On April 24th, 2013, scores of Federal Agents alongside the Oakland Police, California Highway Patrol, and other law enforcement agencies descended upon the Acorn Projects in West Oakland, executing multiple simultaneous raids. According to ABC 7, residents along with main stream media outlets were given no immediate explanation for the raids. At 1:am OPD released a press release stating that they had participated in hi risk weapons and narcotics warrants search warrants.
Officer Frankel insinuated today that medical reports would conclude Berkeley police were not responsible for the death of Kayla Moore, a transgendered person who died in police custody on February 12, 2013. Since her death, Berkeley police have released a single statement that was both brief and vague.
This is a repost from about three years ago. It’s important to note that this the only version to still exists online. Apparently the FBI has sent privacy complaints to youtube regarding their identities being open to the public. If you are an agent with the FBI and take issue with this post, consider how it would feel to be a law abiding person and be visited by agents for “pre crimes”. And if you take issue with this video being online, please contact the ACLU Northern Branch. . . .
On April 5th, 2013, Oakland police were notified of an alleged burglary in progress in West Oakland, California.
While information about the incident is still emerging, OPD has stated that one of the suspects was carrying a fake gun and did not know police were setting up a perimeter around the house. He was subsequently shot in the shoulder by an officer as he attempted to leave the area.
This is the 2nd OPD officer-involved shooting this week. On the evening of April 3rd, an Oakland officer shot an innocent teenager in the face while investigating an armed robbery in downtown Oakland. The teenager’s jaw and cheek were grazed, but his injuries are not considered life-threatening. OPD has since stated that the minor and his friends were not involved in a crime. Click here to see more about the April 3rd shooting
Police officers have the right to defend themselves, just like anybody else. However, it will be interesting to see if the suspect shot today posed any threat to the officers. If he didn’t aim the gun at anyone, OPD’s standard procedure is to order the person to drop the weapon and to submit to arresting officers.
Fortunately, video of the incident will ultimately reveal what, if any, threat the suspect posed. All Oakland police are required to wear and activate their PDRD video cameras during police stops. If the officers involved in today’s shooting were following PDRD procedure, their cameras should have been rolling.
One thing that should raise alarm is the fact that OPD were advised to keep any mention of the shooting off the radio. (Watch the final moments of the featured video.)
This silence may be because the Oakland Police Department, like the Berkeley Police Department and countless others, controls the message after they shoot someone.
At around 9:50 p.m. on April 3rd, 2013, a report was made of a strong-arm robbery on 10th and Clay Streets in downtown Oakland. The initial description made in the report was of three black men in their mid-twenties, riding on bicycles and all armed with a knife.
Police claim a witness brought responding officers to several teenagers they thought were the suspects. The witness told police that the teens were in the midst of committing a robbery just down the block. The teens claim that they were simply talking to girls and hanging out.
Police approached the teenagers and despite the difference in age description, and the fact that they didn’t have any bikes, detained them under suspicion of being the robbers.
Within two minutes of arriving on the scene, an officer drew his weapon and fired a single shot at one of the teenager’s faces. The bullet grazed the sixteen-year-old’s jaw and cheek, but his injuries were not life-threatening.
According to the Oakland Police Department (OPD), no one had to get shot in this case and police have now determined that the teenagers were not involved in the robbery. However, a gun is more often used when drawn then it ever could be when holstered. This shooting is a reminder that calling the police can have a deadly impact. Both the witness and OPD have blood on their hands in this incident.
Police often cite the dangers of their job as justification for use of force. On any given day in Oakland, you can see Oakland officers with guns drawn, chasing, surrounding, arresting.
Breaking Down (Police Hurt Mental Health)
When someone gets hurt or arrested, we’re lead to believe that they are criminals or they weren’t compliant. We’re told that the cops were in fear for their safety, and that force had to be used.
In these stories, we are told to overlook the serious issues in play. For instance, we’re asked to overlook poverty, and how police contribute to poverty by stopping, ticketing, and arresting members of the public. The police would also prefer that the public consider mental health an issue suitable for law enforcement.
Mental health issues are not crimes, but in a city like Oakland, where schools and other public resources are getting shut down left and right, mental health incidents are under OPD’s jurisdiction.
Oakland Police Didn’t Shoot Someone?
But even in Berkeley, a city known for their supposed tolerance of people with disabilities, the city’s “toothless” mental health team is sometimes dispatched to incidents alongside the police. How do police make these situations better?
For many people in crisis, the presence of police doesn’t have a calming effect.In fact, police often escalate mental health situations by attempting to restrain an individual. (A cop is trained to think that if they are not in control, then they are in danger, a mentality that doesn’t serve well amongst people in mental anguish.)
If the recent killing of Kayla Moore by Berkeley police shows us anything, it’s that the police are incapable of de-escalating tense situations where criminal enforcement has no place.
Answers! Not Undercovers!
Oakland has also lost its share of people due to officers who blur the line between use of force and aide. If mental health advocates truly existed in Oakland, Parnell Smith, Brownie Polk, Matt Cicelski, and many more might still be with us here today.
Oakland Police Department’s Policy around Mental Health
From 2000-2011, 89 officer-involved shootings were reported in Oakland. Only 5 of those shot were white.
On February 22, 2013, officers from OPD (Oakland Police Department), CHP (California Highway Patrol) and the Alameda Sheriff’s Department descended on an apartment in West Oakland in search of a possibly armed man.
As police surrounded the property at MacArthur Blvd. and Market St., the man inside became distraught, breaking windows and yelling.
It was the perfect equation for what is known in police circles as “justifiable homicide.” If an officer can articulate how they were in “fear for their safety” or the “safety of others,” then they know they can shoot with impunity.
To the surprise of onlookers, OPD did not shoot the man. Any guesses as to why?
Over the years, Copwatch groups have spread across the nation and world.
If you are interested in starting a Copwatch group, reach out to your community and find like-minded folks. Read up on your rights (local, state, and federal). Check in with the greater public about Copwatch and see how they feel about it. If it’s a need that makes sense, go out and do it, and be great!
Here are some resources Berkeley Copwatch has used in Know Your Rights trainings over the years.