear this time we’re serious about our children).
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OPD receivership press conference

Solidarity with Mi Pueblo workers

Several weeks ago, Dignity and Resistance Coalition endorsed the Justice 4 Alan Blueford coalition and our march against police brutality and racial profiling. We thank them for their support and we thank their members who turned out for the march.

The Dignity and Resistance Coalition is calling for a boycott of Mi Pueblo to stop unfair labor practices against workers and to stop Mi Pueblo’s voluntary participation in the federal I-9 audit which can result in deportations.  A community picket is happening on Wednesday, November 21, 4-7PM, and we would like to extend back to them our full solidarity.

Many of these Oakland workers are Latinos who face racial profiling, immigrants facing ICE aggression, and African Americans who are denied jobs, routinely.  We stand with them for justice!   Oakland workers deserve justice on the job just as much as they deserve justice–and constitutional protections–on the street.

J4AB Solidarity with SEIU 1021

Several weeks ago, SEIU Local 1021 endorsed the Justice 4 Alan Blueford
coalition and our march against racial profiling by police. We thank them
for their support and we thank their members who turned out for the march.

Members of SEIU Local 1021 are now planning to strike the Port of Oakland
on Tuesday, November 20, and we would like to extend back to them our full
solidarity. Many of these workers are among the people of color who
face racial profiling in Oakland every day and as they stood with us we
stand with them. Oakland workers deserve justice on the job just as much as
they deserve justice–and constitutional protections–on the street.

Members of the Justice 4 Alan Blueford coalition will be on the picket line
Tuesday and we invite all of our supporters to join us.

Mumia meets with parents of Alan Blueford

By Terri Kay

Originally posted at Workers.org.

Mumia Abu-Jamal met with Jeralynn Blueford and Adam Blueford, the parents of Alan Blueford, when they traveled to Pennsylvania on Oct. 29 to build support for justice for their son, Alan. The African-American youth was killed by Miguel Masso of the Oakland Police Department in California on May 6.

The Bluefords traveled with Jack Bryson, who got involved in the struggle against police repression when Oscar Grant, another African-American youth, was killed on a Bay Area Rapid Transit platform there by the BART police in 2009. Bryson’s two sons were on the platform with Grant when he was killed.

The visit was organized by Sandra Jones, a death-penalty abolitionist and assistant professor of sociology at Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J.

Workers World spoke with the Bluefords, Bryson and Jones about the visit with Abu-Jamal, long-time political prisoner, award-winning journalist and former death-row inmate in Pennsylvania.

Workers World: Why did you want to meet with Mumia?

Jack Bryson: I read all his books and look at him as the Messiah of the movement. In thinking about everything he has been through, who better to comfort and advise the Bluefords?

Jeralynn Blueford: I read up on his case. He experienced what I’ve been going through to the tenth power.

Adam Blueford: I knew he’s been struggling for justice for many years. Through our struggle, I thought I could learn something from him.

WW: What impressed you most about Mumia?

A. Blueford: [Mumia’s] heart. He was such a pleasant individual, and me being a religious person, him saying “God is love” is something I brought home with me. His knowledge and his willingness to help.

J. Blueford: His calming and soothing presence, coupled with his intelligence and strength.

Bryson: He talked about how he loved Huey Newton, the Black Panther Party and Oakland.

Sandra Jones: The ease at which he was able to go back and forth between commentary about politics, discussion of Obama to personal confirmation about himself and attention to Jack and the Blue­fords. At this point he has been in general population for less than a year. He had been in solitary for so long.

WW: What advice did Mumia ­offer about winning justice for Alan Blueford?

Bryson: Don’t depend on the government. Depend on the community and the people. Organize, organize, organize. “Organize with this” [he said, pointing to his forehead].

J. Blueford: Keep fighting. Keep mobilizing. Educating the youth in the struggle is really important.

Jones: [Mumia suggested] creating a website “killer-cops.com.” He thought it would be controversial to have that name, but it would draw attention. He mentioned that all the victims could be listed and have a central place to build the movement.

A. Blueford: Mumia said that justice is never given, it’s fought for. Not violently, but through education and movements, like the JAB [Justice for Alan Blueford Coalition], which we’re attempting to build.

WW: What did Mumia share about his own case and situation?

