Clenard Childress
Open season on the innocent in Oakland
Oscar Grant and Walter Hoye
By Clenard Childress
February 12, 2009

Oscar Grant, a young African-American male whose friends and acquaintances describe as a "peace maker" can be viewed on YouTube pleading with his friends to be cooperative with the Bay Area Rapid Transit Police Officers who had just snatched them off the train for no apparent reason other than "riding while black." Grant could be seen begging with the BART Officers not to shoot he or his friends who were already cuffed on the ground. Oscar Grant, 22 years of age is seen actively demonstrating his known "peacemaker" demeanor in a volatile situation. On January 1st, 2009, despite his compliant behavior, Oscar was shot — murdered in cold blood by those appointed by BART to serve and protect. Oscar Grant was face down on the ground in compliance with the commands of the officers and was killed execution style. Providentially, there were witnesses present with today's hi-tech phones with video capacity capturing the unfolding drama.

Once the shots were fired, the BART Transit Officers attempted to confiscate the phones which they claimed were for evidence. No doubt in my mind, it was to ensure a cover-up but a train providentially pulled into the station, a few got away from the 'Gestapo' and the Oscar Grant execution was up on YouTube within hours. This insidious account portrays the gross misconduct of both elected and appointed public officials in the City of Oakland. Unfortunately they parallel other acts of callousness, indifference, and injustice.

And then there is Walter Hoye, who as a Minister and Executive Elder at the Progressive Baptist Church of Berkeley, California is described by his friends and associates as a loving father and husband, an excellent community leader, and a "peacemaker." Walter Hoye, like Oscar Grant, works to comply with the law and is concerned for his friends and loved ones, for peacemakers don't look to be uncooperative but compliant within the laws of society and are conscientious, productive citizens. That's Walter Hoye.

On May 13th, 2008, Walter was arrested for allegedly violating, "Title 8 Health and Safety Chapter 8.52: Access to Reproductive Health Care Facilities" of Oakland's Municipal Code, on both Tuesday, April 29th, and Tuesday, May 13th, 2008. What was he arrested for? In videos which were shot on the above mentioned days, Walter is seen dressed in black wearing a ubiquitous baseball cap which says, "Got Jesus?" He is standing on the public sidewalk in front of an abortion clinic in Oakland, California. He's holding literature and carrying a sign which says, "Jesus (God) loves you and your baby. Let us help you." As those entering the clinic pass by, Walter says, "Good Morning. May I talk to you about alternatives to the clinic?" There are others on the public sidewalk, abortion advocates, wearing orange vests who have volunteered to be abortion clinic escorts and they're in the process of blocking Walter and his sign with blank signs they're carrying. Just as it was with Oscar Grant, videos of what would shortly become the blatant injustice done to Walter Hoye, were providentially provided. These videos clearly vindicated Walter Hoye from doing any wrong and exposed the lies of phantom witnesses conjured up by the pressured prosecution. Walter Hoye is a peacemaker and abortion is a violent act against a baby and the mother. For his stance on a public sidewalk in front of an abortion clinic in the very same Oakland, California which on New Year's Day, 2009, Oscar Grant would later get killed in, Minister Walter Hoye was arrested ....

There are some corollaries here: The BART Transit Officers in the Oscar Grant travesty are much like the City Council of Oakland. They have both contrived laws that fit the occasion thus furthering their own interests. Isn't it sad that after further investigation by Oakland Police Department, it was determined the BART Officers had no sufficient reasons to take such aggressive action and pull the young men off the train? It both cases there has been an obvious abuse of authority by those placed in authority; an abuse which violates the Constitutional Right of law abiding citizens; an action mirroring Bull Connors back in the Civil Rights struggle when he became a law unto himself, was often unaccountable to no one but the Klan, and when that failed, there where always the time-tested "Jim Crow Laws" to circumvent the rights of African-American citizens.

Like Oscar Grant, Walter Hoye — peacemaker — incensed the public authorities that are elected, or appointed, to protect the very same rights they are supposed to represent. Just like Oscar Grant, Walter faces the abuse of those in authority via legislation serving the legislator more than the citizen, thus furthering the "special interest groups" and not the Constitutional Rights of Walter Hoye. Walter Hoye was trying to make peace between mother and child, and was in compliance with the law. But because he had become the conscience to those who would terminate the lives of their children, falsehoods, innuendo, and manipulation of the facts were concocted to keep the executions of innocent babies unimpeded, thus victimizing those who would attempt to counsel women and save children. Of this we can be certain: if abortion was not so lucrative it would not be legal and the legislators would not be in the pockets of the abortion providers.

In the spirit of "Jim Crow" Oakland has contrived a law to victimize the Black Preacher, stripping him of his First Amendment Rights, and hindering his call to serve and provide counsel for the distressed. Minister Walter Hoye has been found standing in the gap, offering alternatives for women so these same women may actually have a "choice." We can clearly see it is open season on the innocent in Oakland. In a time where there are more infants killed than born in our inner cities, we have city councils that legislate unjust laws preventing Black Preachers from offering solutions that have proven to be better than abortion. For all of this, Minister Walter Hoye was found guilty and awaits sentencing. Dare I say, a miscarriage of justice is an understatement ....

If there is any consolation in this for Oscar Grant and Walter Hoye it is this: "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God."

© Clenard Childress


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Clenard Childress

Rev. Dr. Clenard H. Childress, Jr., is the senior pastor of The New Calvary Baptist Church in Montclair, NJ. He is the founder of the website and president of Life Education And Resource Network, Northeast. LEARN is the largest African-American pro-life group in the US... (more)


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