Your voice is making a real difference in the Oscar Grant case.1
Last week, ColorOfChange members here in the Bay Area confronted the Alameda County District Attorney with stacks of more than 20,000 petitions demanding that he explain why he hasn’t arrested Tony Pirone, the officer who punched Grant in the face moments before the murder. Most of the local media covered our event, shining a spotlight on the DA and feeding a public conversation about his handling of the case.2,3
This was just the latest push for justice in the Oscar Grant case by ColorOfChange members:
* In January, almost 25,000 of you called on California Attorney General Jerry Brown and the US Department of Justice to get involved when it seemed the District Attorney had no plans to arrest Grant’s killer, Johannes Mehserle. When the DA finally arrested Mehserle, he admitted that public pressure was a factor.
* After Mehserle’s arrest, about 15,000 of you signed a pledge to stay vigilant throughout the case and to work to improve accountability and transparency for police in California and nationwide.
Next, we plan to ask Attorney General Jerry Brown to explain why he removed the observer he’d placed in the District Attorney’s office4, given that Orloff still appears to be asleep at the wheel.5
Thanks for staying involved. Together, we’re holding law enforcement officials accountable and sending a strong message that the public won’t stand for anything less than a thorough, aggressive prosecution of police abuses. If we want to see justice for Oscar Grant and his family, we’ll need to keep it up, because this fight is far from over.
Thanks and Peace,
— James, Gabriel, Clarissa, William, Dani and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
February 18th, 2009
1. “Justice for Oscar Grant? It’s up to Jerry Brown” Huffington Post, 1-13-09
2. “Thousands sign petition to file charges against second cop in BART shooting, KTVU-TV, 2-10-09
3. “Activists want more BART officers charged,” KGO-TV, 2-10-09
4. “Brown pushes D.A. to act swiftly in BART case,” San Francisco Chronicle, 1-11-09
5. “It’s time to confront District Attorney Tom Orloff on his handling of the Oscar Grant case,” firedoglake, 2-09-09