Family holds anniversary vigil and protest, shutting down West Oakland BART
One year after the slaying of Sahleem Tindle, his family
revisited the corner across the street from West Oakland BART Station, in front
of the Upperkutz barber shop at 7th and Chester. When BART Officer Joseph Mateu
approached the corner on Jan. 3, 2018, there were two men in an altercation,
scuffling on the ground, where a gun was in proximity.
Mateu decided Tindle was the aggressor, and shot him three
times in the back. The bodycam footage of the shooting sent the Tindle family
into a rage, as they found the killing of their loved on to be entirely
District Attorney Nancy O’Malley disagreed. In a 48- page
report released to the public, the district attorney depicted Tindle as the
aggressor in an argument over a pair of sneakers. No criminal charges were
brought against Officer Mateu for the shooting.
This year, the family stood with members of the He brew
community in protest of O’Malley’s decision, and to remember Sahleem Tindle
through song, poetry, and speech.
“It is natural for us to be together,” Sahleem’s mother,
Yolanda Banks Reed, said of the surrounding community, “but not for this
After two hours in front of the West Oakland BART station,
protesters filled the station’s vestibule, the sounds of their chants
resounding through the building, before they marched to the corner where he was
shot, and back.
They returned to a gated up BART station, with at least 9
BART officers inside.
Protesters chanted “Who shut you down? We shut you down!” in
an apparent expression of strength in their unity.
But during the night’s earlier speeches, many expressed frustration
in their little impact on the criminal investigation into their loved one’s
“I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of these rallies and
these marches and these funerals,” said Cat Brooks, a co-founder of the Anti
Police- Terror Project and the runner-up in the mayoral race in Oakland.
Despite the lack of criminal charges, the family is still
pursuing a civil case, represented by Attorney John Burris. “We want the
department to appreciate that what’s going on here will not be tolerated,”
Burris told the crowd of protesters and mourners.
But a civil case cannot provide the family with satisfactory
restitution. “There is no compensation for my son,” said Yolanda Banks Reed.
Tindle’s brother, LaRon Mayfield, said all he wants now is
for Officer Joseph Mateu to be off the streets of Oakland. He said he will show
the photo he obtained of Mateu as often as possible to make Mateu feel
unwelcome in the city where he killed Mayfield’s brother.