In an op-ed piece in today’s New York Times, author Ishamel Reed makes some insightful observations about the profound disconnect between Oakland, CA’s first Asian-American mayor, Jean Quan and the city’s, apparently out of control police department.
Mayor Quan is a political progressive who has time and again expressed support for the Occupy protesters in her city. On the other hand, the Oakland Police Department has certainly shown no interest in the civil liberties of the demonstrators. Occupy protesters have been violently moved and mistreated since the demonstrations began more than a month ago. The largest police force in the East Bay, the Oakland Police Department also a long tarnished history of showing no mercy or for that matter, interest in the civil rights of people of color. Most members of the predominately white police force lives outside Oakland in area suburbs. According to the 2010 Census, most of Oakland’s citizens are non-whites.
trigger happy Oakland cop. Olsen, who survived 2 tours of duty in Iraq, needed surgery from his wounds and is still recuperating. One can only hope that the experience has not soured the decorated vet on the America he fought for overseas.
Another shameful video has now gone viral on You Tube showing yet another unjustified shooting of a peaceful Occupy protester by Oakland policeman. Last Thursday morning, Scott Campbell was taking video of a line of Oakland Policemen when he was ordered to “step back.” He immediately complied. You can hear him asking the police in the video if has stepped back far enough? A moment later, we see the flash of a gun from the line of policemen and Campbell falls, yelling in pain followed by the words, “He shot me!”
Its apparent from these two incidents and what other observers of the Oakland Police Department like Ishmael Reed are saying, that this is one out of control police force that includes a number of trigger happy people who probably should not be wearing a badge.
Most police forces carefully screen applicants to make sure that they are not hiring, empowering and distributing lethal weapons to frustrated cowboys looking to play at the “OK Corral.” If in fact, the first and primary responsibility of law enforcement is to protect the freedoms and rights of citizens, it would seem that something has gone terribly wrong in the management infrastructure at the Oakland City Police Department.
The only remaining question is, who has the power and courage to take charge of this frightening collection of renegade “peace officers?”