[ DRAFT NOTES ] December 17th Public Meeting – Moving Toward Change and Crafting Solutions
Thank you to everyone who came to our public forum on crafting solutions to the challenges between law enforcement and communities of color.
Below is the draft of the minutes. We will post and edited copy shortly, but we thought is was import to communicate what was said at the meeting as quickly as possible.
Black Lives Matter: Moving Toward Change and Crafting Solutions 12/17/14
-a way for police and community to better engage is for police to get to know the communities they serve
-community members should be able to share their stories with police officers to facilitate an understanding of communities they serve
-officers should be drug tested at hiring and randomly throughout tenure with the police department
-community members should police the police by reviewing complaints
-officers should be held accountable for their actions
-an officer “on leave” during police violence investigation is a vacation, not a penalty for violence
-prejudice police need to be off of the police force
-through psychological and sensitivity training, the police department can monitor violent traits
-we are all created as individuals; yet we are called to be ONE, we must come together as one to craft actionable solutions
-Jeralyn Blueford is working on getting a bill passed involving reprimand for officers turning off their cameras while in hot pursuit of suspects
-Cal Student- Gabriel
Has protested a lot recently and experienced police violence herself. It is absurd that police have no consequences for their actions towards protesters. The community is doing groundwork to seek solutions. Special prosecutors are needed to examine police misconduct cases, elected official support is needed.
-Javari – MLK Freedom Center
This is a sad occasion due to injustice conditions. Freedom Center’s Priorities-
Police are public workers
Police should not create nor maintain barriers to the public’s access to review their actions- regular reporting should be conducted involving citations and arrests (deaths by officers/citizens by race)
-Diane Lewis- Alta Bates Medical Group
Has conducted research for Oakland students 6th – 10th graders. Students want to have better relationships with students to get better images of police officers. There is a huge opportunity to change the perception of police.
-Maria- Freedom Center
Demand that local and federal government discontinue supply of military weaponry to law enforcement.
Advocate for a decrease in law enforcement spending while reinvesting in poor, low-income communities of color for housing, schools, and employment.
This is a systematic issue that will not end until the laws are transformed.
-Liz- Grassroots group that documents killings of illegal (extra-judicious) black killings
There have been 313 young people killed by extra-judicial forces within one year. This is not an anomaly, this is a pattern.
Demand an end to racial profiling, targeting, stop and frisk, end relationship with Israel, disarm OUSD police officers, fire killer cops, give up department budget to refund educational programs, overhaul of police bill of rights, right to peacefully protest.
Gigi Crowder– AC employee and mother of children with unfortunate incidents with police
Examines disparities in her profession. Majority of people killed are black males and people suffering from mental health issues. There is a general devaluing and dehumanizing of blacks in the US. Pleads for a change. Knows there are good and bad police. Lie detector tests are a good solution for cultural sensitivity training of police.
Represents everyday people. Issue is that people who are in “the streets” are not represented at this meeting, due to not being invited. The people in “the streets” are angry that they were not invited. It’s a travesty and failure and the reason people are “in the streets” and angry now.
Hattie- High School Student
Has lots of black friends of many shades. He was a victim of police criminalization, was stopped and frisked by police for a reason unknown to him. There should be training for the youth. There should be more events for youth to connect with police. Youth should be approached as youth, not as adults.
Oakland is experiencing gentrification due to heavy militarization. A key issue is that Alameda County just purchased two drones. Does not know why 2/3 of budget go to policing because police don’t protect and serve the people. Laws in place for protection are most broken. Nuisance eviction law should be done away with. Jobs should be given to formerly incarcerated people. Drones should be sold. Basic needs are not met, as such people suffer.
Has conducted several reports. Dehumanization of black bodies; structural and institutionalized racism. When we make the issue smaller, we fail to realize what the big issues really are. If Eric Garner had a job, he would still be alive. Programs must address racial disparities. Mental health programs should be culturally appropriate. From state level downwards, cultural competency should be evaluated. We need to focus of culturally congruent services for AC residents.
