Oakland: Nate Wilks Killed by Police—People Take to Streets in Anger

August 17, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


Nate Wilks

On August 12, Oakland police shot and killed another young Black man, 27-year-old Nate Wilks. The facts of the shooting are not clear, but what is clear is that Wilks was shot multiple times by the police and that he never fired a shot. He is the fourth man killed in altercations with Oakland police so far this summer.

Activists were on the scene within minutes of the shooting of Nate Wilks, and reports by eyewitnesses contradicted the police version of events. Almost everyone interviewed reported that Wilks was running away from police when he was shot. Family members cite many unusual facts about the case, such as information about it coming not from the police themselves, but from an attorney representing the rabid Oakland Police Officers Association (the police union).

Within hours of the shooting, people gathered to protest. About 100 people took to the streets, marching throughout Oakland, burning Confederate flags and blocking a freeway.

On Friday, August 14, 200 people gathered for a vigil at the intersection where Wilks was killed. A small memorial was put up with pictures of Nate, and people held candles with his picture.

Wilks family at the vigil on August 14: Far left, Jasmine Marshall, Nate Wilks’ sister-in-law; second from left, Wilks’spartner, Chemika Hollis and daughter Kai’lei Wilks family at the vigil on August 14: Far left, Jasmine Marshall, Nate Wilks’ sister-in-law; second from left, Wilks’s partner, Chemika Hollis and daughter Kai’lei.

At the vigil, Nate’s partner, Chemika Hollis, trying to hold back tears, held their three-month-old daughter, Kai’lei. Chemika’s sister, Jasmine Marshall, spoke for Nate’s family, saying, “We are in a state of distress trying to figure out something that we have seen all too often in the history of our country. It was personal a month ago. It was personal last year. But it got all the way real on August 12 when they murdered Nate Wilks right here on 27th and Martin Luther King.... We appreciate everyone who is here today and, if you can, inspire others to take notice to this cause—the cause of us losing our people, our brothers, our sisters, to people who are supposed to protect us. We got to spread this awareness. We got to make something happen. It’s going too far. I understood last month that this could happen to somebody close, but it wasn’t real until it really happened to somebody close. Tell other people this could be yours right here. This is not an isolated problem. This is all of our problem.... We’re here to come together to say that we notice it, we’re not going for it and we’re here to do something about it.”

"Why are we still fighting
for justice in 2015?"

From Revolution and Religion: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion; A Film of the Dialogue Between Cornel West and Bob Avakian

A young Black man, speaking to the need to confront the epidemic of police murder and the deep racism in U.S. society, read a quote from Black science fiction writer Octavia Butler: “Intelligence does enable you to deny facts that you dislike. But your denial doesn’t matter. A cancer growing in someone’s body will go on growing in spite of denial.”

Toward the end of the vigil, Jasmine Marshall spoke again, saying, “From Ferguson to Baltimore, the whole world is watching. This is not the land of the free, this is the land of oppression. All power to the people!”

Protesters block freeway in Oakland in protest of police murder of Nate Wilks, August 12. (Photo: @marg1nal)Protesters block freeway in Oakland in protest of police murder of Nate Wilks, August 12. (Photo: @marg1nal)

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