Oakland City Council Votes for William J Bratton….Community is Outraged

5 Oakland police officers surround one lone women who expressed outrage at the City Council voting to extend a contract to former LA and NY police chief William J Bratton

5 Oakland police officers surround one lone women who expressed outrage at the City Council voting to extend a contract to former LA and NY police chief William J Bratton

Oakland—After a marathon meeting that saw an attendance of more than 500 Oakland residents and nearly 4 hours of public testimony, the Oakland City Council voted in the early hours of Wednesday morning to move forward with spending $250,000 on a contract to hire controversial police consultant William Bratton.  Bratton’s notorious policing methods—including stop and frisk, gang injunctions, and curfews—remained center stage, as countless residents called for an end to harmful, divisive policing policies in Oakland.  Despite several Council members turning out pro-Bratton elements of their districts and a strong police presence in the chambers that heightened tension among participants, many residents stuck the meeting out to the bitter end, calling for public safety strategies that were more inclusive of community input and participation. Toward that end, Oaklanders recommended broader and better after school and restorative justice programs, job training, and services for residents returning from prison and jail.

Desley Brooks

Desley Brooks

Noting how the Council seemed to be playing into people’s fear, Councilperson Desley Brooks took a strong stand against the contract asking questions about what had been delivered on the existing contract and suggesting that the Council had been sloppy in considering the proposal to amend it. “Rejecting this contract tonight,” Brooks stated, “isn’t about not addressing crime.  It’s about doing the hard work that needs to be done.”  Brooks offered the lone voice of dissent on the Council.

“Sure it’s frustrating that the Council is moving ahead with the contract and Bratton despite all common sense, but many residents seem more ready than ever to band together and fight for a smarter, more sustainable way of dealing with harm in Oakland,” said Rachel Herzing of the Stop the Injunctions Coalition.  “Our work will continue to fight Bratton-style zero tolerance policing however and whenever it comes to our neighborhoods—to carve out wider and wider spaces for the real innovation and creativity in implementing strategies that are viable, that take into account the knowledge and experience of the community itself, and that are effective in making our city healthy and strong.”

That above piece came courtesy of  Stop the Injunctions Coalition

Below is the interviews we did with City Council women Desley Brooks

Here is our interview w/ Isaac Ontiveros of Stop the Gang Injunction Coalition..

I attended this marathon meeting and wrote an open letter to Oakland City Council and the Mayor Jean Quan…You can chime in by hitting this link..http://on.fb.me/VZGSAk

Dear Oakland City Council members Rebecca Kaplan Pat Kernighan Desley Brooks Lynette Gibson McElhaney Libby Schaaf Larry Reid Noel Gallo for City Council Dist. 5 Oakland Mayor Jean Quan…….

After 5 hrs of testimony and over 500 people from all over speaking out against Chief Bratton and his infamous Stop and Frisk policies, y’all decided in a 7-1 vote to go ahead and vote for him anyway last night..During the discussion we heard some of you note that you wanted strategies from Bratton to make Oakland policing more efficient but not have racial profiling and Stop and Frisk.. Well if Bratton coming to consult Oakland is not going to lead to racial profiling and Stop and Frisk, will you all put that in writing and make that crystal clear?  How about putting in his contract Stop and Frisk and similar profiling tactics like the nicknamed ‘Jump Out Boys‘, ‘Open Halls‘ , ‘Run Up and Freeze‘ etc WILL NOT be used by police in Oakland?The point was made at the meeting that in order for crime to come down in Oakland, trust between the community and police is needed. How is the community supposed to trust OPD if they have a consultant who may recommend intrusive policies like Stop and Frisk?

Last night speaker after speaker expressed concern about this.. Why not ease those fears? This is especially important now that the judge who prohibited Stop and Frisk in NY has just reversed her position on many of the tactics used in this procedure..You can read about that here—–> http://nydn.us/WV8cws

In NYC which many like to point to, you still have large scale protests against NYPD..around this issue including last springs march of silence that brought out close to 40k people… You even have police officers in NY objecting to stop and frisk because of the pressure to meet quotas.. You can see that here—-> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KeuRilK51c

Again why not put this in writing and take Stop and Frisk off the table if its not about that in your 7-1 decision to bring in Bratton?

We await your response Thank u
Davey D

Documents Reveal FBI Infiltrated Occupy Movement -Worked w/ Banks to Shut Down OWS

fbi-cointelproSo now we know the FBI had infiltrated the Occupy Movement What’s interesting about this information about Occupy, is I was at the press conference and recorded Oakland Mayor Jean Quan saying that she was on the phone with mayors from 16 other cities on how to deal with the Occupy Movement.. Her remarks were quickly downplayed and any discussion of ‘coordinated shut downs’, Department of Homeland Security involvement or FBI infiltration was chalked up as ‘conspiracy’ theory…

Most folks involved with Occupy already figured out something was afoot.. and now its been confirmed.. What’s problematic is seeing how many blatant things have been ignored.. For example, how and why were NYPD units able to work on behalf of a private firm?  In this case Wall Street/ JP Chase..You can read about that HERE..

