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BART Station Reopens Following Police Protests

BART Station Reopens Following Police Protests

Demonstrators clash with police during street protests in reaction to the conviction of Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer Johannes Mehserle in Oakland, Calif. , Friday, Nov. 5, 2010. Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the fatal sho

The Oakland Tribune

November 12, 2010

OAKLAND — Men, women, children. Black, white, Asian and Latino. All stood together Thursday afternoon to decry the shooting of Derrick Jones, a barber killed by police Monday night.

“They don’t know what kind of person they killed,” his brother, Frank Jones, said as people began gathering for the rally. He stood outside Derrick Jones’ barbershop, Kwik Cuts, on Bancroft Avenue. “It just doesn’t make sense,” said Frank Jones, who is an Oakland city employee.

Oakland police had been sent to the barber shop on a domestic violence call. Police said officers shot Jones after chasing him from the barbershop because he reached for his waistband, prompting them to think he was reaching for a weapon.

Jones was unarmed.

“People can talk about making a mistake, but at the end of the day Derrick is not coming home. A son is gone,” said Ammar Saheli, Jones’ brother-in-law and pastor of the West Oakland Church of Christ.

The family said Jones was well-known in the East Oakland neighborhood. He grew up on 79th Avenue and had been cutting hair since he was 17. He had become a father two years ago. His father, also named Frank Jones, worked for Oakland for 34 years until retiring several years ago.

The family said they won a harassment case against the Oakland Police Department in the 1980s that resulted in the firing of two officers. Police had accused Derrick Jones of stealing a motor-scooter that his father had given him, the family said.

“It seems like ever since then we have been targeted,” said the younger Frank Jones.

The death immediately prompted comparisons to the killing of Oscar Grant III, who was unarmed when former BART Officer Johannes Mehserle shot him in the back at the Fruitvale BART station. The crowd, flanked by police, marched to the station, where the rally continued.

“Oscar Grant, D. Jones. We won’t let them kill our own!” the crowd chanted.

“Oakland is a different place now,” said Ben Lynch of the By Any Means Necessary organization, which organized the rally. “We’re going to fight against every incident of police brutality in Oakland by organizing community power.”

Law enforcement agencies including the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office were on standby to assist Oakland police. BART police stood guard at the entrance of the station, which was shut down for about an hour.

Grant’s uncle, Cephus Johnson, addressed the rally and called the two-year prison sentence given Mehserle “a license” for police to kill African-American men. “The whole system is criminal,” he said, and called on the crowd to change it. “We need to put a stop to this.”

The rally ended without incident at 6 p.m. Jones’ family and friends repeatedly cautioned the crowd to remain calm and avoid violence and vandalism, although some stores and restaurants in the Fruitvale Plaza still closed down when the crowd approached the station.

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