Oakland officials, NAACP address police brutality

December 16, 2010 6:29:21 PM PST
Heavy-hitters met in Oakland in the wake of police shooting and killing a man who turned out to be unarmed. The NAACP, Oakland's mayor-elect and the city's police chief addressed allegations of abuse and police brutality.

The discussion was as frank as it was brutally honest.

"You would not find almost any, no white people being killed over an error in judgment. It just doesn't happen to white people," California NAACP president Alice Huffman said.

Community leaders in Oakland say simply calling for justice is not working, so those at the highest ranks of the NAACP came to town to meet with the highest ranks of city government and law enforcement. Their goal is to find solutions and to get answers.

"How is it that we've seen so many young men and women killed over the years and we get to this place where there have been so few officers convicted," NAACP national president Ben Jealous said.

The meeting comes as outrage lingers over last month's police shooting of unarmed Oakland barber Derrick Jones, and tensions still run high over the BART police shooting of unarmed passenger Oscar Grant at the Fruitvale BART station.

The NAACP says while police brutality is not unique to Oakland, the city has had too many officer-involved shootings.

According to OPD, there were 51 police shootings over a five year period and five this year alone. Most of the victims have been African-American, and none of the cases have led to criminal prosecution of the officers involved.

"Forty percent of Oaklanders don't trust the Oakland Police Department and that will be my job as mayor to rebuild that trust," mayor-elect Jean Quan said.

Oakland's police chief Anthony Batts says if the public believes there's a problem within his department, and then there probably is.

"We should be asked questions. We should be tested at every level because we have the right to take lives and that's a tremendous amount of responsibility," he said.

The NAACP plans to take this discussion about police brutality around the country.


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