Etta Johnson- Community Organizer
Police review board should be investigated for complaints. Internal affairs should be investigated. She has protested and was able to stop people. She has not received a thank you from administration/leaders. She was the person that the highway patrol pulled a gun on. A gun was placed in her face, like the officer was a thug. She could not believe how that could happen. She is willing to go to DC to get help. She is traumatized by the situation.
We should be conscious that most relevant laws are made locally- hold elected officials accountable. NAACP plans to continue to hold city council accountable until demands are addressed. Program will be shared once it is completed.
It’s a shame that 50 years after Civil/Voting Rights act that the same issues are still not resolved. There shouldn’t be an overlap of events. No one is immune from injustice. Racial and socio-economic justice are tied together. Restorative justice is a solution. This should be incorporated into policies. Would like to know the next steps. Will the meetings notes be incorporated into policies?
Son Diallo Neal’s body was thrown into a bench. Since 2005, she has found cover-up over the circumstances of her son’s death. She needs follow up for her son’s murder. This has lasted 10 years. She can’t breathe.
Pastor Cheryl Ward- Ministry
Works with young adults. She knows the feeling of sheer terror every time men in her life walk out of the door. She fears they will be assaulted by a rogue police or an angry mirror image of themselves. We shall begin the dialogue to take on restorative justice conversations across the city. Faith based organizations can begin. All can be invited. Let’s begin to heal.
Gail Ortega – Educator
Let’s take a moment to acknowledge and welcome of Ancestors and people who have been lost by calling our their names on the count of three. 1) All Black and brown youth and young adults receive basic legal education about what to do once they encounter the police. 2) Support opportunities for participants to follow up with complaints about specific police officers. 3) Use Jennifer Eberhart’s work with the Oakland Police Department to studying and identify racial biases cops to screen racially bias police out of the department. 4) Happy that young people got elders out You are the change we have been waiting for! 5) Civil asset forfeitures return to the community where ill gain occurred in the form of resources to help make communities hold.
Mike McCree- St. Mary’s Student
Young people should come together and get in touch with elected officials. If we are not together, nothing will change. We must realize we are all brothers and sisters. Begs elected officials and law enforcement to march with them. If we can not represent the US, we are in trouble. We need to be the example.
Andrea- Elementary Teacher
Police departments need better community relations. Police should have X hours in schools, on a monthly basis. When police interact with youth, there will be a better understanding between both. This will lessen apprehension. Restorative justice works. Presented example of Aboriginal’s in Australia.
Rasheed Shabazz- Radio Producer/Cal Student
Was hit by a baton while filming police. The police that hit him was previously fired. Questions how long police officer was fired for. How can bad police continue? Police officers should be disciplined. Political officials should have back bone. Locally police should live in the communities they serve. There should be repeal of police officers bill of rights. At the federal level, there should be more data regarding use of force. Legislation does not include tasers, phone books, non-weapons. Would like elected officials to respond to community.
Latanya Washington- Word Assembly
Would like to see the people that are being policed. Restorative justice circles are needed. We must stop to hear what the youth would like adults to do. RJ should be in police departments to humanize those communities they serve. RJ should be implemented in all schools. This is a part of conflict resolution.
Look at issue from perspective of where nation is versus where it was 13 years ago. Sen. Feinstein released a report that US has a policy that has tortured people. If US tortures people, how can we expect anything less? We need to prosecute every member of Bush Admin. that endorsed policy and reclaim moral soul of nation.
Craig Williams- SL Com. Activist
What perpetuates racism is local tv. We have a low brow attitude towards media. It fails to cover state wide politics, while depicting local stories from a racist vantage point. We should look into the “snitch” approaches in police departments. Labor department, democratic party should be involved.
Daphina Kuficha- Accupuncturist
Relationship between media and police. If media ends the negative portrayal of black youth, that will change how the police treat black people. Speaking on behalf of an attorney. Considering legislation that will take internal police investigation of fatalities into the Department of Justice.
Noah Rasheed- EOYDC
Stronger partnership between police and community; joint mentor program between police and youth; show sincere action. There must be a real connection to establish trust. Police should take ethnic studies courses. People being policed must be respected and understood.
