Thursday, January 17, 2013

Given by Chairwoman Cat Brooks on January 1, 2013 at the Public Safety Committee Meeting
City Hall, Oakland, CA
 “When I lived in South Central, Los Angeles, William Bratton was appointed Chief of Police. Shortly after arriving, he was quoted as telling his officers that South LA was Beirut and that they should patrol it as such.  What do you think that did to the mindset of the police officers patrolling Afrikan and Latino neighborhoods in Los Angeles?
Many police officers enter this line of work after serving tours of duty overseas.  They return home with PTSD and a military mindset that has no place in the community streets.  Comments like the one above only reinforce that mentality.
Case in point – the police officer that murdered Alan Blueford had served several tours overseas and was clearly suffering from PTSD.  After executing Alan, he shot himself in the foot and blamed it on Alan in an attempt to cover up his actions.  Reports are that officers found him dazed and confused holding the gun looking at his foot.  It is speculated that he was having a flashback.
Bratton is not the answer to crime in Oakland.  A military-minded man is not the answer to a police department already plagued with brutality, corruption and deceit.
Yes, there is crime in Oakland, but WHY is there a crime problem in Oakland?  Is it because Black and Brown men just have compunction to kill?  Or is it because we have created a society where opportunities to build productive lives are few and prisons are plenty?
$250,000 spent on a man with a proven track record of increasing police brutality incidents on the forces he leads is not the answer.
If public safety is the #1 concern, then let’s invest in public welfare – jobs, education and social services. Or better yet, why don’t we take that $250,000 and find a consultant somewhere, somehow that can figure out why the Oakland Police Department can’t stop killing unarmed Black and Brown Men?  I would pay $250,000 for that.
If we could arrest our way out of this problem, America would have the safest streets in the world because criminalize and arrest is all we do.
My seven-year old is terrified of OPD because she has already seen first-hand what they are capable of … from the murder of Oscar Grant to them tear gassing her as she engaged in peaceful protest.
Ask yourself, why are people in this room so angry that they are willing to go to jail?  They are so angry because they know that there is something fundamentally wrong with how OPD is run and we want real solutions not publicity stunt quick fixes.
Finally, as far as I am concerned, OPD’s track record of brutality and murder does not deem them fit to create a violence reduction program for the city of Oakland!”

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