Jones: He spoke about being able to have contact with other prisoners. [He] told about one young prisoner who told him he didn’t “do books.” He now “does books,” and Mumia is educating other young prisoners. He’s able to spend time with Eddie Africa of the Move 9 [To learn about the Move 9, see workers.org]. Eddie has been alone most of the time he’s been in prison.

Bryson: When asked, “How do you do this — you’re innocent and [have been] kidnapped?” He said every day he is alive is a victory.

WW: Is there anything JAB can do for Mumia?

A. Blueford: We want to make sure the injustice done to Mumia is not ever swept under the rug, that this movement we’re building will eventually get justice for Mumia and walk him out of the doors of that penitentiary.

Bryson: We should write to him and continue to spread international support for him.

WW: Anything else you’d like to share?

Bryson: When [Mumia] was 14, he was arrested in Oakland for supporting Huey [Newton]. He talked about Oscar Grant, Kevin Cooper in San Quentin, Troy Davis and Tookie Williams.

A. Blueford: Mumia really showed us a lot of love. It was like meeting a family member. … We talked, laughed, hugged, cried — like family.

Mumia Abu-Jamal talked about the campaign for justice for Alan Blueford on his Nov. 4 Prison Radio broadcast. Listen to “Tears of Sorrow and Rage” at tinyurl.com/cgha3jx.

Alan Blueford FAQ

Q. Who was Alan Blueford?
A. Alan was a just-turned 18 year old high school student attending
Skyline High School in Oakland, CA. His parents are Adam and Jeralyn
Blueford.

Q. When and where was Alan Blueford killed?
A. Alan was killed at approximately 12:05 AM on May 6th, 2012, in the
driveway of 9230 Birch St, Oakland, CA.

Q. Who killed him, and how?
A. Oakland Policeman Miguel Masso fired three bullets at Alan, one
striking his shoulder, one his right chest, and one close to the heart.

Q. What happened?
A. Officer Masso and his partner stopped Alan and two friends as they
were walking on 90th St. After being stopped, for reasons unknown,
Alan decided to run. Officer Masso decided to chase him. The chase
went on for approximately four blocks until Allan and Officer Masso
arrived at 9230 Birch. At this point accounts diverge. Either Alan was
shot once, stumbled into driveway, and was shot twice more while lying
on his back, or he stumbled into a gate, fell into the driveway and
was then shot three times while lying on his back.

Q. What were Alan’s last words?
A. According to multiple witnesses Alan said “I didn’t do anything!”

Q. Did Alan have a gun?
A. There is no conclusive evidence one way or another. A gun was
found long after Alan was killed, 20 feet away from Alan’s body up an
inclined driveway. Despite multiple witnesses present, none reported
seeing a gun move from where Alan lay to the location where the gun
was found.

Q. Did witnesses say that Alan had a gun?
A. Most did not say anything one way or the other in their signed statements. Some of the witnesses are immigrants who may be concerned about their own safety. It was dark, things happened quickly, and multiple shots were fired by the policeman, leading understandably to confusion. We do know that Officer Masso said to his partner after-the-fact “I swear he had a gun!”  An odd turn of
phrase if Masso was sure Alan had a gun.

Q. Why did Officer Miguel Masso kill Alan Blueford? (Did he have
a good reason to shoot him?)
A. We don’t know exactly why Masso shot Alan. We probably never will.
What we do know is that Officer Masso helped torture a defenseless
prisoner in a NY City jail cell, and then refused to call for medical
attention (this is documented by the NY Police Department).
What we do know is that Officer Masso served as an MP in Iraq.
What we do know is that Officer Masso claimed in his report that he
freaked out, perhaps a minute before he shot Alan, and was unable to
hear or think clearly.

What we do know is that Masso did not have his lapel camera on, in
violation of OPD policy. What was he trying to hide? If we had that
video, many of the questions surrounding the shooting would likely
have been cleared up by now.

What we do know is that 11 of 12 witnesses said that Alan was on the
ground before Masso fired, in sharp contrast to Masso’s statement.
What we do know is that Alan was killed by Masso as the result of a
racist stop and frisk practice built around a discourse labeling all
black and brown young men as dangerous, particularly at night. Many
police departments believe they have a license to kill these young men
whether or not there is an objective reason to believe they are
dangerous.