Jordan- CSUEB Student
Decentralized police force; no need for tear gas on peaceful protestors as this is chemical warfare. Destroy weapons given to city and invest money into education. Release information on police killings to public. Police must acknowledge citizen rights. More police in community ie PAL. Apply pressure in Sacto and DC regarding police brutality against black males.
Officials have heard requests and done nothing about it.
Reduce terms of probation so cops stop harassing people. Poor people are punished for lack of ability to post bail. Sherriff has a fund to purchase drones but charges high amounts to incarcerated people. Have asked for 2 years for sheriffs budget with no explanation. Sheriffs budget should be cut; universal pre-k education.
Ladonna Williams- Non Profit, Black Mother in US
Elected officials should join in Pres. Obama to apologize to black people for saying he’s not a president to black Americans. Hold prosecutors and racist court system accountable for racist actions. Respected by officials when stakeholders have concerns, want to have a space to be heard. How do we do follow-up?
Wants to offer support to Fed. Judge for the oversight of the OPD. Law enforcement officers must issue business card upon initial contact with the public. Make Oakland a RJ city.
Violence is absence of young people. Demographics of people most affected by police brutality are not represented here. Stop spending millions on punitive conduct towards black/brown people. There is racism and discrimination in hiring practices.
Prevention of Police Brutality-
We should focus on outreach to youth. Most foundations that get involved are large. Would like small groups to get involved.
Thea Matthews- Student in SF
Police accountability needs transparency and proper prosecution if there is another killing. Police training and proper de-escalation is needed. People should be better treated by police.
None of us are safe until police are disarmed. As long as police think it is okay to shoot, they will. Property is ensured, life is sacred. Elected officials are needed. Disarm police.
Brutality against people has occurred for centuries. By 2016 they, public officials, should make solutions a visible reality.
Police should think about…
Dr. Charly Hames – don’t disrespect his house.
He has been profiled but he wants to hold elected officials accountable to get solutions.
Uncle Bobby Johnson (Oscar Grant’s uncle)-
Flyer from News Campaign in re: investment of dollars. Failure to invest into students causes problems. Militarization of police is the main issue. Funds should be re-invested into educating the youth. Demilitarization of police is necessary to quell police brutality. The DA must be accountable, the system is broken. We must look at where the money is going. Police conduct is clearly wrong, however the system continues to fail citizens on a consistent basis. The criminal justice system is racist and must be remedied. System must be restructured so that justice can be realized for all. Examine where the dollars are going. It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee:
Racial disparities between those convicted. High percentage of blacks incarcerated. Race is a factor in police brutality. Input is taken seriously. Resources should be directed away from MIC and into communities. Federal bills are in progress to prohibit discriminatory practices and prevent police misconduct. Funding must be secured to provide training to create a community that is promising for the youth. All are needed to make changes. This is about politics and accountability.
Sen. Loni Hancock
Chairs Public Safety and Budget Committee. Prison system is broken. Public help is needed to reform system. Supports local change. What is needed is a partnership between community and police to create safe communities. We must realize the deep institutional racism that has been recently uncovered. Income inequality and opportunity must be dealt with. Police should be better trained; how grand juries are dealt with. Police should reflect community in color and values. RJ is powerful; we need an EB RJ corridor. Wants to work with public to set up dialogue to secure funding and legislation that encourages and supports this effort.
Assemblymember. Rob Bonta
Change doesn’t come easily but it is necessary. Everyday people can make change. Action needs to be informed action. Is working to address issues. Standards that officers are following should be examined. Body camera policies should be examined. Early childhood education is important.
Assemblymember Tony Thurmond
He is doing what needs to be done to help issue. Paradigm must be changed. Has a responsibility to EB cities to call on mayor’s to convene to discuss how to preserve public safety and reduce the use of deadly force in communities. Statewide, outcomes for blacks need to be improved. Yes we can, yes we will.
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan
Oakland was a pioneer in using body cameras, number of complaints has decreased since the use of cameras. Have not had an officer involved shooting in the last 18 months. Changing of policies surrounding police weapon use has assisted this effort. City has been reorganized geographically. Crime can be decreased by following constitutional methods. There are over 55 people of color that are working for OPD. Police force is beginning to look like the city. Cease fire- 2000 kids were working and for 6 weeks there were no murders in Oakland. Wants funds to go towards people getting GEDs to get jobs.
