Britt Hart, a production intern for Not In Our Town, covered a recent event at Oakland City Hall that brought together community and police after a wave of protests in Oakland, CA following no indictment decisions in two fatal police officer killings of unarmed black men, including the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO.
Together, the group raised issues and discussed solutions.
Emotions ran high as each community leader and advocate on the panel presented various issues of concern. These ranged from the historical lack of trust between law enforcement and communities of color, slow police response times in communities of color, lack of police accountability and the need for reinvestment in jobs and housing in Oakland. Activists also connected police violence to the increasing gentrification of the city.
Community organizers and other members of the public proposed multiple strategies for improvement. These included the creation of a community-run accountability task force for officers, having police officers wear cameras at all times, policy changes to eliminate racial profiling and paid leave for officers involved in such cases. [...]
Oakland Police Chief Sean Whent admitted that Oakland Police Department (OPD) has had “strained relationships with communities of color” caused by poor tactics, policies and training, but assured the public that the OPD of today is not the same as the OPD of the past, as significant changes have been made in recent years.