BRONSON, Florida — On Monday, June 25, 2012 the State took a step back in the case against 18-year-old Eric Oliver, a victim of white mob violence who was jailed for fighting back and winning when a mob led by Chris Milton came to his family’s home to attack his 16-year-old friend Mikey Vasquez.
Because of pressure from the campaign to free 18-year-old Eric Oliver that has included call-ins, write-ins and demonstrations, the State reduced its $100,000 bond ransom on Eric to $10,000.
It was on June 12 that the white mob attack happened that left 16-year-old Mikey Vasquez with a fractured hand and other injuries. After the mob was pushed back, one of its members called the police on Eric.
Levy County Sheriff’s deputies interviewed four white people from the attacking mob, refused to interview neighbors who witnessed the attack, questioned Eric Oliver and his mother and promptly arrested Eric Oliver on a charge of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. For the next two weeks, Eric Oliver was held under $100,000 bond in the Levy County Jail in Bronson, Florida.
On the morning of the bond hearing, the Eric Oliver Defense Committee held a demonstration outside the Levy County courthouse demanding that the state attorney drop all charges against Eric Oliver, that the State pay reparations for depriving Eric of his freedom for two weeks and that an immediate investigation into the treatment of the black community by the Levy County Sheriff’s Office be held.
The demonstration put the white power State on the defensive.
Courtroom filled with Eric Oliver supporters
Right before the hearing started, the defense lawyer for Eric asked all who were inside the courtroom supporting Eric Oliver to stand. Almost the full courtroom stood up.
The judge, still attempting to defend the system and the white mob that attacked Eric in the first place, refused to grant the defense’s motion for Eric to be released on his own recognizance. Instead he reduced the bond ransom to $10,000, and he was bonded out on Tuesday, June 26.
The judge was clearly disgusted at the thought of African people resisting the terror of the Sheriff’s Office and the courts and angrily told defense lawyer William Kurtz to hurry up so he could go on to his other cases. The judge brought the same attitude as that of the white mob that attacked Eric’s home.
White mob terror nothing new
White mob terror against African people in the area of Bronson, Florida is nothing new. In the late 1980s, the Uhuru Movement engaged in a pitched political battle in Cross City, Florida, which is also in Levy County, after a white man murdered an African.
Bronson is a town only 20 miles from the site of the Rosewood massacre that happened on New Year's Day in 1923. According to some accounts, in the attack that destroyed the African settlement of Rosewood after a white woman falsely claimed to have been raped by a black man, at least six black people were killed along with two of the white attackers in the settlement. The black survivors of Rosewood had their property ripped off by the same attackers who destroyed the thriving black village.
Everyone has become aware of the Trayvon Martin situation in Sanford, Florida. In the case of Eric Oliver the similarities are striking. Except this time the victim resisted and survived the attack. Trayvon Martin had a right to stand his ground and so did Eric Oliver.
Under the controversial “stand your ground” law, Oliver should have never been arrested. However, the history and tradition of oppression and attacks like the one in Rosewood is what rules Bronson, Florida and the South.
But organized resistance is now pushing this tradition back. The pressure from emails and calls to state attorney William Cervone is already pushing Cervone to possibly seek a compromise for the system.
However, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM), the Eric Oliver Defense Committee, and Eric’s family will settle for nothing less than these frame up charges to be dropped and Eric to be paid reparations for his arrest and incarceration.
On Saturday, July 7, 2012, InPDUM calls on all freedom and justice-loving people to join the March of Resistance on Bronson, Florida! Eric Oliver stood his ground to defend his family and home! We must stand our ground to defend Eric Oliver and the right of African people to resist oppression!
The March will begin at 10:00am across from the Levy County Jail at 9150 NE 80th Avenue and will march at 10:30am to the Levy County Courthouse.
Come to Bronson and be a part of history in overturning this “down south justice!”
No more Rosewoods! No more Trayvon Martins!
For more information contact the Eric Oliver Defense Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 727.851.3659.