It’s more logical and compassionate to meet a mental health crisis with a mental health first responder, not an armed police officer. Police presence often exacerbates mental and emotional states by triggering preexisting fears or memories of incarceration, police violence or involuntary hospitalization.Read More
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Under AB 392, California will establish one of the strongest use of force laws in the country by requiring that officers only use deadly force when necessary
Sacramento, Calif. – Today, the California Senate passed landmark legislation to strengthen the law on police use of force and reduce the number of deadly police shootings in the state. Assembly Bill 392: The California Act to Save Lives, introduced by Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), will establish a “necessary” use of force standard, paving the way for other states to follow suit.
Police officers in California consistently kill more people than officers in any other state. As in other states, Black and Latinx people and people with disabilities are more likely than other residents to be targets of police violence. AB 392 addresses this problem head on by adopting best practices proven to reduce the number of use of force incidents.
“I believe that a law like AB 392 could have saved Diante’s life,” said Ciara Hamilton, whose cousin Diante Yarber was killed in Barstow on April 5, 2018. “Police officers should always do everything in their power to preserve life. I shouldn’t have to fear for my life because police officers mistake my phone for a gun or shoot into a vehicle that I’m in because of the color of my skin.”
Under current law, California police officers can use deadly force if it is “reasonable” – regardless of whether deadly force was necessary to prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury, whether there were available alternatives, or whether the officer’s own actions created the circumstances that led to the use of deadly force. AB 392 raises that standard to require that officers only use deadly force when “necessary to defend against an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to the officer or to another person.” California would be the only state to combine this “necessary” standard with the requirement that courts consider an officer’s conduct leading up to a use of deadly force when determining whether the officer’s actions were justified.
“I am pleased to see AB 392 pass,” said Marissa Barrera, whose brother Michael Barrera was killed on February 8, 2017 by Woodland police officers outside of Sacramento. “My family and I have been fighting for change for the past two and a half years, since my brother was wrongfully killed. Since then, I have met countless other families that are affected by the loss of their loved ones to police killings. I see this bill as a start to change, which we desperately need.”
Establishing a “necessary” standard has been shown to reduce the number of use of force incidents. Under the guidance of the Obama Department of Justice, Seattle and San Francisco’s police departments both successfully adopted a use of force standard like that of AB 392. According to a report from the federal court monitor, Seattle saw a significant reduction in the number of use of force incidents, while police officers and the public remained just as safe. San Francisco also saw similar declines in use of force incidents: The San Francisco Police Department hasn’t shot a single person in almost a year. Across the country, police officers in cities with stricter use of force standards kill fewer people and are less likely to be injured or killed themselves.
“Today, our family applauds the passage of AB 392 through the Senate floor, this is an important step,” said Pamela Fields, whose son was killed November 10, 2013. “My son Donte Jordan should be alive today, but his life was taken by Long Beach PD. I have no choice but to fight for justice every day, can't stop won't stop!”
AB 392 now heads to California Governor Gavin Newsom for his signature.
AB 392 is sponsored by the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color/PolicyLink, ACLU of California, Anti Police-Terror Project, Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ), California Families United 4 Justice, PICO California, STOP Coalition, United Domestic Workers (UDW) – AFSCME Local 3930, Youth Justice Coalition.
From our inception, the Anti Police-Terror Project has never subscribed to the belief that policing in America can be fixed. The system is not broken and thus cannot be made to right itself. Born of the slave trade, policing in America was then - and is now - about the catching, killing and incarcerating of Black and Indigenous bodies. We are an abolitionist organization committed to interrupting and rapidly responding to state violence, radically transforming the way in which we as a society define public safety and develop new practices to implement community security that are not rooted in race-based capitalism, white supremacy, patriarchy, racism, violence, rape and murder. The data is clear - the American model of criminal justice is a failed experiment that has cost thousands of lives.
That said, bodies are falling at the hands of state violence in genocidal proportions, so as we walk the road to absolute abolition - we also need to deal with the material conditions our communities are facing right now. The police in California kill nearly 200 people every single year, the majority of whom are people of color and over half of whom are unarmed. This reality for us means that we must work to enact radical reforms as we walk the road to abolition, thus operating in all lanes toward liberation.
Over the last few weeks, it became apparent that AB 392 - the Use of Force Bill - was no longer a “radical” bill. Despite that fact, we remain a cosponsor and stand with the Let Us Live Coalition and Assemblymember Dr. Shirley Weber in seeing the bill through to victory.
This is why.
Currently, in our State’s Capitol, police associations wield an unrivaled amount of power. Democrats and Republicans in both the Senate and the Assembly are unwilling to cross the police associations for fear of ending their political careers. The amount of money that law enforcement funnels into political campaigns and other legislative endeavors is unmatched by almost any other special interest group, and they are always ready to enter a pro-police candidate into a race to challenge any politician who dares not do their bidding.
An Evolving Political Context
How, in an environment heavily influenced by law enforcement, were we able to pass a bill through the Assembly that effectively reforms current use of force law and has law enforcement withdraw opposition?
The movement built over the last ten years in California has had both state and national implications on the public debate around policing. Gone are the days where police can sweep their murderous records under the rug. There is a new conversation about accountability and the masses are clear that the current model of doing business is not working for anyone.
The tireless organizing of countless families of victims of police violence, their communities, their advocates, and supportive labor unions has worn down the legislature. Legislators are tired of testimony, tired of demonstrations, tired of being constantly reminded of the cost of their fealty to law enforcement.
With a big election year in 2020, many legislators were afraid to risk being exposed by expressing their allegiance to either side. What better way to prevent exposure than to attempt to pressure a compromise that prevents any legislator from being forced to pick sides?
It is important to note that this approach would not have worked without the persistence of Assemblymember Dr. Shirley Weber. Dr. Weber took heat from all sides and throughout remained steadfast to a bill that - regardless of amendments - would stay true to the bill’s original intent: Change the legal standard under which law enforcement can justify utilizing lethal force and hold police criminally liable when there is no justification to be found. This bill - in its current form - does just that.
