March 26th Statement to the BART Board

On behalf of the No Justice No BART campaign, we are letting you know that we have postponed our action this afternoon. In light of the Lovelle Mixon situation, we urge you to also demobilize your police force. There will be no demonstration this evening at 4pm. While we may not support their actions, police officers are human beings, and in times like these ought to be spending their free time with friends and family, not being called in to do overtime duty at a protest.

Now we'd like to say a bit about Lovelle Mixon as relates to Oscar Grant.

What Lovelle did was egregious. The response from broader society was proportionate. Oscar Grant's murder was also egregious, and it was caught on tape and the response was vilification of the obvious victim.

When Oscar died the Governor never interrupted his schedule to fly into town. Obama didn't call the mayor. Jerry Brown and Ron Dellums were uninterested, in fact, at least until the people mobilized and took to the streets to get justice.

Oscar Grant, the victim of a most egregious act of violence was treated almost the same as lovelle mixon, the focus being what drugs he had in his system (on New Years Eve!) and what wrong he had done in the past, basically anything to make the story different than what it really was, anything to assure that the death of a black man at the hands of a cop was just business as usual, nothing to get excited about….

The contrast is glaring, and it says a lot about the status quo of the society we live in. Whose lives are valued? Whose lives aren't valued? Think about it, because you and your employees are a big part of that, your actions and statements convey a strong message to society at large.


Lovelle's actions inspire fear. When a person is confronted with anger, fear is a perfectly reasonable INITIAL response. But realize also, that it is moral cowardice to respond to PERSISTENT anger with PERSISTENT fear. At some point, a rational person has to find it in themselves to ask, "Why is this opponent so consistently angry at me?" "What can I do about it?".

And so what about you? How has the Board responded, when confronted with anger? Its apparent that you are terrified of the rebellions of January 7th and 14th. And you're afraid of the next rebellion. Lovelle Mixon, certainly, inspires fear on a an entirely higher level.

We hold out hope, that at some point, hopefully not too late, you will develop a similar fear of police murder. That you will develop a fear of the lies, cover-ups, stonewalling and wagon circling that enables police violence. That you will develop a fear of corrupt, brutal, and rogue cops. Of incompetent police chiefs and failures of leadership. Of the liability that BART officers create for you on a daily basis.

Lovelle Mixon responded disproportionately to what is being called a "routine traffic stop", which is, in East Oakland, under the circumstances, often a case of routine police harassment. On new years day, BART police disproportionately escalated, what is, unfortunately, a case of routine harassment. And we hold out hope that at some point, public officials are going to stop dealing with the symptoms, and start dealing with the disease? The disease here is persistent police harassment, brutality, and violence. Its not good for society, its not good for anyone, including the police.

We have committed to coming to your meetings, regardless of whether you want to hear us. We are here to do our best to help you and the public understand just how badly BART is failing. Out there, folks are biding their time, waiting and watching. In my opinion, people are pretty patient, but they won't wait forever. The longer you wait to take action, the more pissed people get, and the more things creep in a direction that no-one wants.