By Cassandra Devereaux
On November 30, the City Council of Oakland, California, voted to approve a raise of 12.5 percent for the officers of the Oakland Police Department. They did this quickly and without soliciting feedback from the public, in advance of a turnover in city government that will soon swear in more progressive candidates elected in November. Tellingly, this also happened seven months before the expiration of a current Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that set the wages of this heavily militarized force. The councilmembers attempted to accomplish this in secret, but the vigilance of community members and organizations such as the Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP) got the word out. The community mobilized at the eleventh hour, rallying community members to protest.
The Oakland Police Department has until now been awarded a staggering 41 percent of the city budget, the highest percentage tracked in a report created in collaboration between The Center for Popular Democracy, Law for Black Lives and the Black Youth Project 100. This study examined 10 major metropolitan areas in the U.S., including New York City, Los Angeles and Detroit. It concluded that investment in mental health, housing, youth programs and living wages are more effective in establishing thriving communities than police funding. Notably, this raise was approved the same week the Oakland PD broke up the Housing And Dignity Village camp for homeless women. A United Nations report condemned Oakland and San Francisco for committing human rights violations against their homeless populations. While police continue to leech these cities’ financial resources, there have been no meaningful attempts to correct the U.N.’s damning findings… https://fighting-words.net/
Oakland residents gather to protest the killing of Alan Blueford by an Oakland police officer. (March 5, 2013) | Photo: Daniel Arauz