We never really got to understand why so much energy was put on Occupy Wall Street and not the people who actually caused the financial crises that brought OWS into existence..How many FBI agents have been or are working to take down those running illegal financial schemes?

In places like Oakland where we’ve had high number of homicides as well as in neighboring SF and San Jose.. we also saw tremendous amounts of time and energy spent monitoring the Occupy Movement vs solving pressing crimes.. We’ve seen as many as 17 different police agencies show up to stop 100 people from taking over abandoned buildings, but if your place got robbed, you would have to make the trip to the police station to file a report.. The police say they were stretched watching Occupy folks.. With all that’s been going on in this beloved country, the Occupy Movement was that much of a threat? 

strike occupy_oakland_1103_25Sounds more like monitoring folks was an easier gig, paid lots of overtime and reflected deep mismanagement and warped priorities inside some of these departments.. And for those who think this is some sort of exaggeration take a look at the types of things our law enforcement spends our tax dollars on… Read this story about the police investigating Meet the Press anchor David Gregory for holding a gun magazine on TV.. You can peep that HERE

The most pressing question is how did all this go down on President Obama’s watch? What kind of community organizing is this? It’s interesting to note that many accused Occupy of being a grand brainchild of Obama.. Maybe when he realized that OWS wasn’t rolling in lockstep with the Democrats, he decided to send in the FBI.. Maybe there was a reason behind all the antiwar movements quieting down after he got elected even though he continued many of the same Pro-war policies of President George Bush his predecessor.

Questions: Did the FBI infiltrate the Tea Party? If Obama’s FBI was spying on Occupy what other domestic political groups were under his ‘watchful eye’?  What sort of dissention did infiltrating agents cause in the ranks? Were these endless debates about diversity of tactics and property destruction tactics deployed by the FBI to make Occupy less attractive?

One thing I recall Black Panther co-founder Bobby Seal stating about what the FBI/ Cointel-Pro  papers on the Panthers  revealed… He noted that the Panthers were considered a threat when they started doing community things like serving free breakfast.. Seal said FBI papers showed they worked overtime to make Panthers be unattractive to the community. Did they do similar things with Occupy? With all the hi-tech equipment available today spying on someone is easy, if we’re talking about capturing footage or a recording a conversation.. If the FBI had infiltrated OWS then it had to be to cause confusion and be disruptive..This is what happened during Cointel-pro days from the 60s.. why not now?

-Davey D-

**PS.. Dec 29 2012**.. This just came in… FBI worked with the big Banks to shut down Occupy Movements.. Folks need to chew on that for a minute..u can read that article here…  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/dec/29/fbi-coordinated-crackdown-occupy

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FBI Had Counterterrorism Agents Investigate Occupy Movement

It’s the latest example of counterterrorism officials looking into domestic protest groups.

http://www.alternet.org/fbi-had-counterterrorism-agents-investigate-occupy-movement

FBI_Police_chargerThe New York Times reports that the FBI had counterterrorism agents to investigate Occupy Wall Street, and that “F.B.I. personnel around the country were routinely involved in exchanging information about the movement with businesses, local law-enforcement agencies and universities.”

The Partnership for Civil Justice received the records after a Freedom of Information Act request. They show that once again the agency used counterterrorism agents to track domestic activists — like they have in the past with environmental, anti-poverty and animal rights groups.

The Times reports that:

The memo said agents discussed “past and upcoming meetings” of the movement, and its spread. It said agents should contact Occupy Wall Street activists to ascertain whether people who attended their events had “violent tendencies.”

The memo said that because of high rates of unemployment, “the movement was spreading throughout Florida and there were several Facebook pages dedicated to specific chapters based on geographical areas.”

The F.B.I. was concerned that the movement would provide “an outlet for a lone offender exploiting the movement for reasons associated with general government dissatisfaction.”

The records provide one of the first glimpses into how deeply involved federal law-enforcement authorities were in monitoring the activities of the movement, which is sometimes described in extreme terms.

An agency spokesman told the paper that “The F.B.I. recognizes the rights of individuals and groups to engage in constitutionally protected activity. While the F.B.I. is obligated to thoroughly investigate any serious allegations involving threats of violence, we do not open investigations based solely on First Amendment activity.”

Tragedy in Oakland Another Toddler Killed by Senseless Gun Violence-How We Gonna Change in 2012?

