As word spread that no charges would be filed against Darren Wilson, the Ferguson cop who murdered Mike Brown, protests erupted throughout the Bay Area.
In Oakland, a rally began to gather at 5 p.m. with Cadine Williams addressing the crowd. Cadine’s brother, O’Shaine Evans, a 26-year-old aspiring boxer from Jamaica, was killed by San Francisco cop David Goff on Oct. 7.
It was outside AT & T stadium as the Giants were playing a playoff game that officer David Goff and other cops started watching Evans as he drove a car containing two other passengers on the evening of Oct. 7. The police claim that they saw the two passengers exit the parked vehicle that Evans had been driving, break into a Mercedes SUV, and remove a laptop before returning to the car. Goff, wearing civilian clothes over his uniform, charged the car and pointed a gun at Evans. Goff first claimed that he saw a gun in Evans’ lap, ordered him to raise his arms, and when he wouldn’t, fired multiple shots, killing O’Shaine Evans and injuring the passenger in the back seat.
The passenger in the front seat exited the car and ran as soon as Goff accosted them. He was tackled by other cops and later charged with Evans’ homicide by way of a law that allows the police to charge any one with murder who is suspected of participating in an alleged crime during which the police kill a suspect, thereby giving the cops free reign to kill anyone for any alleged offense and then blame the victims.
Goff later changed his story, saying that Evans had pointed the gun at him before Goff fired. This would seem like a very strange decision on Evans’ part. First of all, if Goff was already pointing a gun at Evans, it would be a very self-destructive decision for Evans to then point his gun at Goff, even if Evans’s gun had been loaded. But even the police claim that the gun Evans supposedly had on him was unloaded. What advantage could Evans imagine he was creating for himself by pointing an unloaded gun at an armed cop?
While speaking to the protesters on Nov. 24, Cadine Williams drew comparisons between the tragedies suffered by her family and that of Mike Brown. By 6 o’clock, several hundred protesters were in the streets, marching through Oakland demanding justice for Mike Brown. The crowd, which would swell to 2,000 before the night’s end, started heading towards a freeway on-ramp in order to take their peaceful march to the highway chanting, “Who’s streets? Our streets!”
Several lines of riot police blocked the on-ramp, but protesters simply walked around the cops by way of a parking lot that had access to a path towards the highway. The highway was occupied for nearly an hour. Rather than expressing anger at the protesters, drivers honked and raised fists in approval. Some got out of their cars to applaud the action. Police finally declared an unlawful assembly and most of the protesters left the freeway. However, the cops brutalized and arrested several protesters.
Meanwhile, Cadine promoted an action planned for Dec. 7 to protesters in the streets. The action, at Oscar Grant Plaza in Oakland, will demand an independent inquiry into O’Shayne Evans’ killing.
The OPD later tried to attack the marchers by driving straight at them when the huge congregation of protesters were heading up a relatively narrow street. However, the people stood down the cop cars with their militancy. After a brief celebration of the victory, an Occupy-style General Assembly was held and the marchers decided to head to the city jail, where their fellow protesters were imprisoned. Several lines of cops surrounded the blocks around the jail, and despite peaceful pleas to “Let us march!” the cops responded only with tear gas and brutality.
In San Francisco, the ANSWER Coalition organized a speak-out in the dramatically gentrifying Mission District. Several speakers noted how they were being priced out of the neighborhood in which they had lived their whole lives. They drew connections between the death of Mike Brown and Alex Nieto, killed by the SFPD on March 21 of this year as he ate a burrito in a park in Bernal Heights, the neighborhood where Nieto grew up, which is also undergoing rapid gentrification.
A young, white professional started screaming at the demonstrators to quiet down, complaining that he was being forced to hear the voices of the people in his nearby apartment. When the protesters answered him by telling him he had no right to tell people of color not to protest against racist police murder in a traditionally Latino neighborhood, he told the crowd that they were right, and he apologized.
There are ongoing actions demanding justice for victims of police murder throughout the Bay Area. This struggle will not end until there is justice!