A Heightened Standard
While much of the aspirational and radical language that remained in the bill for the majority of this legislative cycle was removed, this bill remains one of the most - if not the most - restrictive bill in the country with respects to police use of force. While law enforcement is working feverishly to save face and spin this into a win; they know - and we know - what really occurred: They were forced to accept a heightened use of force standard with accompanying language and restrictions that they fought tooth and nail for two years to reject.
There are dozens of families across the state who still support this bill and who have fought endlessly - enduring unimaginable trauma - in hopes of preventing this horrific tragedy from happening to another family ever again. We stand in solidarity with them.
Yes. It is true that the police will get more money for training. Our understanding is that this money will go to POST and not to individual departments and be solely utilized to train police on this new standard. To our minds, we want that training to take place so they can’t say they didn’t have it as a justification for not adhering to the new law.
As the legal standard 392 creates is subject to the interpretation of DAs and the courts, our coalition worked to give as much direction as possible to those entities in the bill itself. Our main concern with the latest round of changes to AB 392’s language was that de-escalation, once prominent in the bill’s language, was made an implicit requirement. While we are disappointed that the most direct language has been removed from the bill, AB 392 still includes the components necessary to require district attorneys and courts to look at use of force incidents much differently than they have been under current law.
We remain in support of AB 392 because it moves California from our position as a state with one of the worst use of force standards in the country to a state with one of the most stringent use of force standards in the country. We consider that to be an incredible victory with respects to the current power dynamics at play.
Is this radical reform? No. Does this give us a better opportunity to hold law enforcement accountable when they kill one of our own? Yes.
So while it is clear that there is much base-building, organizing and educating to be done across the State with respects to police, police violence, and the power of the police lobby, it is also clear that this legislation represents an opportunity to make it more difficult for law enforcement to kill with impunity while we build power and capacity in a manner that paves the way for radical reforms to come to fruition in our near future.
The work now must focus on building the people power necessary so that legislators are more afraid of us than they are of the police associations. The reality is that under the current conditions, when we play the state’s games, this outcome - at great cost - is the best we can expect. And as we cannot change the rules of the game, we must change the game itself. That is the mandate of now.
AB 392 is sponsored by the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color/PolicyLink, ACLU of California, Anti Police-Terror Project, Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ), California Families United 4 Justice, PICO California, STOP Coalition, United Domestic Workers (UDW), AFSCME Local 3930, Youth Justice Coalition.
Thank you to the community members that joined us at City Council this past Tuesday. Together, we expressed collective outrage at the elected officials who slammed the door on yet another opportunity for community input - this time regarding the new police contracts. As expected, despite community protest and the objections by several police commissioners, our elected officials did what their four-year track record demonstrates they have consistently done - ignore us and vote yes anyway.
Councilmember Kalb’s claim that most contracts are done behind closed doors is patently untrue with respect to negotiating police contracts across the country and, up until now, here in Oakland. Most recently, we saw this in San Francisco, where the community was able to successfully impact contract negotiations on several issues; including use of force. Moreover, we have a Police Commission whom Oakland voters overwhelmingly charged with police oversight. They, too, were locked out of this process. This was the tipping point for one frustrated Commissioner Andrea Dooley who summarily resigned stating “unfortunately, the Commission has not undertaken any of the core functions set forth in Measure LL in its first year, and I am frustrated by this squandered opportunity. At this point, the Commission’s failure to structure its agenda around its actual responsibilities has become too frustrating for me."
While we strongly support the need for an Independent, community controlled police commission, the overreach and overcontrol of the commission by the City is something APTP loudly voiced concern about during the initial crafting of Measure LL and was our primary - now proven legitimate - critique of what went on the ballot. In order for the commission to be effective, it must be truly controlled by community - not City Council, the City Attorney, or the Mayor.
Perhaps most egregious is that this pay raise comes on the same day that the federal judge monitoring OPD’s negotiated settlement agreement (NSA) has reopened three tasks in the NSA specifically around the misreporting of use of force data. That leaves now at least ten open items in the NSA and, with the city council granting OPD’s every request, zero incentive for police to come into compliance as the City continues to deal with OPD with kid gloves and handsomely reward them for bad behavior fifteen years after the department agreed in court to reform their behaviors.
The vote was 6-1 on the pay raises, with Councilmember Kaplan the lone no vote and Councilmember Desley Brooks absent. This contract deal was sealed when it was put on the agenda two weeks ago; the public vote simply a formality. In light of the widespread criticism of OPD, the current council's actions are shameful.
City Councilmember Guillen claimed that they "got a good deal" on this contract as it will save the City $350 million in future unfunded liabilities. Reducing increases in these liabilities is a good thing as we are well on track to being bankrupted by them. Guillen’s statement, however, ignores the many loopholes and contract inefficiencies that cost the City of Oakland millions of dollars every year - issues that could be identified via a comprehensive audit and rectified in the seven months before OPD’s current contract expires. This also does not excuse the shutting out of community, the unwillingness to hold OPD accountable for compliance with the NSA, increasing their pay (thus share of the budget) before 2019 budget processes can take place, and rewarding a police department who recently got a 1 out of 100 in the Oakland Equity Indicator Report.
This kind of “logic” is exactly why Oakland rallied to end Guillen’s term in office and fought like hell to put real progressives in Districts 2 & 4. Councilmembers McElhaney, Reid and Kalb should remember that their seats are up in two years as well, and be clear that as a community we are done with having bad policy made on top of our heads instead of in partnership with. Oakland has overwhelmingly demonstrated that want radical progressive change, particularly in the ways in which law enforcement eats up our budgets and mistreats our communities.
A large issue for Oakland is not just the fact that OPD takes up 41% of the general fund, but also the additional average of $30 million in unauthorized dollars that they clock annually. This is another issue that could have been addressed in the contract negotiations, especially in light of the facts that (1) the issue was identified by the city as early as 2002, (2) in 2005 it was identified that OPD had “consistently exceeded the budget by a wide margin, and (3) that the city agreed to address the unauthorized overtime issue following a 2015 internal audit . But in an effort to circumvent community power and move in the shadows to pass their agenda, this vital opportunity was thrown away.
