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Friday
Jan092009

My brother was killed in the BART Shooting...

I realize that a lot of people thought of "Simpson" when I say the name Bart. And when I mentioned Oakland, people wrote about MC Hammer and the Raiders. But today, my heart is broken as I read and watch videos about the young black man who was "executed" on the platform of the BART train in Oakland, California on New Years Eve.

Apparently, police were called due to a fight on the train, so they held it in the station. Several officers stepped in and started handcuffing individuals. All of the guys that were fighting were handcuffed except for one. Oscar Grant, 22, was forced to lay on the ground with one officer on his back and one by his neck. He fidgeted a bit but not in a way that would seem overly aggressive. An officer reached for what was thought to be handcuffs, but instead pulled out his gun and shot the man, fatally wounding him.

So how do we know all of this in such detail? God bless (and curse) technology because it was all captured on camera phone by a number of people in the station. Imagine witnessing the shooting of a young man, maybe not innocent but sentenced to death without trial. My brother, our brother, Oscar Grant is dead. Even as I write this tears come to my eyes. The officer resigns before he can be questioned by the police department. This happens a week before change is sworn into office and into this country. A week before the birth of the one of the greatest civil rights leaders in history. And to see a city so filled with unrest and hate that it has to destroy itself just to be heard.

As I watch CNN feature stories on Gaza and on Obama's addiction to his Blackberry without a word of this tragic story, my heart is truly broken. It seems as if police brutality and violence in inner cities has grown as popular as Obama/Biden pins. I hoped that an election that showed how powerful our unified voice can be would have discouraged such acts of coldness and heartlessness in America. Really? Has change really come to America?

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