Some one hundred people gathered in front of the Marriott Hotel’s Oakland Convention Center for the start of Facing Urban’s Shield’s press conference at 11:20 AM Friday, October 25th. One by one the speakers denounced the activites going on in the Marriott – the glorification of the warrior cop known as Urban Shield.
Seven or eight people spoke, including Scott Olsen, “Uncle Bobby,” Oscar grant’s uncle Cephus Johnson, and Dionne Smith, mother of James Rivera, a 16 year old murdered by Stockon Police in 2012. Many made reference to the October 22nd, 2013 murder of Andy Lopez, age 13, in Santa Rita, CA, gunned down by a Solano County Sheriff’s Deputy, who then fired five more bullets into the prone child, killing him. Yet another example of the militarization in body, mind and spirit of the police.
Prior to the press conference, Thorn Coyle from the Interfaith Tent, with Past Preston and others, read aloud the names of scores of Californian’s lost to police violence over these last years including Alan Blueford, Kenneth Harding, Kelly Thomas, Jared Huey, and Gary King.
The event was graced by massive police presence, as this video documents.
Their presence was not, however, without artistic merit: