On May 4, 2012, veteran Uhuru Movement leader Bakari Olatunji was assaulted, handcuffed and arrested by cops from the notorious Oakland Police Department (OPD) in an unprovoked attack.
Police singled out and attacked Bakari while the local branch of the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) attempted to serve a people's subpoena to Oakland's Police Chief, Howard Jordan.
InPDUM Oakland had just held a press conference outside police headquarters announcing the Court for Black Justice and Reparations set to be held the next day at Oakland’s long established Uhuru House on MacArthur Blvd—a court that had charged the Oakland Police Department with violence, brutality and murder as a matter of practice in Oakland's African community.
After the press conference, police attempted to block InPDUM organizers from going inside to a so-called “police-community relations” meeting, although other people were allowed to go in and out.
The OPD clearly didn’t want anybody in the meeting who would challenge the terroristic actions of Oakland police who are currently under threat of coming under federal control because of its violence against the African community.
After being challenged in front of ruling class and independent media, police had no choice but to let organizers into the meeting, but once inside, several InPDUM members were attacked and forced out of the building.
Then once outside the building, Oakland cops singled out Bakari Olatunji, attacked him, put him in handcuffs and dragged him away.
Oakland police have a vendetta against Bakari Olatunji
He was arrested for his activity of attempting to bring revolutionary political consciousness and the will to resist to the ordinary African.
Comrade Bakari Olatunji was teaching what he had been teaching as a member of the Uhuru Movement for the past 25 years: that black people must control the armed police in our community.
By Bakari being a veteran of the Uhuru Movement since the mid-1980's, he has participated and led many struggles against Oakland police terror and murder, against the terrible housing situation and homelessness, in addition to being the primary worker in the initial organizing of the Bobby Hutton Free Medical Clinic, a converted mobile trailer home which served thousands in Oakland and surrounding areas.
Bakari was a leader in the struggle to Free Freddie Lee Roberts, a 21-year-old African who had been accused of killing a white Oakland cop. It was a struggle that lasted for years, and as a result put the OPD in check for some years.
More significantly, Bakari Olatunji was the leader of the mass movement that came out in the streets of Oakland to defend Lovelle Mixon's honor, actions and heroism, after he had killed four white cops who were trying to kill him. Police then assassinated the young African warrior.
Unlike Oscar Grant who died without resisting and the entire so-called left in the Oakland/San Francisco Bay area, Bakari, the Uhuru Movement and the people are the only ones who stood with Mixon and his actions.
The police were not blind to who was leading the pro-Mixon demonstrations.
Bakari was even ambushed in a debate that TV personality Bill O’Reilly had organized in which they thought their old standby, go to guy, neocolonialist politician Willie Brown, former California Assemblyman and former mayor of San Francisco, would handle comrade Bakari on the critical questions of police violence and the general condition of Africans colonized inside the U.S.
Bakari clearly embarrassed Willie Brown and O’Reilly too. So too, were Oakland police a part of the viewing audiance.
Bakari, a working class African, held up a martyred African youth and defeated the white ruling class ideologues in the persons of O’Reilly and Brown.
Oakland Police are the real criminals
Bakari isn’t the problem—it’s this dirty Oakland Police Department conducting business as usual.
It was the OPD’s propensity for violence against the African Community that was the impetus for the mobilization of the community by the Black Panther Party.
The Black Panther Party came to international acclaim among the oppressed of the world because of the work it did to prove and expose the Oakland Police Department as a standing colonial occupying army in the African community of Oakland.
In fact, the Oakland Police Department was so treacherous that the original name of the Party was the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, reflecting the social relationship the African community has to the police.
Oakland Police already under federal "investigation" for its history of violence
Even today, the Oakland Police Department is one step away from coming under federal control. The OPD is already being federally monitored.
In January 2012, U.S. federal judge Thelton Henderson said he "remains in disbelief" that the Oakland Police Department has failed to adopt reforms it agreed to nine years ago.
The Oakland police chief is now under court order to consult with federal monitors before making promotions, policy changes or disciplinary decisions.
Then on May 31, judge Henderson had to issue another order because his independent monitoring team had concerns that "officer involved shootings highlight the uncertainty over whether Defendants (the police) will, without further intervention by the court, ever be able to comply with the reforms to which they agreed over nine years ago."
The judge went on to say in his court order: "This is of utmost concern, as uses of force and the manner in which they are investigated are among the most serious issues in this case, and officer-involved shootings, many of which result in death, are the most grave possible uses of force."
So if this is what the judge thinks about the police, whom he works hand in glove with each and every single day, then you know what our exploited and oppressed community thinks—absolutely no confidence!
These are the hoodlums that arrested and charged Comrade Bakari, an upright and outstanding member of our community, with assault on the police. He must be set free!
Like the Black Panther Party, the African People's Socialist Party and its mass organization, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM), recognizes all the different U.S. police agencies as the first line of the colonial defense force, as the military machine whose purpose is to terrorize and instill fear in the oppressed and exploited African community and to protect the property of the white ruling class and their lackeys.
They want to frighten and terrorize us from participating in our own liberation
They want us to be collaborators in our own oppression. This is why we must put up the fiercest battle imaginable for Bakari's freedom.
Our young comrades who are watching this battle and those who are participating must know that our movement got their back.
They want us to believe that it is normal and the way it is suppose to be, that the police can come into our community and brutalize and murder us with impunity.
Similar to the beginnings of the Civil Rights Movement when we had to teach the people that being lynched was not normal, that being spit on and our women being raped were not normal, that German Prisoners of War could sit inside the restaurant in Texas and eat, while the black soldiers guarding them had to eat outside in the elements; to not have water to drink because the one water fountain had "white" written on it.
No! None of these awful things were normal, and the Movement showed the people that these things were not normal and taught the people how to fight for social justice and Black Power.
So yes, the police knew exactly who they were dealing with when they assaulted and arrested Bakari on trumped up charges.
The fact that they will not turn over the videotaped evidence solidifies our contention that the Oakland Police are loose cannons; a lawless force that is free to roam the African community and do as they please.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, a vigilante group of at least four cops inside the department calling themselves the Rough Riders initiated and sustained a reign of terror in the West Oakland African working class community.
They worked the nightshift and they rode roughshod over the African community where the Black Panther Party first met and got organized. The same community where the police fired 13 shots into the naked body of 'Lil Bobby Hutton, whom the Panthers refer to as "The First to Fall.”
When the community finally forced the county to file criminal charges against the vigilante group, they were tried before a suburban Alameda County jury that did not have a single African on it.
In the end, the State took care of its own. Out of a total of 35 charges against them, they were acquitted of 8 and the other 27 were deadlocked. They walked.
According to an October 3, 2003 news report from StopTheDrugWar.org, it was reported:
"In dramatic testimony during the year-long trial, witness after witness described beatings, false arrests and trumped-up charges perpetrated by the Rough Riders. Oakland officials were so convinced of the Rough Riders’ misbehavior that not only were the four fired, the city has paid out almost $11 million dollars to people claiming to have been attacked by the Rough Riders and it has dropped more than 90 drug cases tainted by the touch of the Rough Riders."
Obviously these four cops were not working alone. This is the culture of the Oakland Police Department and this is the culture of white America.
We are the despicable African. The Oakland Tribune described the mindset of the white jurors as viewing this case as "Noble Cause Corruption," and that "it is morally acceptable to do nasty things to despicable people."
If the African had the power over our own lives, so as not to have to go into the courtroom of the ruling class, but instead have the capacity to enforce the verdicts and subpoenas of the Court of Black Justice and Reparations, then it would not matter whether the white racists thought we were despicable or not.
That is why our fight is against colonialism and for power over our own lives, not the racist ideas in someone's head.
What we can do
We know and understand that political prisoners and prisoners of war such as Sundiata Acoli, Richard Mafundi Lake, Herman Bell, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Mutula Shakur and countless others, including Lynne Stuwart are locked down and rotting inside U.S. prisons on trumped up charges.
They must be defended and held up as the best sons and daughters that Africa has to offer. We know that the movement must never cease to struggle for their freedom.
This is what makes it even more important that we Free Bakari.
Bakari's organizational work is on a trajectory whose stated goal is to free all political prisoners and prisoners of war by any means necessary.
We must build the organizational capacity to free our fallen comrades.
The International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement has as a strategic goal in its Revolutionary National Democratic Program the freeing of all political prisoners and prisoners of war.
This is a key element for any struggle for national liberation.
The struggle for African liberation in the United States is an anti-colonial struggle.
It represents the U.S. front of the International African Revolution. It is a struggle of national liberation from U.S. domestic colonialism.
We know that the police never come with a warrant that says you are being arrested for treason, sedition or your anti-American views.
They always come with criminal charges. In fact they keep our movement on the radar as criminal and terroristic.
Nat Turner was deemed a criminal because he dared to fight back against his slave master. So is Bakari Olatunji.
Comrade Bakari is scheduled for another court appearance on August 24th.
Our Movement, our allies and all those who believe in social justice should join this great effort to Free Bakari Olatunji.
He is the veteran that the movement did not have when Sundiat Acoli was locked down nearly 40 years ago. He is the political prisoner who must be set free so that the building of a just society and a movement that can tear down the walls so that our comrades locked down from the last period can emerge from behind the prison walls with hero and heroine welcomes, and be united with their people in the just struggle for social justice, peace, and reparations.
Call Judge Yolanda Northridge at (510) 627-4722 and demand that she hold the District Attorney accountable to release the video that was already ordered to be released by August 8!
Call District Attorney Nancy O'Malley at (510) 268-7500 and demand that the charges be immediately dropped against Bakari Olatunji (aka Rickey Clay)!
Call the Oakland Police Department Chief of Police Howard Jordan at (510) 238-3131
and demand that the charges be immediately dropped against Bakari Olatunji (aka Rickey Clay) on the grounds that he is a political prisoner, locked up only because of his beliefs—NOT because he violated some law.
ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE!
BLACK POWER TO THE AFRICAN COMMUNITY!
Free Bakari 7:24:12 from INPDUM Oakland on Vimeo.