Oakland's mayor, cops pressed after violent weekend


November 26, 2012 7:06:36 PM PST
The number of murders in Oakland eclipsed last year's total over the holiday weekend and one prominent Oakland activist is calling on police and city leaders to do more.

The Oakland Tribune reports there have been 115 homicides in Oakland so far this year, but they include killings in self-defense. Oakland police do not include those and count 111 murders. Whatever the number is, many of the residents who live there say it's got to stop.

After six homicides in just five days, Oakland coach and community activist Todd Walker says he's seen enough. "Oakland is not trying to save these kids' lives, period. These kids are just dying every day for no reason. So far, there's 225 murders in less than two years. That's too many kids," he says. According to the Oakland Police Department, there have been 111 homicides so far this year. That's eight more than all of last year.

Four murders happened in one 24-hour period over the weekend. On Saturday morning, a young mother, 18-year-old Greysi Morales-Cordon, was found shot to death in her East Oakland apartment. Later that morning, a 19-year-old man was killed in the 5700 block of San Pablo Ave. Sunday morning at 6 a.m., two women were shot and killed at Minna and Brookdale Avenues in East Oakland.

"Well unfortunately, we did have several homicides that did occur this last weekend. What we can tell you at this time is that none of them appear to be related to each other," said Oakland Police Department Sgt. Johnna Watson.

The Oakland Police Officers Association blames the recent spike in homicides and increase in crime in general, on the city's failure to maintain adequate staffing levels. There are currently about 640 officers on the street in Oakland, 200 fewer than in 2008.

Walker wants the police department's leadership and Mayor Jean Quan to do more. "Every time something goes on, she's always in China, Washington, or somewhere. Her job is here in Oakland. Give these kids a job. Give them something to do. They're not going to do nothing until you give them something to do," he said. Walker was referring to the fact that Mayor Quan is currently in China on a trade mission.

The other issue looming over Oakland is the possibility of a federal takeover of the police department. A federal judge will hold a hearing on that issue in a few weeks on December 13.

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