In the near future, APTP’s DefundOPD will release a report on the relationship between current elected officials and the Oakland Police Department in an effort to continue to expose bad behavior and provide tools for community accountability campaigns.
Tonight the Oakland City Council will vote on a new police contract that includes a 12.5% raise increase for rank-and-file police officers, the chief and top commanders over the next five years. It is unclear what, if any, other changes have been made to OPDs conditions of employment despite the numerous inefficiencies in their contracts that cost the people of Oakland millions of dollars unnecessarily
At a time when we are facing a budget crisis with a dismal five-year projection city workers languishing in part-time positions or at 2008 pay levels, millions of dollars in unfunded liabilities, teachers who can’t afford to live here, massive displacement, regiousegregious levels of homelessness, environmental injustices across the city, and an underfunded healthcare pension liability that increases tens of millions of dollars each year, rushing through police contracts without transparency or public input is reckless at best.
What is truly needed is a comprehensive audit of OPD so we can see where the money goes and eliminate the millions of dollars in loopholes and inefficiencies.environmental that are literally killing us; how can the City justify this agreement as something that is good for Oakland?
The fact that this new contract only came to light when an investigative journalist placed it in his Twitter feed raises several red flags and many questions that must be answered before Council should even consider approving this five-year deal:
Why is this happening before 2019 budget conversations begin?
Why is this happening seven whole months before the current MOU between the City and the OPOA expires?
Why did the Police Commission - who in theory oversees the police chief - have no say in whether or not the Chief gets a raise or in the crafting of this new agreement?
Why has there been no process for community input, like in years previous, and like what happens in almost every other city across the country?
Why are the police being rewarded for another year of failing to get out of federal receivership?
Why is the Chief being rewarded for homicide rates that surpass last years data, a police department that still disproportionately profiles and abuses its Black community members and for promoting officers who knowingly covered up the rape and trafficking of a minor?
Why when we have 9,000 people sleeping on the streets every single night would we not hold on to every penny we have and direct it toward dealing with what the United Nations had called a humanitarian crisis?
Why is this being rushed to happen before the new - and more progressive - City Council take their seats.
A few things are clear:
They wanted this done before the new budget fight so that they can say their hands are tied and silence any community calls for investment in transparency and prevention and not just criminalization
The Police Commission continues to be undermined by the City at every turn; further demonstrating why a completely independent commission is necessary for any actual accountability can take place
This is a clear violation of the participatory budget process that Oakland is supposed to employ wherein all community members are able to tell elected officials what the people’s priorities are for the people’s dollars
The police are not getting out of federal receivership because they have no incentive to - the City continues to give them raises despite dismal performance records which means the City doesn’t actually care how we are treated by law enforcement and is committed to enforcing the status quo
The administration is clear that the new City council will be more challenging to control and has shifted significantly to the left. We can expect more of these cover-of-dark deals to take place in the months and years ahead
We need an immediate and complete audit of the Oakland Police Department
We must remain vigilant
We urge the Oakland community to show up tonight at City Council and ask these questions of your elected officials. If you can’t show up tonight, call, text or email them, leave an online comment but let them know we are watching, we are opposed and we will hold them accountable.
In struggle & solidarity,
Anti Police-Terror Project
For Immediate Release - July 23, 2018
Called by the Community Ready Corps and the Anti Police-Terror Project
VIGIL: SAY HER NAME - NIA WILSON
What: Vigil for Nia Wilson
When: 5:30 - 8:30 pm Monday, July 23
Where: MacArthur BART, Oakland
As Oakland braces itself for the potential invasion of white supremacists into our City today - we should continue to #sayhername Nia Wilson. Nia is the second Black woman brutally murdered in the Bay Area over the last couple of days. We are inviting community to come hold space, light a candle and be together in our collective grief. We also know that we are each others best defense. Community READY Corps will provide on-site self defense training for those who want it. We demand that our City officials respond with immediacy and efficiency and catch the man who killed this young woman. We demand that our City officials take a loud and public stand against white supremacy. Hate Speech is NOT Free Speech. We stand in solidarity with and support of Nia's family. We know who we are as a City. Let's stand together in our love for each other and protection of each other.
OAKLAND SUPPORTS SACRAMENTO: Anti Police-Terror Project hosts caravan for justice to National Day of Action in Sacramento
On this, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. King, the people of the City of Sacramento continue his legacy by demanding justice for Stephon Clark. Black Lives Matter Sacramento has declared today a National Call for Action for Justice for Stephon Clark. In a show of solidarity, The Anti Police-Terror Project is leading a caravan from Oscar Grant Plaza (14th & Broadway) at 12:30 pm today, Wednesday, April 4, 2018. The caravan will head to Sacramento to support the protest taking place at DA Shubert’s office.
Dr. King made clear in his final speech that we must not let any impediments to justice turn us around -- and in the fight for Stephon Clark, it is clear that there are many. We see the same tactics employed across Northern California by those who seek to impede justice:
Just as Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley received $10,000 from the Fremont Police Union before clearing the officers who shot and killed sixteen year old Ebbe Mondragon, Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert took $13,000 from local and state unions just DAYS after the murder of Stephon Clark.
Just as the Sacramento Police Department immediately claimed that Stephon Clark had a gun in an attempt to justify Clark’s murder, Bart PD initially claimed that Sahleem Tindle had a gun when he was shot -- and only retracted that statement after video evidence was leaked.
Just as the Sacramento Police Union has blindly supported its officers despite clear video evidence of their wrongdoing, BART Police Chief Rojas called Joseph Mateu a “hero” for shooting Sahleem Tindle three times in the back while Tindle was on his knees attempting to comply with Mateu’s command that he “put his hands up”.