Usually this at this time of year, I like to reflect on all that gone down over the past 365 days and figure out what sort of steps to take in order build upon past victories and successes. I also like to reflect on what sort of steps to take to avoid and recover from setbacks and pitfalls..I also like to celebrate the best and worse of a particular year around this time… However, none of that can really be addressed until we focus on one of the most pressing issues at hand-Our Children and they way we in society treat them.

Last night in the city of Oakland a 5-year-old named Gabriel Martinez jr was shot and killed as he stood next to his father outside a popular taco truck the family owned on 54th and International. According to early reports some cat purchased food, pulled out a gun, shot Gabriel and rolled off in his car with a female in tow. Words cannot began to express the heartache, frustration, anger and bewilderment felt when we heard this being reported on the evening news..

Many of us in the city of Oakland and the Bay in general are at a loss for words. What do you say to this? How do we tackle this? This was the third toddler killed in Oakland this year and the 6th or 7th that I can recount being shot and injured in the Bay Area this past year. For an area that prides itself on being organized and forward thinking in its politics, how is this happening on our watch?

2 yr old Baby Hiram was just buried 2 weeks ago. He was shot in the head my cowardly thugs

Earlier this month Oakland grieved as 2-year-old Baby Hiram Lawrence was laid to rest. He was the victim of a shooting that took place during the filming of a rap video in West Oakland. That fateful night, 7 others were hit during the incident, Baby Hiram was shot in the head while being held in his father’s arms. For days everyone hoped and prayed that he would make a miraculous recovery. The family sought several opinions from different doctors before he was taken off life support.. Hiram’s passing left many vowing that such a horrific crime would never happen again. People were still reeling from a toddler being killed over the summer.

3-year-old Carlos Nava

In early August 3-year-old Carlos Nava was shot as he walked with his parents from a pizza shop also on International Blvd not too far from last night’s shooting. The bullet that hit him was intended for a rival drug dealer who stood nearby. Carlos’ death was painful as shocked community members tried to make sense of what took place and why.

‘What type of person runs around shooting kids?’ is what everyone asked..

The easy answer is; one who sees no value in life. Its a person whose values are disconnected from the majority of us. It’s someone who is an aberration.

The easy answer is to take an incident like this, isolate it and put the sole responsibility on the perpetrators. The easy answer is to get him off the street, lock him up and be done with it.. Case closed, problem solved…Only it’s Not..

Unfortunately these horrific shootings I cited reflect a larger more difficult mindset and societal attitude that far too many of us simply want to sweep under the rug. These incidents reflect an ugly truth all of us have to own up to…As much as we purport, we don’t really care about our kids.

We live in a world where we claim that children are blessings. We talk about how their cries, their shouts, their enthusiasm and excitement is welcome music to our communities. We say our children represent hope and endless possibilities. of better tomorrows. We say children touch our hearts and marvel how they are reminders of times when things weren’t so complicated.

Children are supposed to be our top priority and the reason for which we all live. However, our collective actions show a sharp contradiction. It ranges from the policies we support to the way we respond or don’t respond when we hear stories about children being killed, raped, kidnapped etc..How we respond to these disturbing scenarios, uphold children and show how value them is a reflection on all of us.

Close to 25% of American children like the ones shown here live below the poverty line and are homeless

Right now we’re talking about 3 toddlers killed in Oakland and make no mistake those who pulled the trigger are scum of the highest order. They need to be caught, punished and held accountable. But as we reflect back on this tragedy and all that has gone down in 2011, do we have the luxury of disconnecting the callousness behavior exuded with those children being shot from the indifference we as a society have shown in allowing policies to fall in place that put our kids on the short end of the stick?

For example, it was just last week Oakland Mayor Jean Quan noted that the city had spent over 5 million dollars to combat the Occupy Movement. There was no money to be found (500k) to keep 5 elementary schools from closing in spite of spirited protests. Much of that money went to police who are seemingly on top their job when it comes to removing tents or as was demonstrated yesterday, protestors from trees, but ‘overwhelmed’ when a toddler is shot on crowded streets.

We recently saw Governor Jerry Brown approved over a billion dollars worth of budget cuts to take place in California with Childcare, public schools, school transportation and healthcare being primary targets.He says we must live within our means.. You mean the children who will be impacted by these cuts were spending up all the state’s money??

Newt Gingrich says Child Labor Laws are Stupid

A few weeks ago we heard GOP Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich complain that child labor laws designed to stop exploitation of children was getting in the way of job growth. He called them stupid and suggested that we get rid of the janitors and replace them with kids.. When pressed Gingrich re-affirmed his remarks.

Overall we’ve seen our economic policies to result in almost 25% of the kids in the US living below the poverty level? Let’s stop and also think on that for a minute..

