Thursday 24 May
People gathered Wednesday outside the Alameda County District Attorney’s office yesterday to speak out against criminal acts being perpetrated against the people of Oakland by the Oakland Police Department, then on to Acts Full Gospel Church for what was planned as a town hall style meeting in which the police chief Coward Jordan and mayor Jean Quan were to address the family of recent OPD shooting victim Alan Blueford. People attended in support of the Blueford family, believing we would hear details of the incident which led to an officer killing their son in the street and leaving him lie there for hours while his family searched for the truth.
Since that terrible 6 May, several tales have surfaced regarding Alan’s death, each more bizarre than the previous, and altogether shining new light on the machinations of OPD when they focus on covering up the truth instead of sharing it with the public, and especially with the family of the deceased, as they are legally bound to do. The first story to surface, as reported by CBS 5 claimed that police had informed the reporter that there was a shootout, that young Alan had actually fired a handgun, shooting the officer (revealed not by OPD, but found out by citizen investigators to almost certainly be officer Miguel Masso, of Los Banos, which is 100 miles away). From the article :
The suspect shot at the officer, who was hit. The officer returned fire and wounded the suspect.
It was later revealed that the officer shot himself in the leg. At this point there is no real evidence that Alan Blueford ever fired a weapon in his short life.
During Wednesday’s gathering at the Alameda Courthouse plaza, a young man from north Oakland by the name of Christopher Moreland spoke about needing to come up with new tactics to force the system to change. He spoke to the issue of police refusing to release the name of the shooter in the case of Alan Blueford’s death.
If we want change, we gotta start doin’ it more physically… bein’ in front of a place and tellin’ ‘em we’re not leavin’ until we get answers.
He went on to say :
So, I’m just letting everybody know that these people don’t care about us. These court systems, these district attorneys, these officers. They don’t care. If any of them cared you would see probably one or two of them out here. You don’t see nobody out here. Nobody from Alameda County system, nobody from the Oakland system, nobody out here. They don’t care. So we gotta start comin’ together and getting justice and not just demanding it. We need to get our justice.
The Blueford Family did not attend the rally at the courthouse, as they were suffering a renewed surge of devastating grief, having tried to pack up their son’s room that morning.
Many spoke on their behalf, and on behalf of all victims of OPD violence.
By six o’clock, people were filling the room at Acts Full Gospel Church in east Oakland. It became clear immediately that there would be no respect shown to those present, as we were told we would not be able to ask questions directly, but would have to write them on a card and let someone else read them. When I asked why, I was informed the reason was because there wouldn’t be enough time. Of course it doesn’t take more time for someone else to read questions than for people to ask them directly. We knew right away that they would attempt to filter the questions. One person’s written account of this :
One very telling control component of the meeting was that questions would not be fielded directly from attendees. Note cards and pencils were provided, questions would only be answered if they were written down. This type of process can easily censor which questions will be presented and in the end, only 7-10 out of the 100 questions submitted were answered before Chief Jordan declared the meeting over.
Not only did the police chief abruptly end the meeting after only thirty minutes, he did so after adding more apparent lies to the lies we had already heard. The most egregious of these was a new claim about the weapon allegedly found at the scene. Reports had surfaced that there was a handgun found thirty feet away from the victim, Alan Blueford, after he was shot dead. During his presentation, Oakland police Chief Coward Jordan said the weapon was found five feet from the victim. One of the photos in the slideshow on this page shows that his notes were corrected from calling Alan ‘suspect’ to calling him ‘Mr. Blueford.’ Indeed, there never was a clear reason offered as to why police even contacted these young men.
The CBS 5 article from the day of the shooting also stated that Alan was brought to and pronounced dead at Highland Hospital, though subsequent stories revealed that he was never brought to Highland, but left lying where he was slain, bleeding out without medical care, for four hours. During the staged presentation, Jordan again claimed that he was brought to and pronounced dead at the hospital.
It should be noted that in what has become a regular show of disrespect to the people of Oakland, and in an especially egregious show of disrespect to the Blueford family, mayor Jean Quan failed to appear at the planned event.
Power of the People
Emotion took over in that room on Wednesday, as many shouted out questions, wanting to hear the truth about the identity of the shooter, and an explanation of the reason for the shooting, as well as the reason for the cover up. People were asking why those who lied about this incident have not been fired, and why the shooter (who had originally claimed the victim shot him) was on paid leave instead of newly unemployed and incarcerated. At one point, and then for the duration of Coward Jordan’s speech, half the attendees stood with fists in the air and backs to the chief, in a show of solid contempt and disrespect for this man who has done so much damage to so many people in Oakland.