The Anti Police-Terror Project stands in solidarity with the Clark family and their community in Sacramento as they say “no more.” No more collusion between the office of the district attorney and police unions. No more lies in the face of police wrongdoing. No more grandstanding by law enforcement as they shield officers from accountability. No more killing of Black, Brown, and Indigenous persons with impunity.
Today, we again show the world that King’s legacy lives on, and demonstrate the unity he spoke of shortly before his assassination. We rise up with those across the country who, in the words of Dr. King, “move on in these days of challenge...to make America what it ought to be.”
Justice for Stephon Clark.
The Anti Police-Terror Project
(Oakland, CA) - On Monday, April 2, the family of Sahleem Tindle will meet with District Attorney Nancy O’Malley to discuss next steps in the fight for justice for Sahleem. At 3:30 pm, the family and community will converge at 1225 Fallon Street in Oakland. The family will meet with the DA and then join the community for a rally and protest outside of the Courthouse.
The family has been relentlessly demanding justice for Sahleem who was shot three times in the back by BART Police Officer Joseph Mateu on January 3, 2018. Mateu never identified himself as police before shooting Sahleem. Initially, the BART Police Department alleged that Sahleem had a gun in his hand at the time of the shooting, but a leaked video of Mateu’s body cam footage shows that there was no gun in Sahleem’s hand when he was killed. He was in fact engaged in a physical confrontation - protecting his children - with an unknown man who has since disappeared. There is literally no physical way that Sahleem could have had anything in his hands, let alone a firearm.
“Sahleem was there with his companion and two small children at the time he was killed,” said Cat Brooks, co-founder of the Anti Police-Terror Project. “Why is the media not covering that? Who do you know that would engage in a gun battle in front of their children on the way home from a shopping trip?”
To add insult to injury, Joseph Mateu was back on the job within two weeks of the killing. That was then followed by the BART Police Department lying once again; claiming threats had been made against Mateu’s life. To date, despite the family’s repeated requests, BART PD has provided no evidence of these “threats.”
Sahleem’s mother, Yolanda Banks-Reed, and the family, have repeatedly made the same demands:
- Fire Joseph Mateu
- Arrest Joseph Mateu
- Charge Joseph Mateu
- Convict Joseph Mateu
DA O’Malley is in control of demand #3. She has the ability to charge Joseph Mateu with murder. Given her track record however, the community is concerned that once again, she will side with a killer cop rather than the community and a family in mourning.
“What if it was your child,’ asked Yolanda Banks-Reed. “I haven’t even had time to grieve my son. But we have to do what we have to do and I am going to fight.”
(Oakland, CA) - In partnership with the family of Sahleem Tindle and Mothers Fight Back, the Anti Police-Terror Project is calling for Days of Justice for Sahleem Tindle who was murdered by BART officer Joseph Mateu on January 3, 2018.
BART was forced to release the body cam video of his murder, where it was exposed for all to plainly see that 28-year-old Sahleem was shot in the back three times with his hands up and no weapon in sight
The family has attended two BART Board Meetings and a BART Police Commission Meeting to demand justice for their loved ones.
Now, they turn their attention to DA Nancy O'Malley who has the power to charge BART Officer Joseph Mateu and the Oakland Police Department who is investigating the crime.
TUESDAY, MARCH 13th, 2018
10:00 AM - NANCY O'MALLEY'S OFFICE
1225 Fallon Street
Nancy O'Malley has never prosecuted a single cop for murder. We will bring the full pressure of the community to bear to pressure her to do so in this case.
TUESDAY, MARCH 20, 2018
6:00 PM - THE OAKLAND POLICE DEPARTMENT
7th & Broadway
OPD is in charge of the investigation, since Mateu murdered Sahleem across from West Oakland BART, not on BART property. So on Tuesday, 3/20, at 6pm, we're going to visit OPD HQ at Broadway and 7th St to demand that they charge Mateu with murder!
The family's demands are as follows:
- Fire Joseph Mateu
- Arrest Josepn Mateu
- Charge Joseph Mateu
- Convict Joseph Mateu
The Anti Police-Terror project denounces the decision of Mayor Jesse Arreguin and the Berkeley City Council to place more aggressive policing tools in the hands of the historically racist and violent Berkeley police department. On September 10th, at the Berkeley City Council meeting, a 1997 ban that prevents police from using pepper spray at protests, was modified to give police limited power to do so.
According to law enforcement, pepper spray is safer and more contained than tear gas and they need something because they are at a loss for how to respond to the protests that have been in the streets of the City since February.
Pepper spray carries on the air in the same manner as tear gas and has just as much potential to impact people beyond the intended target. Additionally, no warning is required before the police use pepper spray - as there is for tear gas - nor is there any requirement on the part of police for justification of why, when and on whom they use it.
According to the resolution, police are not allowed to use it on crowds but they can target individuals in crowds whom they deem “violent”. If both recent and past history teaches us anything - it is that those of us who pose the most risk to the State and its agenda that get categorized as violent. And there is nothing in the history of the BPD that should give the people any faith that they will operate inside of the rules. One only has to remember the murder of Kayla Moore, or look at the fact that they still refuse to release the full findings of their internal audit on racial profiling, let alone commit themselves to a plan for addressing the myriad of race problems that plague their department.
Each time the right-wing white supremacists have come to the Bay Area under the pretense of “free speech” - violent acts directed at Black, Brown, LGBTQIA persons and progressive businesses with Black Lives Matter signs in their windows have been committed. People have been called racial slurs, spit on and had their windows broken. Activists have been doxxed, had their personal information spread across social media platforms - including where they live and work, received death threats, have had to move into safe houses and bring security to meetings and court dates. Yet - none of these egregious acts of violence prompted Mayor Jesse Arreguin to attempt to classify these groups as gangs (as he is with Antifa) or inspire him to call for increased police aggression. Instead, the Mayor, has called for increased police violence against those community members who stand up and refuse to let hate flourish in the Bay. Even the Mayor himself admittedly received thousands of death threats from these same groups he is rushing to now defend.
This most recent move is little more than the continuation of an agenda that criminalizes dissent, upholds the tenets of white supremacy and empowers the frontline enforcers of white supremacy (law enforcement) to repress the masses. Jesse Arreguin - who ran on a progressive platform - has once again betrayed the very people, and values, that got him elected in the first place.
At the special city council meeting, held at 3pm on a Tuesday after only being announced the previous Friday, the police gave a completely absurd fabrication of the events that took place on August 27. They claimed that the organizers on the sound truck that was at the march were handing out shields and weapons to participants in the march. Organizers did have shields to give to people who were fearful about the all-too-common violence from white supremacists, who have maimed and murdered people very recently, including the death-by-vehicle murder of Heather Heyer in August 2017 and the multiple stabbings of people in Sacramento in 2016. There were absolutely no weapons distributed during the rally and it is deeply problematic for the police to be claiming anything else. Even Mayor Arreguin acknowledged later in the council meeting that the police narrative was “incorrect”, as he was present on August 27.
District Attorney George Gascon has filed unjust charges against a group of Bay Area activists for civil disobedience taken in opposition to tech complicity with the Trump administration on Inauguration Day 2017.
The group of activists, the "J20 Resisters", are being arraigned this Wednesday April 5 at 9am at 850 Bryant, in San Francisco. Friends of J20 Resisters will be holding a press conference beforehand at 8am and we are asking anyone who can to come out in support.
And before Wednesday's arraignment, we are asking our supporters to call and email District Attorney George Gascon's office and tell him to drop the charges. Why is DA Gascon expending energy on criminalizing dissent rather than taking the multiple officers to task who have murdered civilians in cold blood on his watch? Gascon is failing to protect the public from police terror.
Call George at (415) 553-1751 or e-mail him at email@example.com.
Tell George to drop the charges against the J20 Resisters! Stop the war on dissent! Tell him, do your job and go after guilty cops instead!
On Monday, Judge Donna M. Ryu denied the motion for summary judgment filed by the City of Emeryville and Officer Warren Williams in the civil case brought by Yuvette Henderson's family and attorney Dan Siegel of Siegel & Yee in Oakland. This is a significant victory for the family and the people of Emeryville and the surrounding area because it is a step closer to accountability for the officers who murdered Yuvette.
The City of Emeryville attempted to argue that the officer who killed Yuvette - with an AR-15 while she was already down on the ground wounded - had qualified immunity, meaning that he would be shielded from civil liability because he was "just doing his job" as police officer. The problem with that argument is that qualified immunity would have required the officers not to violate the clearly established constitutional rights of Ms. Henderson.
The judge found that:
1) A reasonable jury could find that Williams' use of force was excessive because it was not necessary to protect his life or the lives of others.
2) Yuvette Henderson had a “clearly established” right to not be executed by a police officer while unarmed.
The judge also concluded, “Since the key non-police eyewitness to the entire incident is dead, the court must also carefully consider all the evidence including forensic evidence to determine whether Williams’s account of the event is internally consistent as well as consistent with the other facts.
This is a HUGE win for the people because it means the judge looked at the totality of the evidence, rather than placing extra weight on the word of the police officers. She acknowledged that Yuvette is no longer here to speak for herself and the public has a right to see all the facts of the case.
[Anyone can comment here before 3/8 or email your councilmember: http://speakupoakland.org/discussions/the-police-commission-enabling-ordinance]
The most recent draft of the Police Commission Enabling Ordinance does nothing to address the major inherent flaws in Charter Section 604. Policing will never be the answer to keeping our communities safe, and City Council’s energy is better spent defunding the Oakland Police Department and investing in community-based drivers of public safety.
The Commission will ultimately serve as a barrier to justice for the following reasons:
Major conflicts of interest
The charter and enabling ordinance state that “no current police or former OPD officers may be Commissioners”. This is woefully inadequate. Given the well-documented, undeniable violations of public trust in Oakland, why would the City not develop strict conflict of interest guidelines to address very real concerns about corruption?
Recommendation: In order to have any semblance of impartiality, the ordinance also needs to disqualify candidates with the following conflicts of interest:
Current or former police officer in ANY jurisdiction
Current or prior work experience in any District Attorney’s office or as a non-sworn police department employee in ANY jurisdiction
Current or prior work as an expert witness on behalf of any prosecutor
Recipient of any campaign or charitable donation (directly or indirectly) from any police union or association representing sworn officers
Current or former employment in any organization that collaborates with or receives funding, awards or formal positive recognition from law enforcement or prosecutors
Marriage or family relation to any current or former sworn officer or District Attorney
Any other associations/relationships that could create a perception of a conflict of interest, special allegiance or bias toward law enforcement
While policing and prosecutorial experience might be cited by some as necessary expertise for serving on this Commission, the hard reality is that time and time again, law enforcement relationships and the “Blue Code of Silence” supersede professional judgement and common sense when officials are called to make decisions.
One need only look at San Francisco Commissioners with prosecutorial pasts and brothers and cousins who are SFPD officers to see the problem. These are just a few recent examples on a Police Commission that the Oakland charter repeatedly cites as a good example. The public cannot and does not trust those individuals to make impartial decisions:
Former President Suzy Loftus was an SF DA and former SF Deputy Chief John Loftus is her second cousin through marriage. Loftus recently resigned from the Commission and now works for the San Francisco Sheriff. Her Twitter feed includes a 2013 photo of herself, her kids, former Chief Greg Suhr and Kamala Harris with the caption, “Proud of my law enforcement family.”
Former President - also a former SF DA - Thomas “Tippy” Mazzucco’s father was an SFPD Investigator and worked at the infamous Bayview Station. Mazzucco later gave a “Gold Medal of Valor” to the officer who murdered Kenneth Harding, Jr. for MUNI fare evasion in the Bayview.
Petra DeJesus’s brother is a Sergeant. She recused herself from his high-profile “Videogate” disciplinary hearing and suspension, but he was later promoted to Sergeant.
Julius Turman was arrested for felony domestic battery and then-DA (and political friend of Turman) Kamala Harris's office chose not to prosecute. That choice not to prosecute domestic battery was out of character for Harris.
