Revolutionary Feminists Demand Justice for Oscar Grant

Radical Women and the Freedom Socialist Party condemn the murder of Oscar Grant, a young black man and father from Hayward, California, by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle. He shot Grant in the back as he lay face down on the Fruitvale BART platform in the early morning hours of New Year's Day 2009. Grant was unarmed.

After brief deliberations, the all-white jury returned a verdict of involuntary manslaughter against Mehserle in July 2010 in Los Angeles Superior Court—in essence whitewashing Grant's execution-style killing. We call for the maximum sentence to be imposed on Mehserle for this murder.

This trial and verdict make a mockery of the so-called justice system. Not only are Grant and his family and friends denied their day in court, but anyone who fights racist, sexist, homophobic and anti-immigrant violence at the hands of police are denied justice as well.

The brutal and too-often deadly targeting of black, brown, indigenous and other people of color, women, gays and the disabled by the police must stop. We won't forget the police killings nationwide of Manuel Jamines, Devin Brown, Eula Love, Eleanor Bumpers, Amadou Diallou, Kuanchung Kao, Idriss Stelley, Cammerin Boyd, Sean Bell, Anita Gay and many others that were either the "wrong" color, immigration status, sexuality, age or they were disabled.

Police violence has devastating and enduring effects. It puts tremendous pressure on elders and women who must struggle to support their families in the wake of such violence. Women, particularly women of color, have always born a heavy load of work, family and community responsibilities—all of which are intensified by the killing of their loved ones and children by the police. These broader social effects must be recognized and addressed when discussing the fall-out of police killings and redress.

We live in harsh economic times. Bosses and bankers get bailed out while youth of color get locked up and scapegoated, their lives made miserable by the lack of social services, education and jobs. Too often they end up on the streets and are targeted or jailed by cops.

Any of us could have been in Oscar Grant's shoes that New Year's Day. We too could become the next young worker who never will get to see his or her children grow up.

That is why this city needs an elected, community-controlled police review board, independent of the police. This review board should have the full power to conduct its own investigations and subpoena witnesses and have the services of an independent special prosecutor at its disposal. The police are the armed agents of the state and support the interests and status quo of the propertied and privileged class. Funds that support militarization and police repression must be redirected into sustainable employment, public education and social services.

We realize that the whole profit system, and the judicial and police structures that support it, needs to be replaced by a system in which working and poor people have the power. Right now the police enforce a racist system that holds those who lack resources in contempt. While we fight for a different kind of society, we must at the same time fight to end police impunity and rampant police violence against civilians.

Let's work together in united fronts to stop police violence by building for a society that will no longer spit on the young, the old, people of color, the poor and those of different sexuality or ability. That society must be socialist and feminist. Why? Because that is the only way to meet the human needs of those at the bottom, and end the need for scapegoating and exploitation.

•     Stop police brutality especially against people of color! Jail killer cops!
•     For a maximum sentence for Oscar Grant's killer!
•     For a civilian police review board controlled by the community and
•     End the wars and repression!
•     Tax the rich to fund public education, social services and job training!

Radical Women and Freedom Socialist Party
625 Larkin Street #202
San Francisco, CA 94109
Phone: 415-864-1278 – –