What we do know is that police are killing unarmed citizens who pose
no immediate threat at an alarming and increasing rate. Over and over
police reports state that an officer “thought he had a weapon” or the
victim was “reaching for his waistband”, only to find out that the
dead victim was shot, sometimes in the back, unarmed.

Q. Is it true Officer Masso shot himself?
A. Yes. Officer Masso fired four shots. One of them ended up going
into his foot.

Q. What did the Coroner’s report have to say about Alan?
A. The Coroner’s report said there was no gun residue on Alan’s
hands, meaning that he never fired a weapon. Nor did he have any
alcohol or drugs in his body.

Q. Was there some issue with the Coroner’s report?
A. Yes. For reasons which are unclear, the Oakland Police demanded
that the Alameda Coroner not release the report. That demand was
honored until the family and supporters created a stink in the press,
held a protest outside the Coroner’s office, and then the family paid
more than $300 in ‘blood money’ as a fee to the Coroner before the
report was released in mid-July.

Q. When did the Blueford family first go to the City Council?
A. In mid-May, a few weeks after Alan’s death.

Q. What happened?
A. Council members, especially President Larry Reid, promised their
help in finding out what had happened to Alan.

Q. Did they get that promised help?
A. No.

Q. What is the Justice 4 Alan Blueford Coalition (JAB)?
A. A group of people who came together to help the Blueford family
obtain the truth. They come from all walks of life and belong to
various existing organizations. It seeks to find justice for Alan and
to try to ensure that no further such murders are allowed to happen.

Q. What has JAB done?
A. JAB has organized two BBQ’s for community awareness, held multiple
press conferences, held a rally in downtown Oakland, gone en-masse
twice to City Council meetings, analyzed the District Attorney’s
report entitled “Investigation of the Shooting Death of Alan
Blueford.” and reached out to community organizations, churches and
labor unions seeking support against police violence.

Q. Did JAB shut down a City Council meeting?
A. Yes. In mid-September, after months of non-action by the Council
and the City, the Blueford family and JAB stood in front of the City
Council demanding justice and specifically demanding the police report
on Alan’s death, not yet released.
Larry Reid told the Bluefords and the assembled citizenry that
Police Chief Jordan was on his way with the report, then called a ten
minute break. After ten minutes had turned into forty with no police
report and no Police Chief, Reid decided to restart the meeting,
taking up a resolution to declare Oakland “A City of Peace.”
With cries of “No Justice. No Peace!” JAB and allies drowned out the
Council and the meeting was adjourned. No police report was delivered
to the Bluefords that day or in the subsequent thirteen days, nor did
anyone from the City contact them.

Q. What happened next?
A. Two weeks later, the Blueford’s again appeared before the City
Council seeking justice. Many members of the public were shut out of
the meeting, despite seats being available and despite California’s
open meeting law which precludes such decrees. After the Blueford’s —
and allies who had managed to get in before the City Council blockaded
the doors — had spoken for about an hour, Larry Reid, in a grandstand
play, handed the Bluefords a redacted police report that he had with
him the entire time.

Q. The City Council met JAB’s demands?
A. No! Crucial information was blacked out from the report, and
obtaining the police report is only one of JAB’s demands to the City.
Officer Masso is still employed by the City of Oakland while on paid
leave, and the Oakland Police continue their de facto ‘Stop & Frisk’
actions against young men of color on the streets of Oakland.

Q. What has taken place since the redacted police report was released?
A. About a week later, the Alameda County District Attorney released
a document titled “INVESTIGATION OF THE SHOOTING DEATH OF ALAN BLUEFORD”.

Q. What were it’s conclusions?
A. “The evidence does not justify criminal charges against Oakland
Police Officer Masso.”

Q. Do the Bluefords and JAB accept this conclusion?
A. No! As detailed in our response to the DA’s report, that document
was shoddily put together and unprofessional. It did not consider the
evidence, nor did it attempt to resolve the contradictions between
Officer Masso’s account and the testimony of witnesses. The paradox of
the gun’s location was not considered and the fact that the gun was
tampered with — disassembled on location — was not even mentioned.
We don’t know everything that happened that night, but the DA’s
“investigation” was a whitewash. See JAB’s website
http://justice4alanblueford.org
/2012/10/17/j4ab-response-to-the-das-investigation/
for the full text of our response.

