City Attorney: Alameda officers who pinned down Black man for 'dancing in the street' can't be fired

J.R. Stone Image
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Alameda officers who pinned down dancing man can't be fired
Alameda officials say no officers will be fired after they handcuffed and pinned a a black man for dancing in the street.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The Alameda city attorney says the officers involved in handcuffing and pinning down a Black man for 'dancing in the street' can't be fired.

Mali Watkins is the man who was pinned down by officers on May 23rd. In a meeting Monday night the city attorney said, "The first question councilmember Oddie inquired about was could councilmembers ask the city managers or police chief to take any kind of disciplinary or termination action against any of the officers? No that would be a violation of the charter."

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The City of Alameda held a special council meeting Monday night to address separating services currently delivered by the police department, systemic racism, a review of police department policies and practices, police department accountability and oversight, and a review of laws that criminalize survival. Monday's city council meeting lasted five hours. Officials have established a committee to address many of those issues.

During public comment Mr. Watkin's situation was brought up multiple times by those in the community. "I also support the defunding of pay for the officers in the detainment of Mr. Watkins pending independent review," said one person.

The police chief has previously said that the department is completely restructuring the way they deploy resources and provide services. Telling ABC7 News that they will no longer respond to calls like the one they responded to with Watkins. In that case someone called saying that he was intoxicated or suffering from mental illness.

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Watkins says he didn't watch Monday evening's meeting but he remembers very well what went down back in May. Saying he was exercising on that Saturday when everything happened. Watkins does admit that he has autism and has faced some mental challenges in his past.