Tensions grow between Oakland PD, teens

March 24, 2009 6:38:05 PM PDT
Some Oakland students attended the vigils to honor the four officers killed over the weekend. But the friction that exists in East Oakland between teenagers and police is obvious.

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Last Saturday's shooting will always live in the minds of these Oakland teens.

"Wow, my heart goes out to those police officer's families and for the shooter's family too. It was just sad. It was a tragic moment," said Dasha Boatwright from Metwest High School.

But they quickly point out that the four dead police officers are not the only victims of the violence which has crippled parts of Oakland.

"These here are all the people who died in Oakland, so when I heard about it I wasn't surprised, stuff like this happens all the time," said Lashae Robinson from Metwest High School.

"What a lot of people don't realize is because we are around it so much we sort of become numb to the violence that it doesn't affect us like it should affect us," said Akeem Hayes from Castlemont High School.

Half of all the homicide victims in Oakland are youth killed by someone with a gun.

Jessica Rodriguez has a 15-month-old child.

"I would like to play with him outside, being safe knowing that I don't have to go home early because someone out there may want to drag me for my money or do what they want to do," said Rodriguez.

And having extra police on the streets doesn't make them feel any safer.

ABC7 asked five teens how many of them have been harassed by police in Oakland. Four of them raised their hands.

In fact, Javonte Surrell says now he fears police officers more than ever.

"They might start harassing people out here, their friends getting killed just like my friends getting killed, my friend getting killed I am going out and get mad and take my energy out on something," said Surrell.

There is no easy fix to the problems in Oakland. They say, perhaps this time, their community will come together to try to end the violence, allowing them to be just teens.

"We're not supposed to die from guns. That's not how it was intended. People were supposed to die from old age," said Robinson.

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