Fuck You CBS: This Oakland Mom Fights Back
On January 22, 2013 between 5pm and 3am the next morning over 400 Oakland residents showed up to a city council to speak against the contract proposing Bill Bratton (Mr. Stop & Frisk himself) be hired to help Oakland’s Police Department with a “short term solution” for the violence & crime in the city; all for the very low low price of $250,000. I was one of the very concerned speakers that night as Oakland is my home, and the things I have seen from my local government and police over the past few years are nothing short of disappointing and not deserving of my trust in their ability to run the city.
I know that claims of racial profiling go unheard, and that’s why I was pretty upset that I wasn’t able to play my video at the council meeting to show the types of things that happen and how OPD violates the rights of Black & Brown youth in the city using the excuse that they “fit the description”. Walking While Black (Video Link) shows an incident in July of 2012 where two young black men were stopped by officers with guns drawn. Had 3 members of Political Fail Blog not been present filming (2 others, including myself) after a rally for Alan Blueford, another young man killed unjustly by OPD after being racially profiled earlier,these young men may have been shot and most definitely would have been detained & booked not only wasting more tax dollars but violating the rights of citizens who were pulled over for being black and having a tshirt on. Coincidentally 5 days before the deadly shooting of Alan Blueford was the unjust targeting and excessive force used on Prince Hasheem Bason on May 1st (Video Link). There would be video footage added here of Bluefords murder but Miguel Masso (the officer who killed him & will not be remanded) turned of his camera so that there is no video to corroborate his testimony.
With several instances of racial profiling and excessive force, some captured on video and some not, how could I feel safe with a racist and abusive police department; especially when expecting a son? One who will definitely fit some description of Black male between 5’7″ and 6’2″while wearing a tshirt or a hoodie. This is enough to make him a possible criminal, one who deserves to have guns drawn on him and to possibly (and quite likely) be shot and killed by the very police who I am forced to pay their salaries and their lawsuits via my tax dollars to protect and serve me, not criminalize and arrest or kill me and the people on my community.
With all of this on my mind, I show up to speak as well. To explain to city council as a lifetime Oakland resident how uncomfortable I am with the proposal to spend anything on the hiring of Bill Bratton. I feel as if only Desly Brooks heard any cry for help or even scrutiny of the proposal. As I started to speak Libby Shaff started to whisper into a colleagues ear, blatant lack of consideration for the concerned citizens of the city. Already upset with the proposal, it’s just frustrating to get up in front of elected representatives and know that they aren’t listening to you. So here I am, about 7 months pregnant and emotional about the future oppression of my son and many others in my city, and my local government officials aren’t even listening.
Take a government that doesn’t listen to its residents and takes every opportunity to criminalize its community instead of invest in its ability to sustain itself via education, jobs and housing and put that together with Mainstream Media outlets like CBS who will take my statements in this speech (Video Link) and put a spin on it to indicate that it is not the police I am afraid of, but that I would like more police for protection from my own community. Do you know what you get? According to Desley Brooks, Council Woman for District 6 during an interview with Davey D (Link) “When you keep putting gimmicks in front of a community on an issue as emotional as crime, you further distance yourself from the community”. I say, you get a citizenry that is outraged! One that is tired of being ignored and lied on, silenced and criminalized. You get a muted voice that is too strong to be ignored.
Here is a copy of the CBS obvious slanderous attempt to use my passion to sell the very thing I am opposed to (Link). If this was a Lifetime mob movie, the news outlet would be responsible for the hit put out on me once people thought I was actually pro police in a community being oppressed by the police. I shouldn’t have to actually get death threats to be able to request a retraction of this horrible misrepresentation of my character. Likewise, news outlets should be held accountable and do things like fact checks and presenting factual news, not slanderous misrepresentations to fit their own biased narrative. I know that the world is riddled with racism but that is no excuse for the lack of journalistic integrity.
At the end of the day, I am not saying that Oakland doesn’t have a problem. I’m not saying that we don’t need to find a solution to it. What I have been trying to say over and over again is that more police don’t solve crime. Sure people get arrested, but crime doesn’t drop. Solving crime in an urban area depends on providing services so that the community can self sustain. Oakland is constantly defunding our programs, closing our schools and criminalizing the community. Things are not getting better. We have been lead to believe that more police will help because most of us are desperate for a solution. But in our desperation we have let in a very old problem. Racial profiling, that has obviously never gone away, but instead has become so common that many are desensitized when they see it or don’t care when they do.
We have allowed slanted statistics, crooked politicians and for profit media to play on our fears and manipulate our thought processes. On January 22nd, we allowed our city to be susceptible to the racist policies of the all white consulting group Wasserman has put together. In 40 years, we will be trying to fix this mistake that was hastily made by city council members who had not even read the proposal and did not have all the facts. So I started off wanting to write this article because CBS decided to spin my words and slander my character. However, I cannot address their abuse without shaming those who have participated in allowing these things to happen.
So shame on the people of Oakland for allowing your fears to be played on and used to pass laws in direct opposition with your ability to survive, shame on the elected representatives of our local government for passing the buck and allowing OPD abuses time and time again, even in the face of federal receivership. Shame on the Oakland City Council that “votes in a block, didn’t think independently and didn’t appear that everybody looked at all the information that was relevant to the decision making process” (Brooks). Shame on MSM for not reporting the truth, misleading the people and hindering their ability to make good decisions based on factual reporting. Shame on the pastors who came up one after one to endorse the same policing that resulted in a young black man being shot and killed. Particularly shame on Pastor Bob Jackson for endorsing Bill Bratton after publicly announcing that he was ignorant to his policies and especially after he saw with his own eyes how Howard Jordan lied to the family of Alan Blueford at Acts Full Gospel Church when they requested answers and how he had another young Black man arrested for shouting “Justice for Alan Blueford” in his church parking lot.
The hypocrisy has to stop. The willingness to criminalize each other out of desperation and trying the same tactics that have never worked in the past has to stop. Our government and our media has got to stop silencing our voices and hear us! Actually hear us. How else can we convince ourselves that we live in a democracy? How else can we not be slaves to the very government that is supposed to be looking out for the best interests of the people?