Protesters march over Grant, Jones shootings


Around 5 p.m. protesters tied up traffic at some points along International Boulevard to rally against the deaths of two unarmed African-American men, both shot by police.

First, police say 37-year-old Derrick Jones was shot, after he appeared to be reaching into his waistband, but police later determined he was not armed. Secondly, Oscar Grant, also unarmed, was shot to death on New Year's Day 2009 by a BART police officer.

Derrick's ex-wife, Lanell Jones, marched in the rally and told ABC7 Derrick was not a violent man.

"Before he was my husband, he was my friend," said Lanell.

She is mourning the loss of Derrick, since they were married for 10 years. Lanell says though they no longer lived together, they were in constant communication, including the night he was shot to death by Oakland police.

"I'm extremely upset with the police. I'm extremely upset with the police because you've got to have better training than that," said Lanell. "I don't know what caused him and the young lady to get into something like that, but I want them to know he is not violent. He was very, very... ah, man... he was a very good man."

Lanell also said Derrick has a 2-year-old daughter from a relationship while they were already separated.

Derrick's father, Frank Jones, Sr., was among the protesters.

"Eyes have been closed for many years and it takes death of sons to bring people together?" questioned Frank.

Police were responding to a domestic dispute between Derrick and his ex-girlfriend inside his barber shop on Bancroft Avenue. When police arrived, Derrick fled and two Oakland police officers chased after him and shot him in the front of his body several times. Police say they shot him after he reached for his waist band several times, but no gun was found -- only a shinny object which has yet to be revealed.

"I think out of respect for the family of Mr. Jones, we are not going to release what the shinny object is today. Hopefully in a couple of days we will release what it is," said Oakland Officer Jeff Thomason.

Demonstrators see parallels between this case and the shooting of Grant by a BART police officer. That's why they marched to the Fruitvale BART station.

"We need justice for Derrick Jones," said one protester.

"Derrick was a victim. Derrick was murdered and we're marching to show that this is just the beginning of a long fight," said the victim's sister Tonya Saheli.

Around 5 p.m. protesters forced the closure of the Fruitvale BART station and trains were going through the station, but not stopping. Since then the station has been reopened.

Services will be held on Saturday, Nov. 20 at the Church of Christ in Oakland.

People can call 211 if they are going through a personal crisis or suffering domestic abuse.

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