Q. Why is all this attention being paid to Alan Blueford? What about
all the other innocent people that have been murdered by the police?
Why aren’t they being given the same attention?
A. The Blueford family knows that they cannot get Alan back. They have
courageously committed to a long, painful battle against the Oakland
Police Department, the City of Oakland, and the criminal justice
system in the hope of getting justice for their son, and to push as
much as is humanly possible so that this sort of thing does not happen
again.
It’s rare that a family is able to come forward as the Blueford’s
have done and bring the murder of a family member by the police to
this level of public awareness. The emotional stress can be
overwhelming.
Let us build on what has gone before, e.g., the movements around
justice for Oscar Grant, Treyvon Martin and Ramarley Graham (shot and
killed by NYPD in his own bedroom, unarmed). JAB’s goal is to support
the Blueford family in their quest not only to obtain justice for the
murder of their son by prosecuting Miguel Masso, but also by building
a national movement that will include all the families and victims of
police violence and change the fundamental relationship of the police
with the community to prevent future murders from happening.

Q. What about Black-on-Black violence? Why isn’t JAB protesting that?
A.  Like all violence within our communities, Black-on-Black violence
stems from a host of social and political issues outside the scope of
our coalition for Justice for Alan Blueford. More importantly, the
police murder of Alan Blueford, like the increasing police violence
against our Black and Brown youth locally and across the country has
absolutely nothing to do with Black-on-Black violence. In fact, police
violence can be addressed through the specific demands of our
coalition, by the indictment of Officer Masso for the murder of Alan
Blueford, the end of de facto stop and frisk policies, and the
withdrawal of the so-called Officers Bill of Rights – their license to
kill without repercussion.

Q. What’s next for the Blueford family and JAB? (As of 10/10/12)
A. The Bluefords have been on the East Coast, speaking with New York
and Philadephia activists against police violence and both cities’ Stop
& Frisk laws.
On Dec. 18th, JAB we’ll be holding a forum with Angela Davis at Laney
College. Stay tuned for other events and actions.
Check our website for the time and place of Coalition meetings:
http://justice4alanblueford.org/

Labor supports Justice 4 Alan Blueford, November 10 march

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ILWU Local 10 and SEIU Local 1021, two of the largest labor unions in the Bay Area, have pledged their support for the Justice 4 Alan Blueford campaign and the November 10 march against racial profiling being organized with other Bay Area families victimized by police brutality.

ILWU Local 10 represents workers at the Port of Oakland. The union has a history of supporting progressive causes, including opposition to apartheid in South Africa, the war in Iraq and the killing of Oscar Grant. The Port of Oakland has been shuttered in support of all of these causes over the past few decades.

SEIU Local 1021 represents public employees throughout Northern California, including workers at Oakland City Hall and the Port of Oakland.

“SEIU members live, work, vote and pay taxes in Oakland. We expect the police department to be professional and accountable to the community,” said Gladys Gray, chair of the SEIU Social and Economic Justice Subcommittee. “Officer Masso and the Oakland Police Department failed miserably in Alan Blueford’s death. We call on the community to stand together to demand Justice for Alan Blueford.”

Alan Blueford was an 18-year-old Skyline HIgh School student who was killed by Oakland Police Officer Miguel Masso on May 6. His family and their supporters have fought Oakland City Hall and OPD to have Officer Masso fired and prosecuted. After several protests at City Hall, Chief Howard Jordan was forced to release the police report in Alan’s case. This report offered overwhelming evidence that Alan was lying on his back without a gun when he was shot and said “I didn’t do anything” as his last words.

The eventual release of the Alameda County District Attorney’s report–which announced that Masso would not be prosecuted in spite of the mounting evidence against him–also showed how Alan was a victim of racial profiling who should have never been stopped by the police in the first place.

The resolutions passed by these unions add to the growing list of supporters for this campaign who demand that Masso be brought to justice for his crime and that changes be instituted to assure that no such killing by an Oakland police officer happens again. Other supporters of the campaign include the Alameda County Green Party and the Dignity and Resistance coalition.

Members of these groups will join the Bluefords and other Bay Area families of police brutality victims in a march against racial profiling on Saturday, November 10, gathering for a rally at 12 noon at 14th and Broadway followed by a march through West Oakland.