The abrupt ending to this fiasco was anything but calm. On his way out of the building, Coward Jordan was flanked by quite a few uniformed and probably as many plainclothes officers acting as personal bodyguards. They laid hands on several people, including this reporter, in their effort to intimidate and insult those of us attempting to document this quick escape. People had begun an impromptu rally in the driveway outside the church, as Jordan was verbally hounded the whole way to his car. Officers threatened those of us nearby with a citation if we blocked his car. At least four police cruisers, each full of officers, had to back out of the driveway, as protestors blocked the forward path.
Another Tactical Abduction by OPD
Christopher Moreland is a hardworking member of the Tactical Action Committee of Occupy Oakland, and is a vocal supporter of anyone battling injustice. But his work doesn’t stop at vocal. This young man helps people, teaches people, and takes time to learn from his elders. He puts his body on the line for the cause of justice. He recently was laid off from a good job with the UC schools, and spends much of his time out in the streets, working for the good of all.
The Oakland Police Department has kidnapped Chris on trumped up charges several times since the Oakland Commune at Oscar Grant Plaza was violently raided by OPD on 25 October 2011. Chris is one of many who have been given stay away orders to prevent them from gathering at Oscar Grant Plaza. The National Lawyer’s Guild and ACLU are filing against the District Attorney’s office for these stay aways, as they are and infringement on our rights.
On Wednesday evening Chris was using his megaphone well, calling out the police for their brutality, for their lies and disrespect. He led several chants, as did quite a few others. This is a young black man who has, in what seems to folks in Oakland practically a miracle, made it toward his mid twenties without being shot by police.
As people filtered out of the driveway and parking lot at the church, Chris took a ride with a friend with whom he had made the banner demanding Justice for Alan Blueford. He walked with her and a couple of others toward the Coliseum BART station to where her truck was parked, to take the gift of a ride. As they came within 150′ of her truck, they were swarmed by police operating in a familiar ‘snatch and grab’ fashion. From one witness :
On our walk back to the Colliseum Bart station I watched at least two patrol cars monitor our status. One car only had one officer in it, at the time I thought that was strange, but I now know that tactic was intentional, they did not want to tip us off to what was about to happen. We arrived at the Bart station and I saw two patrol cars each carrying 4-5 officers. They were on the inner ring of the Bart parking lot and within about 2 min. were on the outer curb where Sgt. Beere instructed the men to arrest Chris. I’m not sure what the other officers were aware of prior to this abduction, because many of them seemed to appear uneasy, slightly inhibited and it forced Sgt. Beere to repeatedly yell at the officers to move faster.
Note: There was plenty of time and space to arrest Chris at the Church if any of the allegations were actually true. The Police waited until Chris was out of Church view, public view, surveilled his whereabouts and launched an illegal abduction. That way, when they talk to the media, they can say whatever it is that they want to justify their actions. The arrest was an act of revenge, their personal pay-back to a young man they despise for not cowering in front of their “authority.”
After being questioned by witnesses repeatedly, police finally answered that they were arresting Chris for ‘assault on an officer.’ The current official charges are PC 243(B) M, which is battery on an officer;PC 245(A)(1) F, FORCE/ADW NOT FIREARM:GBI; and PC 69 M, which is ‘Every person who attempts, by means of any threat or violence, to deter or prevent an executive officer from performing any duty imposed upon such officer by law, or who knowingly resists, by the
use of force or violence…’
Christoper Moreland is being held at Santa Rita facility in Dublin, and is scheduled for arraignment at 2pm Friday 25 May, in department 112 of WILEY W. MANUEL COURTHOUSE. Your presence is requested.
A march and rally in support of Chris is being planned for Friday evening, meeting at the small park at 19th & Telegraph in Oakland.
Saturday Morning Update :::
On Friday, The Alameda District Attorney failed to actually file the charges claimed by the arresting officers, and instead attempted to hold Christoper Moreland through the long weekend on a charge of disturbing the peace, which she called a probation violation. Mr. Moreland’s attorney spoke well to his value and ties to his community, and clarified to the court that everyone was disturbing the peace, as it was a protest where this alleged disturbance had occurred. When the judge issued a $2500 bail (in stark contrast to the original $105,000), the district attorney almost popped a gasket trying to make excuses why Chris Moreland should be detained. Her whole argument (in the middle of which she experienced a Jan Brewer moment, pausing unable to speak,seemingly to determine the content of her next lie) relied on the charges the police had claimed, which she had not been able to substantiate enough to even file.
At this time Chris is out on $2500 bail, having finally been released at 7am this morning. This was another case of the system keeping someone locked up fifteen hours after a court release.
During last night’s special FREE CHRIS FTP march, at least one and possibly two people were snatched up by OPD for allegedly breaking a window. The kidnap victims are not yet identified. There is suspicion that OPD may have staged this arrest to provoke a reaction from protestors. As usual, protestors did not react illegally, but did respond with increased vocal opposition to the biggest gang in town : OPD.