Berkeley Copwatch will meet Monday to discuss the New Year's Day killing of a 22-year-old Hayward man who reportedly was shot in the back by a BART police officer while he was restrained facedown on the floor of the Fruitvale station in Oakland.
Copwatch will meet at 8 p.m. at the Grassroots House, 2022 Blake St. near Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley. The public is welcome to attend.
Oscar Grant III was killed about 2 a.m. after the officer appeared to pull his gun from its holster on his right hip and fire directly into Grant's back, according to video aired earlier this week by TV station KTVU.
There has been widespread speculation that the officer may have intended to reach for his Taser stun gun, which many BART police carry. BART officials have said it's not clear if Officer Johannes Mehserle was armed with a Taser during the incident. Tasers are often handed off between officers at shift changes.
Copwatch is calling the killing a "spontaneous, public execution."
"If this incident is not met with widespread, militant response, we can surely expect more of the same," a Copwatch statement said. "If you have been watching from the sidelines, this might be a good time to unleash your outrage."
Berkeley Copwatch, a 19-year-old all-volunteer organization, frequently holds a meeting, rally or both whenever there is an officer-involved shooting in the East Bay.
The organization is based on the idea "that watching the police is a crucial first step in the process of organizing," officials said. The group does not attempt to interfere in police activity or to resist police misconduct physically.
The group tries to reduce police violence by directly observing the police on the street, documenting incidents and keeping police accountable, according to background information on the group. The group supports victims whenever possible and seeks to educate the public on their rights.
For details, call 510-548-0425 or e-mail Berkeleycopwatch@yahoo.com.