EXCLUSIVE: Allegation of racism toward Samoans rocks Alameda County DA's Office

Dion Lim Image
Sunday, April 16, 2023
EXCLUSIVE: Allegation of racism rocks Alameda Co. DA's Office
A bombshell allegation is coming to light, of a racist comment made about those of Samoan descent within Alameda County District Attorney's Office.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- An allegation is coming to light, of a racist comment within Alameda County District Attorney's Office. The allegation, documented in an email obtained by ABC7 News anchor Dion Lim, claims the comment was made about those of Samoan descent.

ABC7 News was first made aware of the allegations at Monday's "Justice for Jasper" rally in Oakland. A member of the DA's office said one of Pam Price's chief assistant district attorneys, the number two person in charge, made comments about a Samoan victim saying that "Samoans fight. They like to get drunk and high and they fight in a minute."

MORE: 'Recall Price!': Community gathers in Oakland demanding justice for Jasper Wu, violent crime victims

Relatives of those killed in Alameda County gathered along with community members demanding justice and a recall of District Attorney Pamela Price.

Families of murdered loved ones, such as Virginia Nishita, wife of Kevin Nishita who was killed while protecting a TV news crew, and Barbara Nguyen whose brother, David, was killed in a freeway shooting last year, spoke about the need for proper punishment and fears of possible changes to enhancement charges from District Attorney Pamela Price.

But what came as a bit of a surprise: Alameda County prosecutor Butch Ford, who said he was put on paid administrative leave by Price, taking to the podium.

MORE: TV news guard fatally shot in Oakland remembered as 'caring, courageous' at memorial

"We will forever love you." Family, friends and fellow officers remembered Kevin Nishita as a "caring and courageous" person that always had a joyful spirit.

He explained a bit about his background.

"I'm half Pacific Islander and I was raised by a strong Pacific Islander woman who taught me what it meant to take responsibility for your actions," Ford said. "I am also half African American, influenced by the first African American female judge in Alameda history, Judge Judith Ford."

Ford shared an anecdote of a seemingly racist incident a young female DA said she experienced last month, within the Price administration.

VIDEO: Former Alameda Co. prosecutor voices concerns, calls DA's policies dangerous

Concerns about the policies of Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price were raised by one of her own prosecutors.

Lim obtained a copy of the email complaint that female DA made from an Alameda County Prosecutors Association Union member and former supervisor.

In it, she says Chief Assistant District Attorney Otis Bruce criticized the victim of her case, who is AAPI.

The complaint was sent to her direct supervisor and the Teamsters Union.

Ford commented on this at Monday's rally.

"It was his way of attacking the victim of a violent crime and justify what most surely be a very low sentence, our young AAPI sister was so shocked she went to her office and broke down," Ford said.

Lim reached out to Bruce along with the DA's office asking for comment on Tuesday, and followed up, but have yet to get a response.

VIDEO: 'Disgusting': Alleged Antioch PD racist texts addressed as tensions flare at city council meeting

At least two people had to be escorted out of the meeting after a back-and-forth with the Antioch mayor over the alleged racist and homophobic text messages of around two dozen police officers.

Ford told Lim on Monday, the purpose of the rally and sharing what happened to the young female DA was not about race.

"It's about doing what's right and protecting victims," Ford said.

When Lim asked Matt Finnegan, the representative and staff attorney for the Teamsters 856 Union, about any response from the Otis or Price in regards to this matter, he said no.

The allegation comes after emails Lim reported on last week, which DA Price sent to some members of the Asian American Community, calling them misinformed about a case.

The Asian Pacific Islander Prosecutors Association denounced those emails, calling them "offensive."

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