The Police Officers’ Association contract and state law supersede charter
The Police Commission is ultimately toothless for the following reasons:
First, due to the binding arbitration agreement with the Police Officers’ Association, an officer always has the right to take their disciplinary recommendation to arbitration. Regardless of what the Agency Director and Chief agree or disagree upon, the decision is not up to them.
As court-appointed investigator Edward Swanson found, “in the 26 arbitrations covering the past five years he investigated, the city prevailed in only seven cases.” (East Bay Express)
Second, Oakland’s Police Commission documents repeatedly include the caveat, “to the extent permitted by applicable law.”
The main applicable California state law is the “Police Officers Bill of Rights” or Copley (Copley Press Inc. vs. Superior Court of San Diego, 2006), which mandates specific procedures for officer discipline and extra “rights” for police officers that do not apply to any other public employees. According to Copley, the public has no legal right to know about police officer disciplinary records and any “personnel records”, whose definition is left up to interpretation.
A former cop and supervisor in the corrupt Chicago “Independent Police Review Authority” will direct the new Community Police Review Agency
Per the charter: Within sixty (60) days of the City Council's confirmation of the first group of Commissioners and alternates, the Oakland Citizens' Police Review Board (hereinafter Board) shall be disbanded and its pending business transferred to the Commission and to the Agency. The Executive Director of the Board shall become the Interim Director of the Agency, and all other staff will be transferred to the Agency.
The Executive Director of the Board is former Indianapolis Police Sergeant Anthony Finnell.
Prior heading the CPRB in Oakland for almost 3 years, Finnell was the Supervising Investigator for Chicago’s infamously corrupt and now-defunct “Independent Police Review Authority” (US DoJ investigation fact sheet here: https://www.justice.gov/opa/file/925851/download). Interestingly, Finnell recently (1/18/17) filed a FOIA request for his own work history and personnel file from the City of Chicago’s Human Resources department. www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dhr/dataset/foialog.html
For obvious reasons, someone who began their career policing in the late 80s/early 90s and was in a supervisory role doling out non-punishments to Chicago PD is not fit to serve as the head of a “Community” police review board. Finnell has been here for only three years* AND this job cannot be held by law enforcement if the Commission wants any semblance of fairness.
The Community Police Review Agency Director must be an actual member of the community with no law enforcement history or ties.
*According to his 2014 $100 donation to Shakir-Gilmore for Oakland School Board, he lives in Livermore.
Compared with their protocol for profiling, harassing - and occasionally murdering - Black and Brown civilians in Oakland, the Oakland Police Department’s shooting of white supremacist gunman Jesse Enjaian illustrates the depth of officers’ conscious and unconscious biases and unwavering ability to humanize a white suspect to a fault, even after the person has demonstrated a clear capability for violence and disregard for human life.
OPD had the opportunity to prevent this expensive, dangerous and chaotic scenario by arresting Enjaian last week when neighbors reported him for shooting cars and throwing a Molotov cocktail. The East Bay Express reports that the way OPD handled the prior shootings - one of which rose to the level of a hate crime due to slurs used, was "unusual", noting that, "No evidence technicians were called to the scene, nor was an evidence canvas conducted." Enjaian ordered them to leave his property, so they did, despite reports and evidence of his committing a felony.
Disturbingly, local media coverage of OPD’s accidental killing (they elected not to shoot to hit center mass) of Enjaian parallels that of the convicted rapist who happened to attend Stanford University and of the many white men who have used firearms to commit terror attacks on communities of color in recent history. The assumption is that past academic or sports achievements somehow negate a propensity for predatory behavior. Examples and research demonstrating the very consistent profile of mass shooters in the United States show us that this is an intellectually lazy assertion. SFGate reports that Enjaian’s prior stalking victim in Michigan, “submitted a complaint that Enjaian had a gun and had expressed interest in using it in an “act of mass homicide.”” However, due to the reality of white supremacist thinking in our society, the media was initially hesitant to profile the shooter in this case in the way they typically do with Black or Brown "suspects".
Remember, live footage showed that Enjaian was actively shooting a rifle at police, civilians and even a news helicopter from various positions. He was still given a fairly wide berth to move around the neighborhood with his rifle and scope, again, despite the fact that the police had been warned about him shooting cars and throwing a Molotov cocktail the week before. He made extremely racist comments, including the n-word, on Twitter, he had military training, and he was in a predominantly Black ZIP code terrorizing residents by shooting at them and again, yelling the n-word.
“Sniper” is a woefully inadequate term for this guy.
Meanwhile, with Black and Brown “suspects”, both the media and the police immediately assume ill intent and justify a violent, militarized response to contain even a mere potential threat implied to be inherent in the existence of a Black body.
- OPD follows a different protocol depending on the race of “suspect” they are confronting. Two cases of passive individuals being shot without warning illustrate this point:
- When, without any commands, a sergeant and three officers simultaneously pumped dozens of bullets into the body of Richard Perkins (video shows his hands were in the air), the department was quick to justify the murder with false accusations that he pointed a gun. This was later found to be an airsoft rifle tucked into his waistband that he notified them about.
- Demouria Hogg was sleeping in his car and awake for under a minute when rookie Officer Nicole Rhodes, who admits she couldn’t see clearly, panicked, broke training protocol, and pulled the trigger twice to end his life. The city has since paid out a $1.2 million settlement to his family.
Make no mistake, Oakland Police Department does not want to, cannot and will not keep our communities safe. Oakland needs to defund OPD and invest that money into programs and services that address the real drivers of public safety: housing, education, jobs, mental health care outside of a jail setting, and restorative justice programs. Our local media needs to adopt basic ethics when writing headlines and copy to avoid dehumanizing and vilifying Black and Brown victims of police terror. The Advancement Project's "Best Practices for Journalists Reporting on Police Killings of Black and Brown People" is a great place to start.