Oakland Councilwoman Lynette McElhaney
Must maintain a relentless focus that there will be change following this meeting. She is working towards solutions to change specific challenges. Jan. 12 there will be a Black Lives Matter forum in the City of Oakland. Budget needs to reflect the priorities so that life really matters.
Incoming Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf
Public servants are painfully aware that institutions they serve in are built on racism and need to be fixed.
BEO&FBL website: http://www.blackelectedandfaithleaders.org
John Burris, Esq.
A lot of good will has been exhibited. The demonization of black males occurs after the person has been killed. Police public relations digs up the deceased’s record. That does not have to happen in order to justify public shooting. This distracts from killing. This happens often. Cameras are important but they should be released sooner than later to get facts. Transparency is important to build a relationship with police.
Former Oakland City Councilmember Wilson Riles Jr.
(1) We need to speak and act so that we impact the problem at the many levels that it exists on: unconscious, implicit in structures, historical “scars,” political shenanigans, political disenfranchisement, economic marginalization and abuse, western/white cultural supremacy, the myth of American exceptionalism, and the suppression of the truth.
(2) Within each arena, the parts to engage can be targeted, especially in the criminal (in)justice system. Such as its historical roots in “slave catchers,” police bias, grand jury use abuse, abuse of plea bargaining, the lower funding of Public Defenders vs. District Attorneys and the political status and leverage imbalance, bias in jury selection and the unconscious bias in decisions, the Supreme Court’s shift to requiring conscious intent and the discounting of proven discriminatory results, etc.
(3) I think that we must put forward a comprehensive All Points attack and through historical fact finding and teaching expose all the chronological points where these various evolutionary turns in racism began and are sustained. As we weave our future we need to un-weave and expose our past.
(4) I think that there is a difference between a “campaign” and a “movement.” Campaigns are best narrowly focused, calling for “winnable” demands and with tactics disciplined to succeed in the short-term. Movements are something else that is much broader and more inclusive of participants who might not “fit” with tactics aimed at political/legislative policy change. Having been marginalized and excluded from most political decision making, movement participants are louder, more emotional, more wounded, and distrustful of the policy making process – that process has rarely done anything good for them. When it has done something, it has been curtailed, crippled, and suppressed into ineffectiveness. To narrow the problem of police/black community relations to policy change is to “miss the forest for the tree.” It is not good enough and will not work for long just as policy changes in the past have not worked for long! I do not think that we make sustainable progress with piecemeal policy change.
The movement needs to be supported. It should not be bent or put down in favor of the more polite policy change arena. That is not to say that policy change is useless and should not be engaged. I believe an amalgam of movement activity and campaign activity that spins off that are both needed. But it is the movement activity that is the most important because it will stimulate the collective emotional tsunami necessary to engage the unconscious, implicit, historical racism that is baked into every crevice of this country. Whatever policy changes that are done to make liberal amendments to the current system are not sustainable because the whole structure and foundation is riddled. As James Baldwin said (in so many words), “The whole house is burning; integration with that won’t get it.”
Below are some thoughts and ideas about solutions proposed by some who attended our community forum, Black Lives Matter: Moving Toward Change and Solutions. The statements do not necessarily reflect the position of the Black Elected Officials as an organization or any of the individuals that are members.
- Youth Promise Action – HR 1318 / SB 1307 – Youth Prison Reduction Through Opportunities, Mentoring, Intervention, Support and Education Act – Fact Sheet Youth PROMISE
- Proposal For Independent Investigation of all Police Shootings and Killings submitted by Yolanda Huang – Berkeley
- Surreal “December 6, 2014 Berkeley PD and Me” – a poem submitted by Mona T. Law – Surreal 1 Surreal 2
- Proposal for Community Plan to Create Structures and Actions to End Anti Police Conduct – prepared for special meeting on Dec 17th called by Supervisor Keith Carson – Freedom Ctr1 FreedomCtr2