Today as we close out of 2011 and make our way into 2012, this country which prides itself on being a super power rooted in deep Christian values has a quarter of its kids living in poverty. Many of us try not to grasp onto that because we are either caught up in reality TV shows where folks toss around and spend money like it grows on trees or we believe the hype that suggests poverty is not systemic. We like to believe that there’s a logical explanation for starving children and it’s not because we don’t care. Sadly before many of us are willing to look at the larger picture we are more apt to point a finger a do a Herman Cain impression and tell those who are poor ‘Blame yourself’.

While a billion children starved most of us were caught up in Royal Wedding in 2011

We’ve been caught up in weddings involving über rich people like the Kardashians where the nuptials costs well over 10 million dollars and land ends in divorce in less than 90 days. We won’t even talk about the lavish spectacle called the Royal Wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton that dominated our nightly newscasts in 2011.

$34 million was spent on this weeding as TV news networks here in the US spent millions to cover it including having full anchor teams on the ground providing round the clock coverage. Could you imagine if similar efforts were put into finding out why we have kids starving and impoverished in the US or why we have close to 50% of the children on planet earth living in extreme poverty meaning about 1 BILLION children are malnourished? Could you imagine if those networks gave that same type of ‘investigative’ coverage as to why children are being shot? Let’s think about that for minute.

While we’re thinking let’s take a look at these two stunning reports that CBS news magazine 60 Minutes did earlier this year but was ignored by many..

Kanye & jay-Z Celebrated Over the Top Opulence in 2011

While kids all across the globe were starving and living in extreme poverty or here at home living in cars, many of us were caught up ‘Watching the Throne‘ in 2011 as popular artists like Jay-Z and Kanye celebrated over the top opulence in what many claim was the album of the year.

Not only did we get caught up, some of us got upset when community minded artists like Chuck D of Public Enemy tried to ‘gently remind them’ of the bigger picture. He noted that it’s not always cool to stunt and bling in the middle of the worst recessions since the depression of the 1930s. In response to Ye and Jay’s song Otis where they drive around in a sawed off Maybach automobile, Chuck released a song called Notice, Know This.. He wanted to underscore the fact that the man whose music Kanye and Jay Z sampled from, Otis Redding was the antithesis to what they portrayed in the video. He was a humble man who lived modestly and tried to start a musician’s union

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=161ZRrJZESA

As we get ‘caught up’ in the materialism of life, our kids are getting caught up in all sorts of scenarios that leave them in poverty, short-changed educationally and seen as disposable. The 5-year-old toddler killed in Oakland last night is not something we can shove aside and do business as usual. His death requires all of us to step up our efforts to transform this community and this world and ways we never imagined for the better…

Oscar Grant was killed 3 years ago by police resulting in his daughter being fatherless..Today we have children being killed by thugs in our community leaving parents childless. How will we end this in 2012?

3 years ago, the city of Oakland and the world rang in the New Year only to be greeted by the unthinkable. In the wee hours of the morning, an unarmed 22-year-old father of a 4-year-old girl was made to lay face down on a BART subway platform with his hands behind his back. A larger heavier white officer who was kneeling on this young man’s back pulled out a gun and shot this brother killing him instantly on the eve of this country getting its first African-American president.

Oscar Grant died and in his savage death a movement was spawned. It was a movement that brought people from all sorts of communities together who spent a good two years pursuing justice for Oscar and his family. Many say the Oscar Grant movement was transformative. At the very least it heightened awareness on police brutality and exposed the major flaws in the justice system. It’s because the organizing that went on around Grant that folks in Oakland were able to be effective with some of the activities and direct actions they undertook with the Occupy Movement.

What sort of movement will arise out of the killing of this 5-year-old Gabriel Martinez Jr in the wake of Oscar Grant and the in backdrop of the ongoing Occupy Movement? What sort of steps will we take to transform our community and truly make the violent death of young children a thing of the past?How will we heal our community?

A local artist named Jahi suggested that 2012 be the year we go all out with some sort of ban the gun campaign.. Someone else suggested that we start Occupy /patrolling our neighborhoods with the full intent of making it safe for our kids.. Others say we will have to go all out to make love and upliftment as a commonly embraced value and not death and nihilism which so many hold…We should keep in mind as a country we have supported policies like drone strikes that have missed their targets and killed innocent children in places like Pakistan.. So we really have a lot to reflect on..

Tomorrow on New Years Day a massive march and rally commemorating Oscar’s death and acknowledging all those who have fallen prey to police violence is scheduled to take place… It’ll be a big miss if we don’t make mention the death of Gabriel and pledge our commitment to stop the carnage in our community not just by sadistic police, but also by sadistic individuals who see Black and Brown life as cheap and as disposable as the police often do..

We have our work cut in 2012.. Let it be a fulfilling year… please let us all rise to the occasion..

written by Davey D