Before Us the Open Grave: Responses to Bay Area Police Brutality and the Defense of Black Life

Black families in the San Francisco Bay Area are no strangers to grief. Before the nation turned its eye to Oakland in the wake of the Oscar Grant riots in 2009, there were others. And there are still more now. According to a court-appointed monitoring team, police shootings are so flagrantly mishandled that District Court Judge Thelton Henderson has moved the Oakland police department “one step closer” to federal receivership, as reported recently by Colorlines.

We Are Not Here For Ourselves: Alan Blueford, Protocol, and Black Life

How could I entertain thoughts of transformative justice for the police first, when they are accountable to no one? An institution that shoots a teenager, leaves him under a street lamp to die, does not call his family, ignores them when they do show up, and then releases a statement that the officer, who shot himself in his own foot, followed “protocol”? It remains difficult to reconcile.