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"Please Don't Shoot" BART Shooting Protests Planned Across the Nation

January 14, 2009

"Please Don't Shoot" - that's the message from activists gathering in downtown Oakland and in cities across the country to protest the shooting death of a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) passenger. The rally at Oakland City Hall today is part of a national day of non-violent protests over the New Year's Day death of Oscar Grant. The shooting of the 22-year-old by a BART police officer was captured on video and has been seen around the world.

Mervyn Marcano is a spokesman with the newly-formed group Coalition Against Police Executions.

"What we are really looking for is accountability from our leaders, both from BART and also the District Attorney, and if that doesn't happen, the Attorney General obviously has the power to make sure that justice is served."

Marcano says the nation's youth are dismayed by the violence in their cities and the death of Oscar Grant, and hope city leaders will take action.

"Young people here are very frustrated at the pace of which government serves them or doesn't serve them, and we're looking for real solutions."

Marcano believes the events will be peaceful. He says the security detail for the Oakland event is sufficient to control a crowd as large as 10,000 people. Similar events are planned in other cities including Los Angeles and Santa Cruz; Chicago, Illinois; Washington, D.C.; Knoxville, Tennessee; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Columbus, Ohio; Tallahassee, Florida; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Little Rock, Arkansas.

For details about Knoxville's candlelight vigil, rally and press conference, contact Elandria Williams, 865.973.1896.

More information can be found at www.centerformediajustice.org and details on rallies in all cities at www.ruckus.org

Lori Abbott, Public News Service - TN