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Eye Witness Account Of Oscar Grant Protest Disputes Media Portrayal

November 10, 2010 Front Page No Comments

Photo by Jay Finneburgh

Originally posted at thewellversed.com

Only a few days after the November 5 sentencing of BART Officer Johannes Mehserle, an eyewitness of the Oscar Grant protests has come forward, offering a different point of view from major media outlets.

Sociopolitical writer and activist Joseph Anderson, along with photographer Jay Finneburgh were at the scene Friday night during the Justice for Oscar Grant demonstration in Oakland, documenting the evening’s events.

“I saw very young black females, plus-or-minus 20-something, no more than 4’8″ height, no more than 95 lbs, just peacefully sitting on a less than a knee-high sidewalk wall in their own neighborhood, trapped and being led off in handcuffs by aggressive, 200lbs+, riot cops,” Anderson wrote.

Oakland police made more than 150 arrests during Friday’s protest, while being praised in the news for controlling a so-called riot.

However, according to Anderson, not only were a number of the arrests unjustified, but the media has not depicted the events accurately. “If you pay more attention, the pro-police spin of local media coverage doesn’t hold up,” said Anderson. “At least two mainstream news reporters at the scene at 6th Avenue & East 17th Street in East Oakland admitted that there was NO ‘widespread violence,’ if hardly any, and NO bottles or rocks thrown at the police — except for ‘one or two storefront windows broken’ and ‘one AC Transit bus window broken’,” he said.

Finneburgh captured images from the demonstration, which reflected nonviolent protesters who were outnumbered by the thousands of police officers present. The photographs offered a contrasting portrayal to what was reported in the news.

In an article from CBS News, an officer told reporters that one cop had his gun taken from him by a protester and a car had hit another officer. CBS also reported that a number of protesters had broken windows and fences, and items such as hammers, pepper spray, switchblades and antifreeze were confiscated from several of the people who had been arrested.

“This is the same old pro-police and corporate TV news establishment propaganda. It’s all part of the daily establishment narrative that mainstream media strings out every day to keep work-a-day and couch-potato Americans fearful, docile, and accepting whatever the U.S. government and police want to do,” Anderson said.

In the shooting death of unarmed Grant, Mehserle was acquitted on second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter and was convicted on charges of involuntary manslaughter. He was sentenced to two years in state prison with 292 days of credit for time served. Mehserle could be released from custody in as little as seven months.

To read the entire text from Anderson’s “Same-Old-Same-Old from the Corporate Media: the Oakland Justice for Oscar Grant Protests” and view photographs captured by Finneburgh click here.

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