Join the Justice for Alan Blueford Coalition and allies on Tuesday 1/15 to tell City Council that we reject Bill Bratton and his racist, fascist policies. Meet up at 5:00 for a rally with the meeting at 5:30. Make sure to fill out speaker cards online beforehand or at City Hall (http://www2.oaklandnet.com/Government/o/CityClerk/s/SpeakerCard/SpeakerCard/OAK032373).
If you can’t attend in solidarity with the JAB Coalition, here’s a petition for you to sign, voicing your discontent with the cities plans:
As some of you may have heard, OPD has a new strategy to reduce crime in Oakland. This plan is to ask City Council for an additional $250,000 to hire Bill Bratton as a consultant for one year. They have happily announced that they are bringing in the man responsible for NYC’s dramatic drop in crime and the man who helped the LAPD work through their own federal difficulties after the Ramparts case.
Here’s what they’re not telling you about Bratton’s multi-pronged approach to crime reduction:
1) Bratton takes credit for implementing NY’s broken window policy. On the surface, the policy sounds great – if you repair minor damage then you don’t send the message that an area is worthless and thus raise civic pride and prevent crime. But Oakland has already instituted a new policy along these lines that exposes a key flaw. It is not the city that pays for this damage but home owners and business owners. Businesses and homes that fail to remove graffiti promptly can be fined. So it is the homeowner who is punished for the police’s ineptitude at preventing vandalism in the first place. Moreover, one can no longer simply leave the graffiti up and appreciate the art because the city sees it as counter-economic to have graffiti anywhere. Ultimately, broken windows forces civilians to take on police roles they already pay others to do regardless of whether they personally believe in the laws or not.
2) Bratton believes in a zero tolerance policy for all crime. This means harsher punishment and more policing of minor infractions (including public protest, public disturbance, vagrancy, public intoxication, smoking marijuana, etc). This sort of strategy takes a way a cop’s (meager) rationality and forces them to further criminalize the public. For those police who already have no problem seeing Oakland residents as criminals, zero tolerance encourages them to punish as harshly as they can to deter crime.
3) In a recent interview, Bratton talked up the importance of stop and frisk and compared it to chemotherapy (http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20120322/manhattan/former-nypd-chief-bill-bratton-compares-stop-and-frisks-chemotherapy). That’s right. Bratton thinks the people being stopped are like a cancer, and the rest of the city (the innocent ones) simply need to endure the poison (in this case the unlawful stops and searches) in order to make the city healthy again. There is no doubt that bringing a de jure Stop and Frisk policy (to replace the already existent de facto policy) will only encourage police racism and police violence. Moreover, with recent comments by Fruitvale’s new City Councilmember Noel Gallo in which he proclaimed his own desire for a “search and frisk” policy, there is no doubt that the Council will be moving in this direction.
4) Bratton has also been vocal in his disgust with cities that have tolerated Occupy camps. In regard to NYC, he reportedly almost ran for mayor because he was so angry at how tepidly Bloomberg had responded to the Zuccotti Park Camp. Bratton despises the tents for the same reason as the broken windows and encourages harsh response to populist movements to preserve the status quo.
So what’s really going on here? The last two consultants, Frazier (who they chose) and Warshaw (who was forced on them by Judge Henderson), both wrote scathing reports of OPD that Deanna Santana tried to cover up and edit. So now they found someone to say exactly what she wants to hear. They’re not out of control, they’re too controlled. They’re not too violent, they’re not violent enough. Also, with the new Federal Compliance Director coming in with a clear mandate to stop Stop and Frisk as it already exists off the books in Oakland and to work against racial profiling, the Police and City Officials want to make it harder to change their backwards, racist policies. Oakland has become the epicenter of anti-brutality campaigns, so those who want the brutality to continue are bringing in their big guns. They know that in the wake of Oakland’s crime and murder spike, that the people of Oakland will be much easier to bully into whatever program they recommend.
We say no.
No to zero tolerance!
No to “broken windows” policies!
No to Stop and Frisk!
No to racial profiling!
No to Bill Bratton!!
Come out and tell the Public Safety Committee that we want none of this and that we will be heard. Get a speaker card, bring a banner, get rowdy. Remind City Council whose city this is.