Sickened by the seemingly nonstop police killings of black Americans, many Bay Area residents appear ready to assemble in Oakland tonight to rally for justice and an end to police violence. The most recent impetus: The shootings of Philando Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Louisiana, brutal events both captured, in part, on video shared widely yesterday and today.
A Facebook event — SHUT It DOWN Rally & Action (Sponsored by Live Free & Anti Police-Terror Project) — is quickly gaining traction, and talk of the rally is also bubbling up on Twitter. The rally appears planned for 7 p.m. at 1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, or as it's identified on the event page, Oscar Grant Plaza, the unofficial name it took on during Occupy days memorializing the man shot and killed by a BART police officer as he lay face down at Oakland's Fruitvale Station on New Years' Eve, 2009.
"For #AltonSterling and #PhilandoCastile, and for all the women trafficked and exploited by the rapists and murderers in Oakland Police Department and across the Bay Area," the event description reads. "For all who are displaced from their neighborhoods and robbed of opportunity. We march. We act. We Shut It Down."
The reference to Oakland's Police Department and the trafficking and exploitation of women is in regard to the ongoing department scandal that also involves SFPD officers. Many officers allegedly had sex with an underage sex worker, an act that would of course constitute rape, possibly in exchange for information and preferential treatment of the girl, who is now of age and has come forward to local media.
Today, President Obama gave his voice to feelings shared by many Americans. "These fatal shootings are not isolated incidents," he said. "They are symptomatic of the broader challenges within our criminal justice system, the racial disparities that appear across the system year after year, and the resulting lack of trust that exists between law enforcement and too many of the communities they serve."