Amid protest and outrage, what are quickly becoming non-isolated incidents of Police brutality continue to impact the Bay Area community. In January, Oscar Grant, unarmed, was shot to death by BART Police officer Johannes Mehserle, and just last month another unarmed victim, Ernesto Duenez, Jr. was fatally shot. Others, names including James Rivera and Rita Elias, have suffered a similar fate at the hands – and weapons – of Bay Police while utilizing the city’s public transportation.
As the unprovoked violence continues, so do the protests, and musicians, no strangers to speaking against injustice over the years, have started to lend their voices and visuals to the cause. REL, the instrumentalist and producer also known for his work as one-fourth of the Drums & Ammo collective, has joined those voices with “Public Transit,” the latest single and video from his forthcoming experimental instrumental album, On My Way.
“The song and video were made to express the feelings of confusion, hurt, and anger in our community as a result of three Police officer-involved shootings that have taken place on Bay Area public transit lines, ” explains REL, who self-directed the video shot the footage video using his iPhone while riding the BART. He later added civilian-captured clips of the recent murders, bringing the video a sense of power and urgency. “The hardest part,” explains REL, “was being able to get across all of these emotions without any words at all.”