Headlines about and photos of Demouria Hogg:
Headlines about and photos of Jesse Enjaian:
January 5, 2017
(Oakland, CA) - Libby Schaaf’s selection of Anne Kirkpatrick as Oakland’s new police chief has been touted by some as a sign that the Oakland Police Department (OPD) will be “reformed”. The Anti Police-Terror Project does not believe that policing can be reformed. Policing in America was born out of slave catching and today remains an institution rooted in deeply racist ideology that helps maintain modern day slavery via the prison industrial complex.
Hiring a new chief does nothing to suggest that Oakland is finally willing to protect its residents from the litany of abuses committed by OPD. Anne Kirkpatrick is a career law enforcement officer with no meaningful legacy of change. Her identity as a woman is not relevant to her approach to running the department, just as race is irrelevant to how OPD officers police. At the end of the day, Kirkpatrick’s job will be to maintain the system of policing as it exists today.
Though we remain critical of Measure LL, we are yet confused as to why Libby Schaaf chose not to wait for the newly-approved police commission to select Oakland’s new chief. It is deeply concerning that Schaaf would slight the eighty-two percent of Oakland residents who voted in favor of the Commission by depriving it of one of its greatest powers, and seems to suggest that Schaaf does not yet understand that Oakland is best served when it is governed by and for the people.
The fact that Kirkpatrick has stated support for “broken windows” policing, the theory that aggressively pursuing non-violent crimes will create a system of “law and order” that reduces the likelihood of more serious crimes, is also troubling. That approach to policing, historically carried out via unconstitutional, racist, and dehumanizing practices like NYPD’s “stop-and-frisk”, is the antithesis of what is needed in Oakland. It has been soundly rejected by criminal justice theorists, serving only to propagate a system of control via overcriminalization. In short, Kirkpatrick has already told us that she is behind the times.
Also concerning is Kirkpatrick’s very short stint with the Chicago Police Department before coming to Oakland. In June of 2016, Kirkpatrick was selected to guide reforms ahead of the results of a federal probe into Chicago’s police practices. Less than six months later, Kirkpatrick has abandoned that commitment to job-hop over to a similarly embattled police department. In fact, Kirkpatrick has not lasted long at many of her most recent positions - very concerning for Oakland, facing its fourth police chief in seven months and seeking to clean up a police department that Mayor Libby Schaaf generously described as having a “frat house mentality”.
Oakland has suffered long enough at the hands of an abusive and dysfunctional police department. Kirkpatrick must, immediately, and at the very least, clean house and then hold OPD officers accountable for their actions moving forward. The Anti Police-Terror Project leaves room for hope that she can achieve that goal. In the meantime, the City of Oakland should make our budget align with our values and reinvest at least half of the 60% that OPD currently squanders into the real drivers of public safety: housing, education, jobs, mental health care that doesn’t involve the Santa Rita Jail expansion, and restorative justice programs.
The Anti Police-Terror Project is a group of diverse individuals and organizations committed to responding to - and eradicating - police terror from communities of color.
For Immediate Release
July 29, 2016
Press Conference Monday August, 1st at 11 a.m.
Federal District Courthouse, 1301 Clay St, Oakland, CA 94612 OAKLAND.
Four Officers shot Richard Perkins Jr. nearly a dozen times in the head and back after he told them his pellet gun was not a real gun.
On November 15, 2015, Richard Perkins Jr. became the 1000th person killed by law enforcement in 2015. Today, his family filed a lawsuit seeking compensation for his death and answers as to why four Oakland police officers fired almost a dozen shots at a compliant man carrying a toy gun.
November 15 at around 5:30 p.m., Mr. Perkins was walking through an unauthorized vehicle sideshow when he encountered Oakland police officers who were there trying to disperse attendees. He had an airsoft pistol with him. By witness accounts, Mr. Perkins was approached by the police and informed them that he had a fake gun. Nonetheless, four Oakland police officers fired at him from all angles, hitting him in the back of his head, his back near his spine, his chest, and his arms.
The Oakland Police Department has provided the family very little information about the circumstances of their son’s death. Ada Perkins-Henderson, mother of Mr. Perkins, was informed of her son’s death two days later, by telephone. Ms. Henderson-Perkins was told that officers on scene wore body cameras but did not have them turned on when they shot Mr. Perkins. OPD has shown Ms. HendersonPerkins edited surveillance footage of officers shooting her son, but she has not seen the whole, unaltered video nor has she had access to investigative reports.
Lack of transparency and disregard for the dignity of the deceased and their families plagues police shootings cases. Families have to fight to obtain the timely release of coroner's investigation reports, which should be readily available as they are public records, and autopsies are performed within days of death. The lawsuit, brought by Ms. Henderson-Perkins and Mr. Perkins’ son, Richard Perkins III, includes eight claims, among them the use of excessive force, failure to adequately train and supervise, and wrongful death.
For media inquiries, contact Anti Police-Terror Project, Leigh Davenport 415.326.8422 For legal inquiries, contact Siegel & Yee, EmilyRose Johns 510.839.1200
For Immediate Release: 7/13/16
Family of police shooting victim, Teo Valencia, demand justice for their loved one and the demilitarization of Newark Police Department.
Teo Valencia, a 23-year-old man of Mexican descent, was killed by a Newark Police Department officer on March 11, 2016. Valencia's family will gather with support of local activists to rally and march to demand justice for their loved one on Thursday, July 14, 2016, at the site of his killing in Newark.
The unnamed Newark police officer shot Teo Valencia in the back with an AR-15, a military-style assault rifle. Valencia may not have been aware there was an officer behind him as he was shot. Valencia's family further lists grievances against the City for what they claim to be an unjust pattern of behaviors based on the racial profiling of Teo. The family says they had not been notified of his death by authorities for over 24 hours, were not permitted to identify his body with the Coroner, and his death certificate contained incorrect information.
The family did not view his body until a full 8 days later at the funeral home. "We were not allowed a wake at the funeral home because of the racial profiling. They told us some of his friends might come and act 'crazy,'" said Christina Valencia, Teo Valencia's sister-in-law.
