Public Defenders Hold "Black Lives Matter" Rallies in Oakland, San Jose, San Francisco, Martinez - NBC Bay Area

Public Defenders Hold "Black Lives Matter" Rallies in Oakland, San Jose, San Francisco, Martinez



    Bay Area public defenders plan to host a "Black Lives Matter" rally Thursday, believed to be the first of its kind in California.

    "We've been considering this for a while, and struggling with what to do to show that black lives matter," Alameda County Public Defender Brendon D. Woods told NBC Bay Area.

    Public defenders in Contra Costa, San Francisco and Santa Clara counties are planning similar rallies the same day.

    In Oakland, the public defenders will be leading the rally at the Rene C. Davidson main courthouse at 8 a.m. dressed in T-shirts and black gloves that symbolize, “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot.”

    The rally will be short, consisting of four-and-a-half minutes of silence, to honor Michael Brown, whose body remained on the street in Ferguson, Missouri for four and a half hours on Aug. 9 after he was shot and killed by a white police officer. Protesters have been adding another 28 seconds, or 28 minutes, to their rallies to signify the number of African Americans who died in the United States in 2012, one every 28 hours, according to a study.

    And according to 2012 statistics, 54 percent of those incarcerated at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin are African American, and many are represented by Woods' office.

    The Bay Area rallies follow on the heels of a 7-minute "die-in" hosted by public defenders in Brooklyn, who walked out of court on Wednesday to symbolize the chokehold July death of Eric Garner in Staten Island. A group of lawyers in Philadelphia also participated in a die-in at the Criminal Justice Center, according to reports.

    While this is the first formal move by public defenders in the Bay Area, the Richmond police chief  grabbed headlines when he held up a "Black Lives Matter" sign earlier this month, a move which garnered criticism from his union.

    As people throughout the country have been holding "Black Lives Matter" demonstrations, there have been others who are saying that "Cops Lives Matter," too. And the Richmond police union said their chief shouldn't involve himself in politics.

    In both the Brown and Garner case, the white police officers who killed them were not held criminally responsible. Both Brown and Garner were African American.

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