SEIU 1021 endorses the Justice 4 Alan Blueford campaign on the November 10 march: https://justice4alanblueford.org/2012/11/05/seiu-1021-resolution-in-support-of-justice-4-alan-blueford/

ILWU Local 10 letter to Judge Thelton Henderson demanding Justice 4 Alan Blueford: https://justice4alanblueford.org/2012/10/25/ilwu-local-10-calls-for-justice-4-alan-blueford/

Dignity and Resistance resolution in support of the November 10 march: https://justice4alanblueford.org/2012/11/03/dignity-and-resistance-coalition-endorses-nov-10-march/

SEIU 1021 resolution in support of Justice 4 Alan Blueford

Whereas a Black person is killed by law enforcement once every 36 hours, per the Malcolm X Grass Roots Movement’s study;

Whereas the federal report monitoring the Oakland Police Department states that the Oakland Police Department pulls guns on Black and Latino people disproportionately to the number of times guns are pulled on whites;

Whereas two new reports by a federal monitor, criticized the OPD’s handling of officer-involved shootings and Occupy Oakland protests;

Whereas Alan Blueford, an 18 year old Black youth, who was about to graduate from Skyline H.S., was killed by OPD Officer Masso on May 6.

Whereas OPD has provided at least four versions of what happened the night Alan Blueford was killed, including the claim that the Officer Masso was shot in a gun battle with Alan Blueford, when he later admitted that he shot himself in the foot;

Whereas the OPD:
A. Engaged in racial profiling and violated numerous OPD policies;
B. Engaged in a cover-up (Made numerous false statements and repeatedly changed their story);
C. Showed complete disregard for the life of Alan Blueford and the dignity of the family;
D. Had the coroner’s report withheld from the family for 3 months, and the police report for 5 months;

Whereas, the Coroner’s Report reveals that Alan Blueford had no gun residue on his hands, no alcohol or drugs in his system, and implies that Alan Blueford was shot while lying on his back;

Whereas Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley declared she will not charge Officer Masso for the killing of Alan Blueford. Her report shows strong bias as, for example, relying on Masso’s statement that Alan was standing when he first shot him, despite 11 out of 12 witness statements to the contrary;

Therefore, be it resolved that SEIU Local 1021 and its Social and Economic Subcommittee pass a resolution seeking Justice For Alan Blueford and demand that the Federal Monitor take strong action against OPD including:

1. Stopping the OPD from racial and ethnic profiling and violence against people of color;
2. Instituting stricter background checks, training, apprehension and gun use policies within the
OPD;
3. The firing of Officer Masso;

Further be it resolved that SEIU Local 1021 Social and its Social and Economic Justice Committee demand that the Alameda County District Attorney immediately charge Officer Masso with murder.

Further be it resolved that SEIU Local 1021 and its Social and Economic Justice Committee call on its members to support and attend the Bay Area Families March Against Police Brutality, initiated by the Justice for Alan Blueford Coalition. It will be held on November 10 at 12 noon, starting at 14 th and Broadway in downtown Oakland.

Finally be it resolved that the SEIU Local 1021 and its Social and Economic Justice Committee endorse the attached letter and send it to the Alameda Labor Council and other local unions for endorsement.

Signed by SEIU Officers

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Blueford family meets with Mumia Abu-Jamal

Mumia speaks on Alan Blueford:


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From Oakland to NYC, family members, activists assail police brutality

by Monica Moorehead

Originally published at Workers.org

New York — “I am the proud father of Alan Blueford, murdered by the Oakland police,” stated Adam Blueford. His spouse, Jera­lynn Blueford, added, “Alan’s murder was arbitrary, unnecessary and racist. It’s sad to say but he was shot down because of the color of his skin. They profiled him by saying he looked suspicious.”

These gut-wrenching, heartfelt words were spoken at a powerful, moving public forum held here Oct. 27 on “Fight All Police Terror: Solidarity with the Victims and their Families,” sponsored by Workers World Party.

The Bluefords had traveled from Oakland, Calif., to speak at forums in New York and Philadelphia on behalf of their 18-year-old beloved son, Alan Blueford, who was fatally shot on May 6 by police officer Miguel Masso. The parents are leaders of the Justice for Alan Blueford Campaign in the Bay Area. The campaign has held numerous demonstrations, including disruptions of Oakland City Council hearings.

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