The family also says they feel threatened and intimidated by the Newark Police Department, following a raid on their home by several officers in SWAT gear, who were seeking evidence but found none, just days after the killing of Teo. The family maintains that Teo Valencia was racially profiled by Newark Police Department, as well as by the funeral home, which works closely with police.
The Valencia family makes the following demands:
Justice for Teo
- Retraction and public apology from the Newark Police Department
- Name, prosecute, and fire the officer who killed Teo
Demilitarize the Newark Police Department
- Removal of AR-15 Military-Style Assault Rifles and similar combat weapons
- Train the police to do their job with minimum use of force
Anti Police-Terror Project Calls On Oakland Police Officers: Blow The Whistle On Corruption, Misconduct, And Predatory Policing
For Immediate Release: 7/8/16
The Anti Police-Terror Project calls on Oakland police officers: Blow the whistle on corruption, misconduct, and predatory policing
APTP will hold a press conference on Monday, July 11th at 11am in front of the OPD administrative building at 7th and Broadway.
In the face of the growing scandal engulfing the Oakland Police Department, rather than focus on solving the problems Mayor Libby Schaaf has ordered an investigation to identify and punish whistleblowers who are bringing these problems to the attention of the public. Additionally, the mayor appears to be using distraction tactics by diverting attention to the so called “racist text messages,” while pointing out that these were sent by Black officers.
Oakland needs a Mayor who will embrace transparency and reform at a time like this, when public trust in city government is virtually non-existent. But even the mayor cannot legally create negative consequences for someone who does the right thing.
In light of the recent media attention to long-standing corruption in the department, some officers have said that they want to stop observing the “Code of Silence” about conduct that goes against their oath to protect and serve the City of Oakland. Many of those same officers may fear retaliation, a ruined career or worse as a result of going against the expectation to look the other way when the abuse of authority occurs.
APTP calls on all officers ready to speak up about illegal, unethical or biased conduct by other members of the Oakland Police Department or other City staff or officials to take a stand now. Our legal team at the Siegel & Yee law firm has created a hotline for you to call to report such conduct. We can provide you with legal advice if you are facing retaliation for going public with information about such conduct, and your anonymity will be protected.
In light of the recent media attention to long-standing corruption in the department, some officers have said that they want to stop observing the “Code of Silence” about conduct that goes against their oath to protect and serve the City of Oakland. Many of those same officers may fear retaliation, a ruined career or worse as a result of going against the expectation to look the other way when the abuse of authority occurs.
We would like to remind those officers that the Oakland Whistleblower Ordinance and State Law protect those who come forward and report misconduct from losing their jobs for doing the right thing.
"No officer or employee of the City of Oakland shall use or threaten to use any official authority or influence to restrain or prevent any other person who is acting in good faith and upon reasonable belief as a whistleblower."
"No officer or employee of the City of Oakland shall use or threaten to use any official authority or influence to cause any adverse employment action as a reprisal against a City officer or employee who acts as a whistleblower in good faith and with reasonable belief that improper conduct has occurred."
Siegel & Yee has a long track record of successfully representing City of Oakland and other public employees in whistleblower lawsuits.If you see misconduct, please call our hotline at 510.839.1200 or email evidence to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Justice for Richard Perkins -- Anti Police-Terror Project Successfully Demands Coroners Report for Perkins Family
On November 15th, 2015, Richard Perkins became the final victim of an Officer Involved Shooting in Oakland last year. While watching a side show, Mr. Perkins attempted to show OPD officers that he had a replica toy pellet gun. He was shot to death in response. Four months later, the family of Richard Perkins had not received the coroners report – a critical piece of evidence that can either support, or dispute the claims of OPD. After threatening community action, the report was released to APTP and the Perkins family on March 8th.
On Tuesday, March 15th, at 9:00 am on the corner of 90th and Bancroft (Where Richard was murdered), APTP will host a press conference in partnership with families that have lost loved ones to police terror and celebrate this recent victory while also raising critical questions about collusion between the sheriff’s office and Alameda County police departments to hide evidence from families who have lost loved ones to state sponsored violence.
“We don’t understand why it takes community pressure to force the coroner’s office to release the reports,” said Cat Brooks of APTP. “These families are already suffering a great loss and grieving their loved one. They rightfully want to know what happened and that report is critical in putting the pieces together.”
Yet time and time again, the coroner’s office – which is essentially the sheriff’s office – delays getting this report to the families. Yuvette Henderson was murdered by the Emeryville Police Department in February of 2015. Eight months later, it took APTP in partnership with Henderson’s family, to force them to release the report. Similarly in the case of Alan Blueford who was murdered by OPD on May 6, 2012, the community had to demonstrate at the Sheriff’s office to get the report released to family.
“They know that these reports are critical pieces of evidence,” said Dan Siegel, head legal counsel for APTP. “The longer they delay giving it to the family, the longer it takes to assess the wrongdoing on the part of OPD.”
Friday’s press conference is also the launch of APTP’s campaign for more accountability and transparency with the Sheriff’s office in relation to reports following Officer Involved Shootings. APTP will make the following demands:
- Provide families that are victims of police violence the coroner’s report within 30 days
- Investigate collusion between the Sheriff’s department and the Oakland Police Department
- Recall Sheriff Greg Ahern who has a long list of egregious behaviors
- Release the ENTIRE video series to the Perkins family and their legal counsel
- Bring in an outside investigator to investigate the murder of Richard Perkins.
Ada Henderson, Richards mother and Jamison Henderson, Yuvette’s brother will speak at the press conference.
On January 17th 2016, as part of the Anti Police-Terror Project's #ReclaimMLK #96hours of direct action, the Last 3% of Black San Francisco paid a surprise visit to police Chief Greg Suhr's house to demand justice for Mario Woods, killed by the SFPD on December 2nd 2015, and to inform Suhr's neighbors of the wrongful deaths that he is responsible for, as well as the many scandals he was involved in, including racist and homophobic text messages sent among 14 officers.
Video by APTP media team's Noé Serfaty
Music: Strange Fruit performed by Nina Simone