April 18, 2014

Right before the storm: An intimate look at Oscar Grant’s family (Reflection)

Right before the storm: An intimate look at Oscar Grant’s family (Reflection)

Family Tribute to Oscar Grant

Oscar Grant Pictures
Right before the storm: An intimate look at Oscar Grant’s family (Reflection) By Cecil Brown

It was 10 a.m. last week when I left Berkeley for Hayward to meet Oscar Grant’s family. Cephus Johnson, Oscar’s uncle, had invited me to his mother’s house where I could observe the Channel 2 TV crew that was making a show about the family.

As I hit the freeway, I reviewed my hypothesis. There was something about the trial that I could never figure out. On the night of Jan. 1, 2009, why had the Bart police acted so sadistic and brutally when the cause was only an argument between a bunch of inebriated celebrants?

That night, as the train arrived and left the Fruitvale station, 10 or more witnesses gave testimony to the court that they who could not believe their eyes. One of them, Alika Rogers, who was on the train near the window, saw him – “a military sergeant, like a crew cut, big, drill sergeant kind of guy” – get on the train, yelling, “Get off the train, Motherf—–!” She saw him “grab a gentleman with dreadlocks by the neck and push him towards the concrete wall.”

Horrified passengers could not believe the way the police were yelling at the black men. What must have happened? What could have trigger than amount of rage?

Reading through the court documents, I was struck by the unanimity of witnesses’ report: Everybody was shocked at the language, at the blows that the policemen gave the black men, at the sadistic commands like in a movie about Nazi storm troopers.

What about the rumor that the black men were singing a Little Wayne (the popular hip-hop artist), song, “Mrs. Officer.” Did this cause Pirone to see red? How could these young men know that the Pirone (allegedly) was having a sexual relationship with Officer Marisol Domenico? Read more….

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