Most people don’t go to funerals of people that they don’t know. I think I have been to about 3 or 4 funerals in my life that was someone that I knew, like a family member or a friend. For work, I have been to dozens for people that I have never met.
There is no question about it, covering a funeral is not fun. For the most part, media is kept at a distance, and that is fine. But there are times when families allow us to be inside during the service. Today was one of those days.
The story is tragic. A 22 year-old African American man was fatally shot in the back by a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police officer during an altercation on a train in the early hours of New Year’s Day. Cell phone videos taken by people on the scene showing the shooting have been circulated on YouTube and are not a pretty sight to see. It is incomprehensible that such a thing could happen which appears to be for no apparent reason. I was a little late to the service, but since there were so many people there for the open casket viewing I was able to get in before it started. Open caskets services always seem to be tougher than ones that aren’t. Friends and family are more emotional, some can’t bring themselves to even approach the casket. One woman had to be escorted out of the church as she broke down.
The press was positioned in the balcony along with an overflow crowd. People were nice to us, nobody yelled at us for being there. There are times when someone doesn't want you there and things can get a little sketchy. The service was simple and at times uplifting as people told funny stories about Oscar Grant. It sounds like he was doing all he could to make a good life for himself. Following the service, there was a demonstration at the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland where Mr. Grant was killed. Hundreds showed up with signs to listen to a lineup of speakers who demanded justice for shooting. Some signs compared the shooting to the killings in Palestine. Some people had signs taped to their backs the said “don’t shoot.”
I left to go home when the demonstration started to disperse and a small group embarked on a march. A splinter group of anarchist types (who apparently weren’t affiliated to the group that organized the protest and were more or less opportunists) broke off from that march and went on a vandalism spree in Downtown Oakland. They damaged a police car, burned trash cans and shattered windows before parking themselves in the middle of a downtown Oakland intersection. At least 100 of them were arrested for their antics. Of course, as my luck would have it, I was home when this happened and missed the entire thing. I need to figure out a way to clone myself so I can be in more than one place at once.
Cory + Aly
19 hours ago